Kitchen & Bath Design News

MAY 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Page 36 of 86

NON-TRADITIONAL SURFACES European brands are boldly playing with non-traditional cabinet materials. It's not un- usual to see porcelain cabinet fronts, as well as tops, and ceramic brands Neolith from Spain and Italian Florim showed these in their booths. (These showed up at KBIS the next month, too.) German kitchen companies Nolte and Ballerina Küchen were blending concrete into their surfaces for contemporary cabinet styles. Finished cabinet interiors were also popular at the show, with an emphasis on dark gray tones. Fenix, a velvety surface blending high-pres- sure laminate with solid surface (imagine Formica and Corian having a high-tech love child), also showed up in the Ballerina booth, as did the company's new writable Smart Glass surface that can clad cabinets with gloss and creativity. Glass showed up on countertops from both Nolte and Leicht, as well. Nolte also displayed a lacquer finish with metal pigments for magnet use. It's exciting to see a wider range in materials for cabinetry and tops, especially those that offer low mainte- nance and durability. CUSTOMIZATION Writable surfaces weren't the only evidence of creativity or customization at LivingKitchen. Nobilia showed off a peninsula that could be easily raised or lowered to a user's preference at the touch of a button. This has huge potential for accessibility and family members ranging in height from young children to super-tall adults. Ballerina showed off an ingenious base cabinet drawer box that can be lifted out of the cabinet as easily as a storage bin from a cubicle. This is a very creative way to store kids' toys or ingredients you might want to have on the counter while you prepare a meal. It also looks really cool. Customization also showed up in BLANCO's booth, with a playful series of faucets that can wear green, yellow or orange cladding, and coordinating accessories. TECHNOLOGY European brands, like their American coun- terparts, are looking at technology integration. SapienStone and Fiandre, two Italian porcelain tile brands, were showcasing Spain-based TPB Tech's built-in induction technology in their booths. This innovation, which incorporates induction burners right into the porcelain countertop surface, is finally making its way to the U.S. after numerous visits to European shows. (It was on display at several KBIS booths the next month, signaling imminent availability.) Ballerina dedicated a section of its booth to a Digital Kitchen, with cameras in the pantry, as well as the refrigerator, and voice control for lighting and cabinet doors. These could be helpful for those with vision or mobility limita- tions. The company is looking to offer a kitchen drone next year to potentially simplify meal prep. This, too, can have tremendous poten- tial for someone with physical challenges (but might be, shall we say, challenging for parents with playful children or teens). LAST WORDS If you haven't yet, it's worth the splurge to visit a European design show. It will give you ideas and inspiration for your projects, and some of the exhibiting brands export to the U.S. and Canada, so you can start specify- ing what you see on display. EuroCucina (and its companion bath show) will be held again in Milan from April 21 to 26, 2020. LivingKitchen will be back in Cologne from January 18 to 24, 2021. ▪ Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC is an independent designer in San Diego, the author of New Kitchen Ideas That Work and the New Bathroom Idea Book (Taunton Press), and a design journalist, NKBA Chapter Presenter and industry consultant. Her website is She was named one of Kitchen & Bath Design News' 50 top innovators for 2017. Open-front cabinets were also a style trend at the show. Induction goes high tech with burners built into the countertop. Photo: Ballerina Küchen Photo: TPB Tech 36 Kitchen & Bath Design News • May 2019 TREND SPOTTING

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