Richard Smith Says Thieves Stole Artwork From Three Companies at Heimtextil But Messe Frankfurt Recommends Hiring Security

by Fabrics & Furnishings

March 15th, 2018

FRANKFURT—Theft of intellectual property reared its ugly head at this past Heimtextil January 9-12 in Hall 4.2.

Italian mill Vincenzo Molteni, Richard Smith Textile Services (UK) and The French company Theony, at stand F41 were the victims of theft.

“I’m very sorry that a paper design was taken from the wall of the exhibitor’s booth,” says Thimo Schwenzfeier, Director of Marketing Communications, Messe Frankfurt.

“Our exhibitions grounds consist of 366,000 square meters of hall area, 96,000 square meters of outdoor areas and 90 congress and conference halls. It is like a city within a city including all required infrastructure. As in a regular city, there is a wide variety of people from many countries spread out over a large area – for an event like Heimtextil sometimes more than 100.000.”

Richard Smith
Richard Smith

“There are security patrols during events and cameras observing the venue, according to Schwenzfeier. “Also, before and after the official event times, there are increased spot checks of individuals and vehicles on the exhibition grounds.”

However, Schwenzfeier recommends hiring stand security, especially during the build-up days as there is a lot of extra traffic going in and out of the halls.

“To keep control and care for security during trade shows and exhibitions, we have also established Messe Frankfurt’s Operation & Security Center, (OSC) including a hospital ward for first aid, a fire department and a police station.”

“We will continue to do our best to observe and improve overall security and hope that the exhibitors also do their part and not leave valuable items unattended and that they take advantage of hiring stand security if possible or report anything suspicious.

“Preventing theft of commercial intellectual property is hard enough today with quick pictures and cut and paste technology,” Smith says. “Thankfully I have a scanned copy of the 1952 Archive that went missing.”

“Perhaps might also re-consider their duty or care more if they knew their exhibitors might not spend their money with them in the future because theft is becoming more commonplace,” he says.

Smith also says he “was unhappy with the security cover out of hours on Sunday evening in Hall 4.2 and the irony was not lost on me of seeing Heimtextil security personnel only patrolling the Hall in numbers on the show’s last afternoon (Monday, January 12) to ensure exhibitors did not dismantle early!”

“We chose not to hire security to sit on our booth overnight. Costs are difficult to recoup as it is,” Smith adds. “I can put the experience down to bad luck this time but as I am aware that my Italian Mill Vincenzo Molteni had a full length of one of his prototype weave blankets stolen from his booth in 4.0 and a fellow French exhibitor in hall 4.2 had a theft too.”

“I was there (at Heimtextil) all week but felt that I should stay close by my Archive booth E43 in Hall 4.2 after a regrettable (costly?) incident over the Sunday evening January 11, the third day of the Exhibition,” he says.

“Regrettably we had an archive point paper design taken from the wall of our booth overnight!”

“Here is the picture of my missing Archive article WB106. Date 1952. This textile point paper had approximately 75 man hours in it when drawn up and then it was read prior to punched loom cards weaving the furnishing fabric. It contained approximately two million binary dots/squares to read!”

“This era of jacquard design employed high quality craftspeople.  Their masterpieces of work didn’t involve a single bit of the copy, click, cut and paste high speed technology of today!! I’m not a luddite and think that no industry cried out more for an electronic and digital revolution.”

Smith says he filed a report to the Heimtextil people and the Police but “the original is gone! Well when I say that …. half the original is gone! Yes, the piece has two parts and only half was taken!”