Every two years the NEC Birmingham plays host to the KBB Exhibition. This industry exclusive event attracts the best designers, manufacturers and suppliers from all around the world providing them with a unique platform from which to launch, promote and pitch their latest ideas, products and gizmos to a swarm of industry professionals. If you want to know what’s new in KBB design this is the place to be.
So what did the 2014 show have to offer and what should you be looking out for when shopping for your next dream kitchen, bedroom or bathroom?
The 2014 show was driven by design and innovation with suppliers embracing the idea that kitchen and bathroom designers are now at the forefront of the interior design sector providing influence on every level from specialist design advice through to complete project implementation. Judging by the scale of the event and the sheer number of celebrity designers and chef’s involved it is pretty clear that the KBB industry is fast becoming the leading light in the field of home design and lifestyle choice.
It was pretty clear from the products on offer that big name companies are increasingly using, colour, light and shape shifting elements to compliment the popularity of open plan living. The industry is definitely promoting the notion that a kitchen should go beyond functionality and become the backdrop to your home life.
Vibrant colour is certainly starting to find its way back with a tasteful array of citrus inspired colours being used to punctuate designs in a way which helps to dissolve the functional and traditional identity of the kitchen while at the same time delivering a powerful sensory impact to the onlooker.
And what better way to dramatise and control the presence of your new and colourful installation than to add the power of light. The introduction of lighting products can help to facilitate functionality whilst providing the user with a controllable ambience that can improve the holistic atmosphere within a room.
Sensio lighting definitely made a dramatic impression when they showcased a prototype of their defused LED panel system. This fully customisable system embraces the idea that lighting should be seamlessly and discretely integrated into a kitchen or bedroom in an un-obvious way allowing the user to choose and control the impact upon the design and the people occupying the space. Sensio also showcased their lithium-ion battery operated lighting system, which can be fitted without the need for any additional wiring. The fittings have an integrated PIR sensor and only need to be recharged every 6 months providing instant light without any installation problems
Unsurprisingly the 2014 show saw functionality being refined and streamlined too with Blum setting the bench mark standard in this area. The launch of the multi-award winning LEGRABOX drawer system definitely ticked all the technical and aesthetic boxes. Not only does this drawer system look incredible but it also bounds forward technically with a vastly improved soft close action that boasts an incredible load bearing capacity. The drawer system is complemented by the introduction of AMBIA-LINE; the next generation of versatile internal fittings which uses magnetic force to become attached to the drawer. This feature is great as it allows internal dividers to be moved around easily inside the drawer without the need for any moving parts.
The influence of open plan design is having a dramatic impact on the KBB sector with major manufacturers now making a conscious effort to camouflage the kitchen through the use of transforming or shape shifting elements which can allow designs to morph between states of use in order to optimise the user’s experience. Pocket doors have been around for a while now but the progression towards automated and moving cabinetry is being spearheaded by Linak who showcased some of their automated furniture solutions at the show.
The push to neutralise the physical and aesthetic presence of the kitchen has also meant that Key functional features are becoming celebrated because they are unrecognisable. The “Invisible” extraction system by Gutmann works by introducing a slim line air chamber at high level within tall units or bulkheads and using a super charged external motor to effectively draw steam, heat and cooking residues away from the cooking area located in front of the air chamber. From a functional perspective it works fantastically well and allows the traditional kitchen extractor to disappear out of sight.
However Dekton by Consentino was a real stand out product at the show and its Spanish based manufacturers Consentino have quite literally moved mountains during its development managing to replicate and accelerate the forces of nature during production. Extreme levels of heat and over 25000 tonnes of compounding pressure are used to bond purified aggregate into a resin free material which is resistant to scratches, fire, heat and UV rays. Dekton is also resistant to ice and thaw, stains, abrasion, impact and compression and can even be formed with a textured finish. Dekton’s versatile nature and mountain of impressive statistics ensured that it picked up the kitchen product innovation award at the Birmingham show.
It’s encouraging to see that design and innovation is alive and well within the KBB sector with consumers continuing to challenge the skill of designers and manufacturers at a local level. It is only through a desire to do things differently that true innovation occurs and it is pretty clear from KBB 2014 that design is top of the agenda for anyone considering a new kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.