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KBB review: Franke - an abundance of everything...

* Franke - Jeanette 2.jpg'Heaving' is a word I'd normally use to describe a busy pub or club, or perhaps the pitch at Wembley stadium during a rock concert, rather than an exhibition stand, but 'heaving' is the first word that came to mind when I started to write this piece about Franke's stand at KBB Birmingham.

And it wasn't just at odd times, but every time we went past, so we felt privileged that Marketing Manager Jeanette Ward (pictured) took time out to show us around the stand.

There was a lot to see, as the company had launched six new sink ranges, seven new tap models, two new hoods, plus a new Fragranite sink colour developed in line with international colour trends - all of which were on display. Stand visitors were also able to learn about Franke's 'More in Store' retailer initiative... rich with promotional and business benefits, reaffirming the company's support for its specialist showroom retailers.

'More in Store' is a retailer-focused campaign offering all participating showrooms an extensive support package designed to generate sales and enhance margins, which, since it was officially launched on January 1st, has already proved successful with a large number of showrooms. The initiative focuses on improving consumer awareness of the massive benefits they get in terms of design advice, product knowledge and customer service when buying from a specialist showroom.

Exclusive promotional activities are planned throughout the year designed to increase awareness and encourage footfall into More in Store showrooms, including consumer competitions, promotional offers and events. Retailers also benefit from a dedicated 'More in Store' micro-site providing access to the full library of digital product images and logos for showroom use, as well as notifications of exclusive display offers, promotions, free POS, training opportunities, business advice and the new 'Expert Series' events.

John and I were impressed with the new product additions to Franke's premium Specialist Range, developed on the back of international trend research by its in-house design centre in Switzerland. As the kitchen sink area becomes more of a multi-tasking workcentre and wet zone for washing up and food preparation, Franke's new Largo Workcentre stainless steel low profile sink is designed to make everyday tasks simpler and more pleasurable. The single bowl model features two integrated and functional bins. The front 'sponge box' holds cleaning materials and kitchen utensils to keep the sink area tidy, while the larger 5.5 litre bin is for peelings and waste from food preparation.

The Largo Workcentre and the Hydros feature Franke's new and unique push-button pop-up waste which pushes up the strainer basket offering a more precise action to allow water to drain away, rather than the usual twist and turn action by hand. It puts paid to fishing around in water by hand to empty the sink water! The new pop-up waste is a perfect example of great new product design that leaves you wondering why it hasn't always been like that.

The Hydros range of stainless steel inset and undermount sinks combines modern, linear styling with a draining board that incorporates a separate recessed overflow. This means that water collected on the drainer is always isolated from the main bowl - more hygienic all round. The basket strainer is also activated by the new push-button pop-up waste. Accessories include a strainer bowl, stainless steel drainer basket and a chopping board with Sanitized anti-bacterial protection. There are single and 1.5 bowl models available as inset and a 1.5 bowl model as an undermount.
The new Aspen single bowl sink, designed in collaboration with Villeroy & Boch, offers ceramic lovers a contemporary low profile style with geometric lines and neat design touches of a corner tap hole and new pop up waste.

Franke's Pro-Value range is also being strengthened, and Galileo is a new, versatile, well priced stainless steel inset design. The new contemporary design Orion Tectonite synthetic inset sink provides entry-level price point access to the Franke brand and quality, and is available in carbon black, polar white and coffee in both single and 1.5 bowl models.

Franke also unveiled a new contemporary Fragranite sink colour following extensive international market research and colour trend analysis. The new design-versatile Oyster colour has been introduced into the Mythos, Pebel inset and Kubus undermount sink ranges.

New tap additions offer a broader range of styles and price points. These include the new artisan-style Augusta 3-hole tap combination in chrome, which meets the trend for modern classic design. The Moritz tap is a variation with traditional white ceramic-effect levers. There are also two new Maris tap styles making it easy for retailers to offer an integrated sink and tap combination with the Maris sink range.

The swan neck, two lever Athena becomes the feature tap in the Pro-Value series, while the elegant Vesta offers a variation on the usual swan neck design with V-shaped body and a directional nozzle. The popular Olympus Spring is now available in the popular Silksteel finish in addition to chrome.
The design integration message also extends to Franke's kitchen hoods collection with the launch of the Sinos hood, to complement the top selling Sinos sink and tap range. The contemporary style hood mirrors the elegant curves and features a raised glass panel in black or white glass and boasts premium extraction levels.

Jeanette explained that in response to retailer feedback, the popular Roller kitchen hood has been updated and features a minimalist design with functional new black glass panels in the centre which were formerly stainless steel. In addition, the Glass Linear, Glass Curved and Decorative hoods have been repositioned to offer retailers a more competitive mid-level offer, without compromising on specification.

T: 0161 436 6280
W: www.franke.co.uk

28th March 2014

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