KBB - April 2011 - (Page 40)

Abroad First Looks Trends from the inaugural LivingKitchen LivingKitchen, a new biennial trade show, made its debut this January in Cologne, Germany. Its 170 exhibitors attracted more than 100,000 visitors to the 430,000-sq.-ft. hall over the course of six days. Every product category was vigorously represented, with cabinet manufacturers out in particular force and sprawling plumbing booths integrated into the hall plans, not segregated in a designated section. Appliance producers staged exhibits dense with gleaming machines, with induction cooktops and steam ovens seen everywhere. As the show was held concurrently with one of the world’s major furniture markets, imm/Cologne, it was interesting to see how design influences from the world of interiors and those of the kitchen were connected—physically as well as aesthetically. The increasing convergence of the kitchen with the rest of the home reinforces the need for a continuity of color, material and finishes throughout all of the living spaces. • Colors and materials. Bright, vivid colors appeared only sparsely as accents, as a palette of cool earthy tones—led by a cocoa brown and taupe—prevailed. Warmer hues were represented by wheaty and rusty reddish browns. Silvery gray and white rounded out the subdued colorways. In a logical extension of the color trends into the material realm, natural wood dominated the show. Ultra-graphic grains and extreme textural treatments were widely evident and made for a very striking look. Sandblasted solid oak and deeply embossed walnut veneer were seen on cabinet fronts. In a reference to the ongoing interest in using recycled or sustainable materials, broad slabs of live-edge timber, some sporting cuts made by a chisel or scorched by flames, were appended to base cabinets and used as breakfast bars or serving stations. • Cabinet design. Simple slab-front doors were ubiquitous. All visual interest was supplied via textures and color variations—no carving, beading or raised panels; even hardware was either invisible or minimal at best. Perhaps as a means to offset this solidity, there was a new lightness of form in the way that base cabinets met—or didn’t meet—the floor. Twelve-inch toekicks or even completely cantilevered base units introduced an airiness to the room and a refreshing departure from cabinets bluntly anchored to the ground plane. • The open kitchen. Significant evolutions in the concept of the open kitchen seemed to be taking root on a couple fronts. Unlike in the past, appliances were no longer focal points in the room but concealed behind sliding or retractable, armoire-style doors. In a move that’s counter to traditional kitchen planning, these undercover appliances were often centralized in a monolithic cabinet installation that sometimes dominated an entire wall of the room. With extensions and additions to the main mass, islands are edging out of the kitchen into adjoining living spaces. Photo courtesy of Wellmann Kitchens Another development focused on the island, which has long served as a boundary of the open kitchen. As envisioned by a number of exhibitors at the show, however, it has become more integrated with (and integral to) the adjoining living area, often assuming an articulated, branching form or accommodating structure-dissolving elements inserted or docked onto its central mass. Open shelves added a degree of playfulness and thus made the kitchen’s actual work area seem less severe. Attached at right angles to the island, bar- or table-height counters engaged the surrounding space, ultimately bringing a sense of lightness to the interior. • Countertops. In counter surfaces, small-particulate stone and quartzbased materials in neutral colors were quite common. Sometimes these floated above the base cabinets, separated by a shallow reveal. Bandededge treatments were emphasized over profiled designs and frequently sandwiched metal and wood together. In several installations, opaque- or etched-glass counters and backsplashes provided a sleek contrast to the rough textures of the cabinetry. • Faucets. The craze for coffee-like colors also popped up in two-tone, split-finish faucets as well as coordinating ceramic and mineral-resin sinks. Pullouts and pre-wash faucets were scaled down from a statement-making size to more modest proportions. Interest in hands-free operation—taptouch, battery/electronic or remote control—was high. Bundling imm/Cologne and LivingKitchen, two substantial residential design shows, together is an enlightened move, one that makes equal sense for exhibitors and attendees, in any type of economic climate. n —Leslie Clagett 40 + K BB April 2011 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - April 2011

KBB - April 2011
Table of Contents
Online Contents
Online News
Editorial
Focus
Trends
Products
Profile
Abroad
Blonde Ambition
Serenity Now
Education
Ad Index
Favorites

KBB - April 2011

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