LivingKitchen 2013 Trend Report

Hot kitchen innovations and trends from this year’s outing
By Lori Dolnick
February 25, 2013

Every two years, Cologne, Germany hosts the LivingKitchen show, featuring the next wave of innovation and inspiration for kitchen design. As Uwe Johannböke, international director for Blanco noted, “LivingKitchen is an opportunity for branding—where we strategically work to make a huge impact that resonates for several years in the market.”

When manufacturers look at the trade show as their big shot at making an impression and grabbing share of mind, they give it their best effort. And it’s not only in the design of the new products, but also in the booths and hospitality that surround them. In many cases, you can simply sit down and have a leisurely espresso or glass of wine while you take in the beauty of the products and ideas surrounding you.

For some, the magnificent architecture of the Cologne Cathedral or Kölner Dom is the spiritual epicenter of the city. But for me—once every two years—LivingKitchen feeds my soul as good design always does, whether in a 765-year-old cathedral or a perfectly architected home. Following are some highlights from this year’s show:

BLANCO’s booth included an impressive wave and waterfall to represent their “Passion for Perfection” theme.

White is a color. Again. White appliances went out of vogue as the kitchen became part of the open floor plan in the home. But look for the return of white as a sophisticated color alternative in a vivid, pure finish that takes it from back room operation to kitchen highlight.

Miele’s Brilliant White Plus Collection is expected to be launched in March 2013 for the U.S. market. The new line accentuates the cool, puristic design of the kitchen.

Obsession with remote control. European designers seem to be obsessed with controlling elements of the kitchen from remotes, smart phones or tablets. Whether it’s a television set that comes up out of the countertop; an island that moves up and down to accommodate users of different heights; food storage that protects wine, olive oil, cheese or cured meats and wall systems that hide shelves or the entire kitchen – remotes were everywhere.

The LEICHT Xtend+ offers a unique wall design concept with illuminated shelves on aluminum rails that open and close at the touch of a remote or tabloid.

The Bolgheri, by Almar Design stores truffles, prosciutto, cheeses and wines in individualized and separately controlled environments inside kitchen cabinets. The spaces offer specific temperature and humidity control via smart phone or tabloid.

  When closed, the Warendorf “Hidden Kitchen” appears to be a sophisticated design object while the unique surface finish gives the space it occupies a lounge character. When opened it offers the functionality of a fully equipped kitchen. The rust on the imposing wall combination radiates earthy warmth and sets an expressive accent.

Grey is still trending strong. Grey continues its dominance in the kitchen with new hues being launched in cabinetry, surfaces and sinks. Blanco debuted the color Cinder for its Silgranit II sinks—a more sophisticated grey tone with evidence of black and brown. Cosentino surveyed end users from 14 countries and its new ECO Grey Moss came out on top.

Blanco introduces the architectural Modex kitchen sink workstation, with an award-winning raised profile and modern cubic design. Modex sets a timeless tone with the company’s new Silgranit II color cinder, expanding the versatility of its inspiring, award-winning series.

Cosentino extends the palette for its recycled surface material with four new colors: grey moss, creamstone, red pine and forest snow. ECO is a surface made of 75 percent recycled materials. The result is an innovative material with optimal properties that makes efficient use of natural resources and also meets the highest demands in design and performance.

Reclaimed, rough-hewn looks. While contemporary furnishings have been getting warmer – there was a strong thread of raw wood looks that say, “Restoration Hardware meets old barn door.” It’s a trend that is strong in kitchens today – mixing hard metals with warmer woods, furs, leather or other natural ingredients. From cabinets to tile floors these “reclaimed modern” looks seem to be taking hold, pushing the envelope for designers to play with mixed media and to color outside the lines.

Sonar by Apavisa offers a reclaimed wood look in a rectified, recycled porcelain tile. The tile can be mixed and matched for walls or floors with flat or dimensional elements that have a warped look to give the walls added life and style. A company representative at the show mentioned that Sonar has been a big seller since its launch a few months ago in Cersaie.

—Lori Dolnick has been a VP at Frank Advertising for 18 years and has nearly 30 years experience in building brands. She works with manufacturers in the home design industry. Dolnick writes for several blogs in the industry and is active in social media as well as traditional marketing/public relations. She can be reached at ldolnick@frankadvertisingus.com.
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