Despite fears that Coronavirus might force its cancellation, the industry showed up in force for kbb Birmingham in March - and by the end of day one, event organisers had recorded the highest Sunday footfall the show had seen in years.
‘What stood out most to me at the show this year was a theme of creativity’ explained Yvette Murrell, Features Editor at Essential Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom. ‘The variety of colours, materials and customisable designs on offer was stronger than ever – it’s exciting to see such a buzz across the industry and a positive sign of what’s to come.’
Darren Summerfield, Commercial Development Director at Immediate Media, added that the event was a perfect opportunity to gain an insight into upcoming trends. ‘As a media company, kbb Birmingham gives us a perfect opportunity to see what brands have been working hard on' he said. 'We look forward to sharing these concepts with the readers of our trade and consumer magazines, and seeing the trends make their way into real-life interiors.’
Daniel Griffiths, Editor of essential kitchen & bathroom business, also reflected on the show, naming products from Blanco, Konigstone and Novy amongst some of his favourites launches. 'It was great to see that the uncertainty before the show didn't manifest itself at all during it. Strong attendance, all the big names and some spectacular stands' he said. 'It really felt like everyone pulled out all the stops to deliver their 'best in show' with stands and demos sharper and slicker than ever. Lots of great new styles: ceramic and stone on kitchen cupboards were everywhere, likewise pockets of colour breaking out all over bathrooms. Meanwhile the big appliance makers are perfecting their extraction + induction hobs and everyone has a great new boiling water tap – surely every new kitchen's must-have for 2020.'
Read his full list of highlights below:
Blanco Etagon Sink
'Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best and as part of the charge to inject new utility and interest into the humble kitchen sink comes Blanco’s Etagon. After years of slowly disappearing below the work-surface in ever-sharper cornered undermounts, the new trend is go large with a visible new presence that elevates the sink to the hub of the kitchen. Etagon is a stepped bowl that produces a shelf where additional utensils can live. Trivets and drainers sit within the sink enabling different levels to be utilised. No more balancing colanders and pans when draining... Increased space when prepping... Sweep asparagus stalks into the waste disposal and the tips into a bowl in one neat move. And thanks to Blanco’s huge range of surface options it looks great too, be it in satin silver, black, white, gorgeous on trend concrete and even hard luxurious ceramic.'
'Making its show debut after finding its place in kitchens across Europe the Novy ONE is perhaps the Belgian brand’s neatest cooking solution yet. With the move to open plan kitchen/dining and the luxury of central islands the problem of extraction in the centre of the room is increasingly writ large. There are now induction + extraction one-piecers from all the big names but the ONE is perhaps the least compromised. The hob enjoys such features as automatic pan detection, automatic bridging (place a skillet across zones), a set of controls and timers per zone and Super Power delivering 3700W to wherever you need it, but it’s the extraction component that truly impresses. Centrally mounted (as is the trend) it’s the one that rises on a motor to 55mm or 110mm to deliver the extraction at the pan’s top rather than its base. The result is 30% more effective and quieter than flush mounted models that work that bit harder to achieve similar results.'
Abode Proboil 2X and Prothia tap
'The show’s big news in hot water taps was the unveiling of Abode’s Prothia tap and Proboil 2X combo. The Proboil 2X is Abode’s new super-compact, size-of-a-shoebox, in-cupboard boiler that’s a DIY project to fit, self-calibrating, with no need to fit to the sink waste. It features a two litre stainless steel tank with a fast re-boil time and simple digital controls featuring a display for your desired dispatch temperature anywhere up to 98 degrees. Best of all it works with any of Abodes’ Pronteau taps, allowing you to retrofit a boiling feature to your existing Pronteau when the desire arrives. Alternatively team it with their new extra-slim Prothia for the most affordable boiling solution on the market – at just £599 for the pair in a single pack. And it’s no shirk on style and options either, available in Swan and Quad designs and in five finishes including Brushed Brass, Chrome, Matt Black, Urban Copper and Brushed Nickel.'
'One piece shower solutions have previously been seen as a little too ‘hospitality’ for most stylish homes but at kbb to shake up the shower were the new range of panels from Showerwall. Why waste time and money, installing membranes, tiles, grout and all the associated fuss and mess of tiling when a single floor to ceiling panel from Showerwall does the job for you? Get bold prints with outdoor vibes, modern designs with an edge, or stylish single-piece marble that looks like a million dollars. Literally. All in a single large sheet that’s watertight top to bottom and can be sealed at the edges for larger spaces and around corners. Available in countless matt and gloss options there’s even a new ‘synchronised’ variation that matches the texture on the surface to ape the pattern below delivering a feel like the imperfections of real slate and stone.'
'Konigstone delivered real luxury to kbb with a display of their latest ranges delivering bold new patterns and colours to a world all too accustomed to granites and marbles. This is real natural stone at work with each slab genuinely unique and designed by nature, Konigstone’s only role is to expertly discover and prepare this natural bounty, then enhance and protect with their “once only” anti-stain treatment. Pride of place on their stand was a huge quartzite kitchen island in dreamy green ‘Venus’, featuring an incredible genuine stone-lined sink that removed the distinction between worktop and bowl. Truly a work of art.'
Caple Sense Wine Cooler
'Styled to perfectly match Caple’s Sense range of ovens, microwave combis and coffee machine is the latest addition to the set – a wine cooler. Yes, there’s excellent capacity, yes it’s packed with features, yes it matches the rest of the range perfectly but it’s the simple of novelty of having a wine cooler that *looks like an oven* that will never get tired.'
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