I touched on a few things in my glam.com post, but, before I show you more products, I want to talk a little more deeply about the trends I saw at the show. Here's what I observed...and I walked the show with a heightened awareness to just observe, put together puzzle pieces, listen, compare, look, and learn. I won't single out products here, I'll just give you my impressions. Look for examples as I show you specific products soon.
ECO IS (mostly) EVERYWHERE
ECO-themed issues, displays, products or any combination thereof, collectively, WAS the 80,000 ton gorilla at the show. It's everywhere. It's shouted from the rooftops (I wish I had taken a shot of Sears' booth). It's the biggest marketing message of all. It's seen in the displays, in press releases, and is on all the KBIS attendees minds and in their words (at least everyone I spoke to.) I took a 1/2 day seminar on green kitchen design, so I guess it's something I'm attuned to as well. Most companies "get it" and are on board the green train, wherever it's taking us. I mean, what can be bad?
However, that said, beyond the message, in reality, it DOES look like many companies are making special efforts to embrace new technologies to make their products more energy efficient. I've seen more leds than ever as substitute lighting in various (mainstream) products compared to previously used, less efficient, lighting. Appliance companies are actively promoting increasing energy efficiency. Gas cooktops are more energy efficient. An energy efficient hood, which I do believe is the first one to be energy star rated. An effort for faucets to deliver less water out of the spout, but not sacrificing pressure. The mainstream companies are responding bigtime.
I cannot predict our economic future, but I can tell you that glamour in the kitchen is very much alive and well! Maybe, it's like having one last dance on the Titanic, who knows, but, wow, baby, many products for the kitchen are ALL DRESSED UP! To me, it's an edgier, riskier point of view that these mainstream (and smaller) companies feel comfortable "going for." Good for them. It's about time! Shine, shimmer, glass, leds, some color (not a whole lot) and you've made a statement.
BROWN, BRONZE, AMBER, WARMTH, ETC. ETC.
SO much at the show was brown...and various shades of browns, and different browns together in whatever materials amuse. Brown metals abound still, in hardware, hoods, sinks, faucets...Brown was really the king at the show. Deep, rich, stains in wood cabinetry were absolutely the norm in most displays I observed. And, I'll tell you this...if it wasn't deep, rich browns, it was browns with white accents.
STAINLESS IS A CLASSIC FINISH
Don't listen to those who say stainless is on its way out, just because browns are everywhere. Browns are not everywhere, not in appliance finishes. In other products, yes. I hereby declare that stainless is a classic finish. Yes, I'll go out on a limb on this one, and if I'm wrong about that, well, I've been wrong once before, so my record is good. ;)
As mentioned a bit above, technology is doing amazing things in products. It is creating beautiful patterns in tile, it is creating beautiful solid surface patterns. Yes, solid surface, thanks to fresh, new, patterns, probably as a result of enhanced technology, need to be looked at again. And, yes, I do mean Corian. It was gorgeous in some displays. But, more than that, technology is giving us so many choices in how we use our appliances to get what we WANT out of them. Technology is helping to give us time back in our lives, it's organizing one's life in the kitchen. I see more technological leaps this year than ever.
Appliance companies are stepping up to provide us with even better looking appliances. Also, appliances that cook or chill in far healthier ways than ever before. In more sizes and configurations than ever, and the continued introduction of smaller, niche, products to answer those quirky needs and desires of consumers. There are just more choices, let me say it like that!
THE ARTISAN/NATURAL INFLUENCE
The artisan touch was huge, in tile, big bold, patterns in hand crafted tile. Artists designed sinks, even in mainstream companies, hoods, interesting countertops, and more. The combination of matte and shine, texture and smooth, coexist and create a more personal expression. Natural materials...everywhere. If not real, then the look of nature. In cabinetry, countertops, hardware, sinks, and more...Mother Nature is surely the Queen this year!