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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
11th March 2016


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Please note that you are viewing an archived issue of The KBzine.

International News

British Ceramic Tile sponsors the UK's first National Tile Week

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British Ceramic Tile will be sponsoring the UK's first National Tile Week which will run 11th - 18th April. Just in time for the double May bank holiday where consumers do their most DIY of the year, National Tile Week aims to equip retailers with all the information their customers need to feel confident when choosing and laying tiles.

More than one in three of us prefer neutrals when it comes to decorating our bathrooms

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New research conducted by bathroom furniture supplier, Virtual Bathrooms, has revealed that people are wary of using bright and vibrant shades when decorating their bathroom.

Slide into style with a new feature from in-toto

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One of the UK's biggest kitchen specialists has announced a versatile new look with innovative sliding doors.

The kitchen is often the heart of the home... a busy hub of people gathering to eat, drink and socialise.

Masterclass takes up position at KBB Birmingham 2016

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Renowned UK manufacturer Masterclass Kitchens will be heading to the NEC next month, as it showcases its very latest ranges and engages with existing and potential customers at this year's KBB Birmingham.

Proud of its progressive design and product quality: Abode to showcase 2016 range of taps

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In the 14 years since Abode made its first entry into the UK market, it has become renowned for its progressive design styles at all budget levels. The company's focus on innovative kitchen sinks and taps has been recognised many times - with a cabinet full of industry awards which reflects Abode's ethos towards investment in design and product quality.

Karonia at KBB 2016: New Look Mistral worktops

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"Mistral was launched at KBB 2010 when we presented the industry with our different approach and, thanks to the many, many designers, installers and retailers who have dared to imagine what Mistral can achieve, we have grown to be a market-leading worktop brand," says the manufacturer. "In honour of this, Mistral has a new look as we seek to build on this success and continue the evolution of the brand by improving our offering to customers."

Twyford works with homeless charity, CRASH, to support projects in the North East

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Twyford has donated products from its Quinta and T4 ranges to two projects in the North East that provide accommodation for vulnerable homeless people, through the charity CRASH.

Welcome to the


Most of those I mentioned it to winced when I said I needed three weeks to get around the show and see all I wanted to – and of course, when it comes to the aching feet and general feeling of tiredness, I have to say I agree with them… but going back over the notes I took at the show, looking at the pictures and remembering the people we’d chatted to, the stands we’d admired and the sheer beauty of some of the products, I can’t help but hanker after Birmingham.

Some with whom we spoke, felt that the show was smaller than before; others said it was slightly bigger. Some felt it was busier while others claimed it was a bit quieter – although the handful who did think the numbers were down, said that the quality of visitor was bang on. More than one said it was the best KBB Birmingham they’d ever experienced (and they were even older than John and me)!

Perhaps by the time we come to produce Part 2 of our show review next week, the visitor numbers will have been released. Whatever they end up revealing though, I can’t help but feel that the consensus will be that this really was an excellent show.

Roll on the next one!

John and I visited as many of the stands as we possibly could but of course over just a few days it was impossible for us to see everything. If we didn’t manage to meet up with you, do email us your press release, won’t you? And if you were simply visiting, we’d love to learn your thoughts on what you saw, what you liked and perhaps even what you weren’t so keen on.

Do please get in touch…



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Jan Hobbs



This Week's News

Ideal Standard unveils two new bathroom collections

* ideal-standard-peephole-screen.jpgYou know when the presenter's really, really passionate about their subject matter, don't you? Renowned designer Robin Levien (pictured below right) is just one of those people. John and I agree that we could listen to him talk about the whys and wherefores of the design concept all day, so who better to present Ideal Standard's new collections than Robin himself?

Ruth Hinks, UK World Chocolate Master, didn't disappoint crowds on Franke stand

* Franke-chocs.jpgNot that (with its great products and reputation) Franke needed another stand attraction, but it thought it would provide the icing on the cake - chocolate of course - by inviting UK World Chocolate Master, Ruth Hinks, to help 'Make it Wonderful' by crafting stunning chocolate showpieces at Franke's KBB exhibition stand this year. The chocolate brownies were pretty good too...

The event gave retailers a first chance to meet Ruth, who will also lead Franke's 'More in Store Blooming Great Tea Party' campaign, now in its third year, in support of Marie Curie.

Cosentino launches Dekton XGloss

* XGLOSS.jpgThe Cosentino Group launched its exciting new Dekton XGloss line of surfaces, whilst also previewing its new Silestone and Dekton colours, alongside the recently launched Sensa Exotic range, from a stand that seemed to be continually busy.

RAK unveils new tiles and bathroom designs at KBB 2016

* RAK-Zig-Zago.jpgWe were shown around RAK Ceramics' 10m x 20m stand by Angela Fitzhugh of AFPR, who easily managed to answer our many questions about the impressive line-up of products as well as emerging trends - one of which is the growing desire for householders to incorporate bathrooms into the tiniest of spaces; something the company caters for very well with its compact ranges and corner WCs. But as our pictures show, there are stunning options for those with larger spaces to fill...

Natural beauty set in stone with Raw Concrete

* Caesarstone-Raw-Concrete.jpgTapping into the trend for apartment living and industrial-style finishes in the contemporary kitchen, Caesarstone used KBB to showcase Raw Concrete, a new colour in its best-selling Classico worktop collection, as well as other new ranges and colours.

Latest kitchen lighting and power solutions

* sensio-floating-bed.jpgSensio launched a number of new lighting and power solution innovations at the show. These included the Midway V1 hanging rail system, new wireless charging pads, new SensioPod R and the new Multi-Light App. John particularly liked the bed, which appeared to be floating, as our picture shows...

Also on the stand and shown for the first time were products launched during 2015; the power solutions SensioPod Bluetooth and SensioPower U, plus under cabinet lights SLS Quadra, Nico, Arrow, Titon and Venus and the award winning SensioSound light with quality integrated Bluetooth speaker.

Terence Ball Kitchens: everything for your favourite tipple but all hidden away!

* TBK-kitchen-bar.jpgThe bars some people fitted in their living rooms back in the 70s were all very well in terms of keeping everything in one place, but they didn't exactly look wonderful or create a good impression for visitors who weren't there to party, did they?

Terence Ball Kitchens has come of with a great solution, as our picture illustrates. Yes - everything you might want in a home bar can be accommodated in this unit, but when it's time for morning coffee or when tea totallers or perhaps the life insurance representative visit, the contents can be hidden away, leaving the bar to blend in beautifully with the rest of the kitchen...

Karonia: striking new designs, a new brochure (and was it a case of 'Play Mistral for me'?)

* Karonia-Lunas.jpgIn case you're wondering about the 'Play Mistral for me' headline, some of the Karonia team entertain the crowds at the aftershow party on the opening day of the show (and they're very good, which is probably why they perform at every KBB Birmingham show).

Abode's Pronteau: water the way you want it, when you want it

* Abode-Pronteau.jpgWe'd heard it was on its way but KBB was the first chance we'd had to see it in action, although we forgot to ask whether the name, Pronteau, is a play on the slogan 'water the way you want it, when you want it' - i.e. 'pronto'!

The new 4-in-1 Pronteau Ph-balanced filtered water system delivers a choice of steaming water at the exact temperature you want. No scum, scale or bad tasting hot drinks and no spitting or spurting as hot water is pumped at a steady three litres per minute.

British Ceramic Tile: new ranges plus launch of 'Retailer Club'

* Jacques-BCT.jpgBritish Ceramic Tile's stand was busy throughout the show and we're not surprised, bearing in mind the great new products, inviting roomsets and the launch of an exclusive Retailer Club - all of which went down very well.

Jacques Vermeulen (pictured under a selection of new Ted Baker splashbacks offered by BCT), explained that the Retailer Club will offer an enhanced level of support to selected premium customers through a variety of in-store solutions, print and online marketing materials and incentive and service packages, with the aim being to help retailers drive sales and increase their turnover.

An installer's dream... Wirquin's Quick Fit wows Innovation Awards judges

* Wirquin.jpgChanging a faulty flush valve in a close coupled cistern can be a chore, what with having to remove the cistern and on most occasions cut through rusted bolts which can add time to the job.

More than £5,000 raised!

* BMA-cheque-presentation.jpgThe Bathroom Manufacturers Association held a celebration at KBB to mark the fact that it has raised more than £5,000 for the Children's Burns Trust, handing over a cheque to the Trust during the event.

When the BMA decided to support the charity, it launched a campaign; 'Hot Water Burns Like Fire', to raise awareness of the dangers of scalding.

Well either this young lady needs harp lessons, or this isn't really a harp...

* Carisa-Harp.jpgVisiting shows and showrooms, John and I never cease to be amazed by some of the incredible designs offered by the more innovative radiator manufacturers. As you can see, Carisa is one of them and we'd like to thank Chloe Kruse for good-naturedly posing for our photographer, with this eye-catching piece.

The products are designed and built in Turkey and are distributed via UK general manager Darren Chisholm, based in Kent, who told us that while the radiators are made for incorporation into a standard central heating system, they can also be made in plug-in versions.

Stylish bathroom solutions for all ages and abilities; Italian by design

* tiny-toilets.jpgWe regularly attend shows in Italy and John's hearty "Buongiorno" never fails to impress those who believe they're talking to someone with a great command of the Italian language, until John confesses: "That's all I've got." It was the same with Ponte Giulio's Stefano Carniti, but that didn't dent Stefano's enthusiasm in showing us around the stand.

All aboard the Burlington Bus!

* on-the-bus.jpgJohn and I couldn't resist posing for a picture, hanging off the bus just as we used to before health & safety laws made buses boring (well - we're still here to tell the tale; as are many of our generation. It was called 'holding on tightly' - something our parents taught us from a young age...)

Unfortunately Bathroom Brands, who'd fitted the Burlington Bus out with some of Burlington's fabulous products, wasn't able to replicate the feeling of danger when you swing out of the bus as it turns sharply right, but it certainly brought back memories.

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How to contact us at The KBzine:
Jan Hobbs
Publishing Editor
Email:[email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)1372 811 307 
Mobile: 07980 288 373





John Austen
Publishing Director
Email:[email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)1580 755 863
Mobile: 07766 707 888
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Recent News

SHD acquires majority stake in ArtiCAD

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As of 11th February 2016, SHD AG acquired the majority of the shares in British software specialist, ArtiCAD Holdings. The company founder, Richard Turner and director of corporate sales, Daniel Allerton, will remain as shareholders and will be responsible for the further development and sales strategy for ArtiCAD's software solutions.

KBBG members to enjoy an exclusive consultancy offer

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The Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group is dedicated to supporting independent kitchen specialists in the UK; members can benefit from an exclusive business consultancy opportunity to work with one of the UK's leading independent kitchen and bathroom retailers, with a support package, only available to KBBG members.


Utopia appoints creative brand co-ordinator

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Utopia Furniture Group has confirmed Richard Kozakiewicz's appointment to the newly created position of creative brand co-ordinator.

Whirlpool UK appliances appoints new digital marketing manager

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Whirlpool UK Appliances has appointed Hanifa Dungarwalla as digital marketing manager, UK & Eire. Hanifa will be responsible for the online presence of the Whirlpool, Hotpoint and Indesit brands, ensuring a strong user experience and maximising the brands' overall key messages.

Hoover appoints Glyn Martin as account director

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Hoover has added to its freestanding division for the second time in six months, with the appointment of Glyn Martin as account director - major domestic appliances. Glyn's appointment swiftly follows the addition of Garry Smith as laundry product manager, which was announced earlier this year.

Smeg UK welcomes Matt Balm as southern sales manager

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In his new role as Southern sales manager with Smeg UK, Matt Balm will use his vast experience to develop both new and existing business, whilst overseeing the Southern regional sales operation within the retail channel of the business. He will also be responsible for Smeg UK's ongoing relationship with the CIH/Euronics buying group.

Urban Interior (London) expands its design team

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Nestled in the trendy E1 district of London, kitchen design specialist Urban Interior has added to its expert design team, with the employment of Luisa Agliatta, as senior designer.


British Ceramic Tile launches an exclusive Retailer Club at kbb Birmingham

Leading UK tile manufacturer, British Ceramic Tile, is set to launch its new reward and loyalty scheme to selected premium retailers as a thank you for their continued business support over the last few years.


LDL introduces new consumer guide to kitchen storage

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Leading distributor LDL Components has compiled a brand new consumer brochure entitled 'Workflow, Space & Motion' to bring together the very latest kitchen storage systems and accessories. The attractively presented lifestyle brochure includes key products from Swiss partner Peka, renowned component manufacturer Blum and other innovative manufacturers.

Caple's updated appliance brochure is available now

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Caple's new 300-page colour catalogue is the biggest ever and features the brand's three comprehensive collections, the high-performance Classic, Sense and high-end Sense Premium, with colour-coded, easy-to-find sections - cooking, cooling and washing - all enhanced by beautiful lifestyle photography.

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