Interview: Michael Reichhold

Paperworld in focus.

With an expanded complementary programme and a reshuffle of the hall layout, Paperworld is on track for a successful 2019 show, despite the Plaza concept from previous years being discontinued. OPI caught up with Messe Frankfurt Director Michael Reichhold to discuss the latest developments at the fair.

OPI: What are your hopes for Paperworld 2019?

Michael Reichhold: First of all, I’m very happy about the high number of registrations we’ve had. We expect over 1,600 exhibitors from both Germany and abroad to attend this year’s expo, meaning the halls will be fully occupied. In terms of visitor numbers, we’re predicting a similar number to last year, which was almost 33,800. In addition, the developments in the complementary programme will provide added value to those attending.

OPI: How will the new hall layout impact the event? MR: The reshuffle of product areas will be the most notable change. The Remanexpo area is moving from Hall 6.0 to Hall 5.1, which will link it directly to the main passageways across the fair and exhibition centre, making it more accessible to visitors. In the stationery segment, the gifts, packaging and festive occasions categories are relocating to Hall 3.1. This means that all lifestyle products for the stationery trade will be found in the same space.

OPI: As you’ve just alluded to, you have expanded the complementary programme for 2019. Where in particular is the focus this year?

MR: Each year, we mix up this programme to try and represent developments in the industry and reach new target groups. For example, flexibility will be the focus of the 2019 Future Office show, while Paperworld Trends will look at the latest colour, materials and styles for the coming season.

We have also created a new Future Learning event for this year’s fair, which will take place in Hall 4.0.

This will feature specialist talks on the digitisation of learning, how to design attractive classrooms, and learning at an international level.

OPI: Given that it’s an international fair, will all the sessions be delivered in English?

MR : All lectures will be translated into English. Visitors get a headset at every forum and everything will be translated simultaneously. It’s only in the Future Learning area that I’ve just mentioned where there will be no translation, as the topics are more aimed at a German audience.

OPI: Paperworld Plaza, which has run twice so far – in 2015 and 2017 – will not be repeated this year. Why is that? Do you have plans to replace it with something else?

MR: From 2020, we want to expand the concept through the Office Village. This will offer all manufacturers a fully-equipped, easy-to-individualise stand at a fixed price. Connecting to this area will be lounges, meeting rooms and a catering zone. We are adding this to provide exhibitors with a simple and customisable presentation area and to make it easier for them to plan their time at the fair.

OPI: What are you most looking forward to?

MR: I am always eagerly awaiting the first day of the fair. When you spend so much time on preparation, it is very exciting to see how it looks live. I am particularly looking forward to the new Hall 3.1, which features the stationery exhibitors, as well as the varied complementary programme. We have invested a great deal in planning these areas and I cannot wait to see how exhibitors and visitors react to it.

OPI: What are your expectations for the industry overall in 2019?

MR: In terms of general macroeconomic conditions and the global market – including factors like trade restrictions, Brexit, import-export duties and political situations – many countries are looking at a challenging future. Given this background, it is difficult to provide a forecast for the industry. As Paperworld mirrors world trends, I am hoping for stability in 2019 and a successful business year.