The Exhibition: KBB 2020
By Linda Parker
As always, a visit to the KBB Exhibition, held every other year, is a very big deal in our world of kitchen and bathroom design (not forgetting the bedrooms aspect, too!). Here are some of our favourites… and will be bringing you more over the next few months, too!
It’s a treat to visit the exhibition and see all the vast expanses of new work surfaces – many are displayed on huge hinged wall panels, so it’s inspirational to see the scale and texture, in real life as it were – and not just the size of a post-card sized swatch. One of CRL Stone’s new ceramic surfaces is Ceralsio Bianco Silver, shown here for island, cladding and flooring. So… with all the good looks of marble without the maintenance issues, Ceralsio is suited to kitchens and bathrooms, and comes in a natural or polished finish.
There was great excitement at the Perrin & Rowe stand, with the launch of their new Armstrong collection, which has an industrial look, inspired by the designs of engineer brothers Joseph and George Armstrong. Stay with us… they were responsible for the designer of over 800 locomotive engines for the Great Western Railway. Each Perrin & Rowe pieces is manufactured at their plant in Wolverhampton, near to the old Great Western Railway works. So it means that historic industrial influence is brought up to date with this new Armstrong collection. Shown above here, the 4549HT Armstrong Lever Mixer with Pull Down Rinse and textured lever detail. Inn Gold, Chrome, Satin Brass, English Bronze… and other formats including bridge mixer and single lever mixer.
The Abode displays were, as ever, astonishing. The variety of designs, colours, and configurations is extensive, and absolutely anyone, even the fussiest kitchen designer – whether professional or DIY-er would be able to find a model that suits all their design aspirations and falls within budget too. This (above) is the Abode Pronteau Prothia 3 In 1 tap, which is a steaming hot water tap (delivering at 98 Deg C), plus standard hot and cold water. The compact boiler is the PB2X, which takes up less cupboard space than other designs… and it’s also very keenly priced, from £599. In five finishes, Matt Black, Brushed Brass, Chrome, Urban Copper and Brushed Nickel.
We couldn’t bring you tap news without mentioning the Quooker Flex Black – it’s a boiling (100 Deg C) tap and mixer in one, with a flexible pull-out hose. We think the Quooker taps are absolute classics, available as boiling water only (Nordic), Nordic Twin Taps (matching boiling water and standard mixer tap) and Fusion (all in one hot/cold/boiling). And of course, finishes include Polished Chrome, Stainless Steel, Nickel, Patinated Brass, Black and Gold, depending on which model is chosen. The big news at the exhibition was regarding the Quooker CUBE accessory which can be added to the tap cabinet, next to the Quooker tank. It’s an addition that includes two filters and a CO2 cannister that will create sparkling filtered water from the same Quooker tap as your hot, cold and boiling streams.
It was a joy to see the abundance of very desirable handles, pulls, knobs, bolts and catches over at the Armac Martin stand. The new collection of cabinet hardware is MIX, which has a textured, industrial essence, and which should be viewed by anyone in the midst of planning a new kitchen. The size and finish of the backplates can be specified, so is definitely worth investigating by any designer who wants to create a contemporary, individual look for their new projects.
It’s rather like having sensory overload visiting this exhibition, there’s so much to see, and one of the stands which was full of clever stuff was Caple. As most readers already know, it’s a one-stop for sinks, taps, appliances, extraction and cabinetry. A few things caught my eye, including the new Wine Cabinets – more of which next month! The new Mode175 gold and steel sink is a must-have for a glam kitchen, dipping into the gold/silver trends, and it can be inset or undermounted. It also has a PVD coating, making it highly resistant to tarnishing, corrosion and scratching. The coating also ensures the colour and finish is long-lasting. Available accessories include a mat and colander.
Meanwhile over at Pronorm there was plenty of inspiration in two dramatic showpiece handleless kitchen sets using mixed materials – including a new Organic Glass ultra-matt door finish in black and platinum. The fantastic thing about the Organic Glass finish is its anti-fingerprint qualities – making it easy to keep a super-stylish kitchen looking top notch at all times. Shown here above, Organic Black Matt and Walnut Ultra Matt from the Y Line range.
The new Vela island extractors from Caple were stunning. There are three finishes, Gold, Copper and Black, which really cover all on-trend design eventualities. The extractor has a Halo LED light and Plasma technology which eradicates 95% of any odours and then a carbon filter deals with anything that remains. These hoods have three speeds, and adjustable height on installation, so suitable for standard and tall ceilings.
The Box Center multi-purpose sink from Franke was a success at the KBB show last time around, and the range of additions and options has been extended, with three new models offering more sizes and installation options to suit different work surfaces. It can be installed as an inset or Flushmount, and there is also a single bowl that can be inset, undermount or Flushmount. This single bowl houses the accessory pack… meaning that knives, knife holder, strainer bowl, prep platter, board and wire rack can be stored vertically within the sink after use. Perfect on an island, as an additional prep sink or just as part of the normal sink run.
Of course, one of the highlights of the exhibition was catching up with everyone on the Blum team! As well as seeing some of the latest innovate ideas of course… The SPACE STEP is a brilliant plinth solution – it pops out with a single touch and is sturdy enough for adults as well as children. It’s not confined to kitchen use – it can bring a whole new world of easy access to high cupboards and storage solutions to bedrooms, bathrooms, utility rooms and living spaces too. In fact if you want to make the best use of any room that’s going to have fitted furniture installed, you need a SPACE STEP! Get all the technical details here.
This idea also caught my eye, it’s the totally practical Pull-out Shelf Lock for MOVENTO and TANDEM runners. The new locking mechanism means that shelves can be used safely and securely without the worry of a wobble or slide-back! The two-sided locking system can be released with one hand. This is such a good idea… for a laundry room, a home office, a kitchen, almost any room where a safe and immoveable extra surface is needed. My suggestion was that it would be a perfect extra surface for a sewing machine or other craft equipment. Any further suggestions, do let us know! And for more details on the Pull-out shelf lock, click here.