14495 Wed, 05/14/2008 - 3:24pm
CHICAGO–The new, the sustainable and the boomer.
That might well have been an informal subtheme of the latest annual Kitchen/Bath Industry Show, held at McCormick Place here last month. For the “new,” it was tomorrow’s technology that dominated product introductions. Consider Samsung’s SilverCare washers that use cold water and no harsh chemicals to get clothes as “deep-down clean” as those washed in traditional hot water and bleach. Or Best by Broan’s range hoods utilizing a heat sentry technology. Or Miele’s Mastercool Collection of refrigerators that automatically adjust internal temperature.
For the sustainable, Bosch’s laundry systems featured various eco-smart options that lower energy and water consumption “significantly,” according to a product description. There was also Vinotemp International’s wine storage units, which shun ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons and hydro chlorofluorocarbons.
And for all those baby-boomers now on the later side of middle age, manufacturers introduced products that feature accessibility and ease of use, along with high style demanded by many older consumers. An example was Smeg USA’s horizontal dishwasher, which placed baskets higher for wheelchair access. It also eliminates the need to bend over when loading.
The show attracted more than 45,000 attendees, the largest number in its 45-year history.
Some K/BIS exhibitors appeared to have taken a page from the casual furniture industry, which has recently developed furniture and accessories that serve to turn a backyard or patio into an outdoor room. Viking, for example, introduced a 24-inch refrigerated beverage center and ice maker, a freestanding outdoor appliance that fits beneath a counter and produces 2 pounds of ice per day. And for consumers who want their patios to serve as a mini kitchen, Fagor brought out a miniature modular cooking and storage unit.
Winners of the new product pavilion awards at the show were, for kitchen, the Brew Express by Larkin, and for bath, Designer Rods’ towel holders.
The Brew Express is a built-in yet portable coffee maker that fits into a holder attached to the wall. It comes in 4-cup and 10-cup sizes, and saves counter space.
Designer Rods’ towel holders are made of shatter-resistant clear glass filled with crushed seashells, marbles or bits of beach glass, each in a variety of colors. The rods, customizable in length, themselves fit into brass holders. — Nathan Weber