Sunday, May 15, 2011

KBIS-2011 Kitchen Bath Industry Show

Color & Design Trends, Inovative Marketing

Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG
Dede Radford, CMG,
Allied Member ASID, Member IFDA, Member IDS

The largest and most all-inclusive kitchen and bath Industry show, known as KBIS was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, April 26-28, 2011. Exhibitors were there to show off their latest and greatest products to the swarms of designers, home builders, showrooms and media.

It’s a fact KBIS was much smaller than in years past and no doubt, it will be a while before we get back to the heyday where our industry was 5-6 years ago. The big brands’ booths were drastically smaller, in most likely, all cases. Sadly, countless major national brands simply disappeared from the show floor this year. Although KBIS was cozier this year, everyone’s tone was positive.

As expected, manufacturers continue to refrain from wildly spinning the color wheel. Grays and browns dominated the show’s color palette. Browns primarily dominated cabinetry; grays primarily appeared new introductions of tile and countertops. What small amounts of color we did find stood out in the sea of neutrals.

CABINETRYMid-Century, soft modern and various styles of Shaker led the way in centenary designs, while traditional picked up the rear. Brown continues to be in and we’re talking the entire spectrum from light, mid tones to coffee – brown. Our classics, black and white are still with us.

REAL/FAUXWhoever said that you can’t fool Mother Nature, didn’t see Formica’s or Cambria’s new products. These two industry leaders nailed it, by creating beautiful authentic looking surfaces, reminiscent of granite and marble.

Formica’s new introductions 180fx™ has turned the counter surface industry upside down. Their stone finishes have so much depth and realism, which will make you think twice before heading out to a slab yard. These finishes provide the qualities that we’ve come to expect from Formica’s laminate, such as durability, good looks and affordability. We also participated in Formica’s focus group and caught a glimpse of what’s next. All we can say is wow; you are really in for a treat!

Cambria’s new drop-dead-gorgeous Waterstone Collection, provides the benefits of quarts surfaces, such as strength greater than granite or marble, maintenance-free, plus a non-porous surface .

Many luxury manufacturers have positioned themselves to capture a larger market, by introducing a lower priced line, to their existing. This allows consumers to purchase quality products at an affordable rate. The manufacturers we spotted doing this are: Toto, Corian and Dacor.

Sinks for the most part, were seamless integrated and designed to perform multiple functions, doubling as counter spaces/cutting board/dish drainer, like this one by Nick de Giulio and Kohler

The one manufacturer, who drew the crowd in like bees to honey, was JSG Oceana and here’s why. Their colors are stunning and when combined with glass it’s a show stopper. What they are most proud of is creating the “Industry’s Only Functional Glass Kitchen Sink”.

As with everything else, tile designs are simplified with a contemporary edge. We noticed a lot of mosaics and overall tile size appears to be getting smaller. Glass still remains popular, either by its self or as an accent. As we saw in the 30s-50s tile designs are expanding beyond tub/shower enclosures and kitchen/bath back splashes. Tile is surrounding walls, windows and ceilings, resulting in a more uniform design.

HARDWAREBrushed and satin nickel, chrome and stainless steel in a contemporary vain continue to dominate the hardware industry. This is no surprise; sense the bulk of cabinetry being sold in North America is also contemporary. There is also a trend leaning towards warmer finishes, as in this bronze knob by Belwith.

There weren’t a lot of new innovations. Manufacturers for the most part, were sticking with their top selling products (even if they’ve been around for a few years), however, we did find new entry door hardware by Bellwith that will simplify our lives. Through your smart phone’s app, you can activate the dead bolt making the door virtually keyless. This would be an awesome ADA (American Disability Act) aid, for individuals with Arthritis or limited hand mobility.

LIGHTING LEDs continue to light the way. Accent and task continues to get smaller and more flexible, in regards to design and installation. We saw colored LED inserted into tile back splashes, cabinet hardware and sinks.

Manufacturers used some rather clever marketing strategies to draw attendees in. Several enticed designers into their cozy booths by offering CEUs. Even though there was minimal seating, with the remaining standing in the isles, this Grass Roots marketing was a huge success. This gave some of the smaller guys to strut their stuff. A few years ago exhibitors would have been expected to invest in larger plots of show floor real estate in order to do this. But no more! The overall attitude throughout KBIS was, the economy may not be the way we would like it, but we’re all in this together. Others like Dacor, offered intimate, standing-room-only cocktail receptions. Some like Wood Mode offered a show floor presence, while hosting off-site private parties to display their new products. On a personal note, it was a bit challenging traipsing all over Las Vegas to off-site private parties in order to do trend research. Fortunately, we know how to work hard and play hard; we squeezed-in several events and had a blast doing it. Hey, let’s not forget, we were in Las Vegas!

We saw fewer stunts and attention-grabbers this year. Colorful Circus Olay acrobats flying through the air were nowhere to be found. Scantily clad women handing out freebies were scarce. Sorry guys! However we both agreed that Hanwha L&C Surfaces uniquely displayed their new introductions. Models dressed in body suits, were painted to match their surfaces, bringing their products to life.

Dacor hosted an exclusive cocktail event, featuring Jeff Lewis, from the new show “Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis”. The design team and crew actually move in with homeowners for a week and remodel one of their rooms. The new show airs this fall on Bravo.

Denise Turner and Dede Radford joined forces, to research KBIS in order to coauthor this color and design trend article.

Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG is an international colorist, Certified Interior, color & design trend forecaster, speaker, author and president of the Color Turners.

COLOR TURNERS turns the art of color into profit
Specializing in the home d├ęcor and building materials, with an emphasis on the architectural coatings.

As a spokesperson for ASID National, CMG Expert Speaker’s Bureau and as the Contributing Color & Design Trend Editor for idS Magazine, Malaysia, Denise regularly appears in press.
She is a winner of California Paint’s Color Challenge and her redesign of an ADA-compliant master bath won the HGTV Designer’s Challenge. Denise is A CMG Chair holder, ASID professional member, Certified Interior Designer, and former ASID chapter president and UCLA graduate.

Dede Radford, CMG is an Allied Member of ASID, past IFDA Arizona chapter president, IDS Member and the Arizona Colorist and Design Services professional for Dunn-Edwards Paints.

As a Dunn-Edwards’ professional, for 15 years Dede pioneered the Builder/Designer program. She is a member of the Arizona Historical League, an Advisory Committee Member for the Art Institute of Phoenix and Collins College Interior Design Departments in Phoenix. Presently she is partnering with Green Street Development as an Industry spokesperson and supplier.

Dede is a CMG Chair Holder, has been an ASID member for 28 years and an Industry Partner for ASID, IIDA, and IFDA for the past 10 years. She was President of the Arizona IFDA Chapter in 2009 and is an IFDA International Director of Large. Dede received her BFA in Interior Design from Arizona State University and has worked in the valley and state as a professional interior designer in retail, commercial and residential design.

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