Buzzed Up: KBIS Trends—Part I

Five trends that created much ado at KBIS
By Alice Liao
July 15, 2010

If energy level is any measure of where the kitchen and bath industry is headed, then this year’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), which took place April 16-18 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, seemed to suggest a recovery is afoot. With more than 37,000 attendees and nearly 700 exhibitors on the floor, the show was definitely abuzz, which prompted some to say, “It almost feels like the old days.” Naturally, new products and trends accounted for much of the excitement. Following are five trends that turned heads at KBIS.  

The Great Outdoors. Despite the economic slowdown, or maybe because of it, outdoor kitchens continue to appeal to consumers. Perhaps there’s solace in nature? Whatever the reason, outdoor products made a bold showing in the North Hall with several introductions. These included Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet’s Pizza Oven and Eldorado Stone Eldorado Outdoor, which provides a faster alternative to traditional masonry for creating the perfect backyard kitchen. In the South Hall, Atlantis Outdoor Kitchens showed how to be stylish and one with nature with its new bamboo cabinetry line.
Going for the Bronze. While last year's show delivered a surprising number of products in black, this year the finish du jour was bronze. Whether oil-rubbed, Venetian or Mediterranean, bronze seemed to be the “it” choice for completing an existing line or adding warmth to a more contemporary design, be it a showerhead, as in Alsons’ In2ition, or hardware, as in Rocky Mountain Hardware’s Brut Collection, designed by Ted Boerner. And for faucets with traditional style, like ShowHouse by Moen’s Waterhill, well, bronze is just a given.

Classy Glass. Maybe because it’s recyclable and therefore greener, or maybe just because it’s familiar and easy on the eyes, but glass showed up in several product categories. Brizo’s prototype Siderna boasts glass-accented handles, while many of Rev-A-Shelf’s storage systems, including Curve, features glass bottoms for a more elegant look. Kohler introduced Kallos (above), a line of glass sinks with decorative patterns to bounce light and make your bathroom look that much more dazzling.

Universal Design. Yes, the Boomers are aging and, not surprisingly, the push for more Universal Design and aging-in-place products was very much in evidence at KBIS. Thankfully, along with this push comes a recognition that aesthetics and ease of installation matter. Among the many on the show floor this year that offered enhancements on either or both fronts were Ponte Giulio USA’s colorful grab bars and Sterling’s Accord shower system.

Water-Friendly Showerheads. Since the March release of the EPA’s final specifications for WaterSense-certified showerheads, manufacturers have been very busy. At the show, many had their new, more water-conserving creations on view, including Moen, which showed its 1.75-gpm Method Showerhead, Alsons with its Fluidics technology and TOTO USA, whose Trilogy High-Efficiency Shower Set also consumes just 1.75 gpm.

Want more trends? Check back tomorrow for five others that made the show.
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