13847 Wed, 02/20/2008 - 5:05pm
By Andrea Lillo
FRANKFURT, Germany–Despite the struggling American economy, manufacturers were upbeat at the recent Ambiente show here. Absorbing costs and rising raw material prices now standard, many felt that consumers will buy if they feel the quality is there.
“People don’t want to overpay, but they’re willing to do one-step trade-ups when the quality is noticeable,” said Chad Price, vice president of sales for Schott Zwiesel. “Maybe they won’t go from $10 to $30 [for an item] but will make the jump from $10 to $14.”
In the tabletop category, introductions incorporated designs that were raised, off-center or asymmetrical. Royal Copenhagen’s Elements line, for example, is a modern take on the company’s traditional patterns, with a lace relief design only partially covering plates.
Villeroy & Boch’s Urban Nature line allowed a place setting to be built from the table up, as arched bowls and a number of multifunctional serving items were included. Marrying a country and urban style for simple elegance, the line also offers two versions of a dinner plate, as well as mocha, coffee and cafe au lait saucers.
Designer Eva Zeisel is still creating lines at 101 years old and Royal Stafford introduced her One-O-One collection, named for Zeisel’s youthful age. Many of the 11 graceful and sculptural pieces are multifunctional, including a sauce boat that could be used for everything from dressings and sauces to milk and wine.
RCR launched its new lead-free material called Luxion, which it will now use in all of its new Home & Table collection, a group that focuses on “everyday luxury” in a contemporary look, said Antonella Martina, export area manager. Within the new collection was its new Optical line, which incorporated circles, lines and squares to decorate stemware and decanters.
In the housewares category, companies were keen on green. GreenPan, which debuted its line of PFOA- and PTFE-free cookware last year, exhibited at the show for the first time, and showed its new lines of cookware, each of which is named for a city where a different United Nations environmental protocol was decided, such as Kyoto, Japan; Nairobi, Egypt; and Stockholm, Sweden. The company’s new bakeware also launched.
Scanpan worked with a German coating company to introduce GreenTek, where PFOA has been removed from the entire manufacturing process, said George Bente, president and chief executive officer. The company also bowed its new CTX line, made of five-ply stainless steel and its highest-quality cookware.
Several companies played with fire, literally. WMF showed fire pits, which allows it to talk to a different type of retailer, said Peter Brailey, vice president, sales and marketing for the retail division. New items also included a grill or wok set that allows for cooking at the table. “It’s all about shared experiences,” Brailey said.