KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
11th March 2016
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The kitchen is often the heart of the home... a busy hub of people gathering to eat, drink and socialise.
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…
This Week's News
You 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?
Not 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.
The 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.
We 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...
Tapping 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.
Sensio 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.
The 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...
In 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).
We'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'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.
Changing 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.
The 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.
Visiting 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.
We 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.
John 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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