Consolidation and Collaboration
There was new energy and excitement at this year’s International Home Builder Show (IBS) in Las Vegas thanks to its joint presentation with the National Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS). More than 75,000 attended. Collaboration and cross-branding were the order of the day. Indeed, the 3-day event is now called Design and Construction Week and is the start of a three-year association. This means that where there was trade show pain due to the Recessions, there is new potential. And it seems an overdue connection, since kitchens and baths tend to be popular features of most homes — one wonders why someone didn’t think of this before!
For the first time since 2007 exhibits seemed to be expanding and the convention floor felt crowded with customers. And companies have discovered the usefulness of social media sites like Pinterest — Kohler seems to be the early
adopter here, with new products tagged as the most liked on Pinterest. Here are the kitchen innovations that caught my eye, with more to come for other rooms in future posts.
The Once and Future Kitchen
ranges with built-in lava rock grills (shown here with the grill top removed to reveal the rocks below it) to tall, narrow, high-capacity
which was first developed in Europe by Bosch’s other company, Gaggenau.
You can place any size pot or pan anywhere on the surface and it will draw the heat (the surface remains cool to non-metallic objects like hands, of course). Notice that the induction rings are not visible on the black surface. Thermador’s illustration below shows how the embedded circuity extends everywhere.
I also saw the cooktop at the 2014 New American Home show house in Henderson, Nevada. And flexibility is the idea behind the innovative high-end
Mick De Giulio sinks by Kallista (part of the Bosch and Thermador displays and a good example of co-branding — Kallista is a Kohler company), with the slide-over cutting board and colander support frame — for washing lettuce and vegetables. Multi-functional and cool. Kallista sinks were also in the displays of several other companies.
Dishwashers continue to evolve and Thermador’s 24-inch Star-Sapphire model, also included in the kitchen at The New American Home, has an unusual feature: the so-called ‘Time Remaining Power Beam” shown at left. The machine is very quiet so it’s helpful to be able to see if it’s actually running and find out when the cycle will be complete — the time remaining is projected on the floor. The model at the TNAH demonstration house was
camouflaged with cabinetry, making the blue light on the floor the only way to tell a dishwasher was there in the first place, and gives giving new meaning to all those “tractor beams” mentioned on old Star Trek episodes.
An even more futuristic yet practical invention is the countertop that can charge your iphone without plugs. Dupont Corian has teamed with Power Matters Alliance (PMA) to develop a solid surface embedded with wireless charging stations. In the prototype I saw, a round black insert shows where to place
your iphone; the phone indicates when contact is made and recharging begins. No more plug-ins or twisted wires! The point-of-contact would be treated in a more ornamental fashion in the final product.
And speaking of countertops, the Spanish manufacturer Neolith has developed an impressive new “ultra compact,” non-porous, solid surface called “Clas Stone” that is made of minerals — not resins and acrylics. The manufacturing process, called”sinterization,” involves intense pressure and heat; colors come from mineral pigments. Though installed like quartz-based materials or granite slabs, the material is much lighter and because it’s virtually non-porous, has an extremely low absorption rate and does not stain like real stone and
concrete. With this material it’s possible to have perfectly “book-matched” counter surfaces that resemble marble but with a warmer touch (shown above is a sample of Neolith’s full slab Estatuario line). Currently several other textured
More products to come in the next IBS/KBIS post.