There were some strong visual trends in evidence at the 2013 IMM/LivingKitchen show in Cologne, Germany last week, and a few technological ones, too, which I’ll write about next week.
Less is Still More
The European “un-kitchen” and “hidden kitchen” trends showed up in quiet force. Appliances hid behind cabinet doors, sinks hid below cutting and drain board covers and faucets slid down onto their sinks. Hoods looked less like ventilation devices and more like modern art.
Two-tone faucets were also a strong trend at the show. What I really loved seeing were faucets clad in the same composite material as the sinks on which they were mounted. Typically, they were dark browns, grays and blacks with stainless or chrome. It makes for a sharp look and a lower-maintenance installation for the homeowner.
Slick and low-maintenance faucets and matching sinks
(Photo Courtesy: BLANCO)
In one of the most dominant style trends at IMM/LivingKitchen, many of the appliances at the show sported colored glass fronts. I saw numerous iPhone-inspired blacks and whites, but also taupe, brown and gray. These offered a nice alternative to the stainless we’ve seen everywhere the past decade. Touch screens were the dominant trend, though some manufacturers favored sleek knobs.
Glass-front appliances, especially in browns and grays, showed up everywhere!
Grey and brown dominated the show, and were often paired together in strong, neutral kitchen palettes. They showed up in glass appliance fronts, lacquered, laminate, rustic wood and ceramic-front cabinets, flooring and ceramic slab counters.
For those wanting a lighter, more feminine look, I also saw an ocean of soft, mid-tone blues – typically in glossy cabinet fronts, and often paired with cream elements. The style was modern Euro country, something I can see working well on this side of the Atlantic, too.
There were lots of organic curves in evidence around the exhibit halls. They showed up on cabinets, faucets and sink shapes, and offered a welcome respite from the hard edges you see at so many European style centers.
Organic curves on faucets, sinks, hoods, and even cabinets were a sexy trend at the show
I saw sleek gloss finishes everywhere last week. They showed up on cabinet and appliance fronts, as noted above. I saw more lacquer finishes than laminates this year, contributing to the gloss trend, but the laminates continue to impress with unique patterns and textures.
Glossy finishes showed up everywhere
Most of the countertops on display were thin tops, many of them floating. I was glad to see the increased presence of ceramic and porcelain slab counters, which are both pretty and practical. I expect we’ll be getting more of them here, too, especially as Cosentino, the maker of Silestone, is building a new factory to manufacture them. Since Silestone is in just about every Home Depot around the country, with a strong fabricator base, I expect we’ll eventually see these porcelain and ceramic tops there, too.
Whimsy to Spare
The show floor offered some fun breaks from the browns and grays with pops of color and pattern.
One manufacturer offered a Burberry-style plaid front cabinet. Another showed an animal print fireplace surround in a modular kitchen. A third put its plaid on the countertop. Another showcased hot pink cabinets. (Barbie’s next dream house can have a German kitchen.)
Whimsical colors and patterns broke up all the grays and browns
My two-day tour of the show floor at IMM/LivingKitchen showed that it’s going to be a great year (or three!) for kitchens. Much of what I saw there won’t hit US shores until 2014 or beyond, but the trends do indicate what we’ll be seeing, designing and thinking about. I’m excited! These were the top European kitchen style trends I spotted on the show floor… coming next to a North American kitchen near you.
Next week, I’ll share Technology Trends.
FYI: I attended IMM/LivingKitchen as a guest of German sink and faucet manufacturer, BLANCO. I’m a member of the Blanco Design Council, as I’ve shared in past posts about the company. They do not pay us to write about their products, which is important for readers to understand. I was invited onto the Council because I’ve written about their products and recommended them to my client. They sometimes ask us for our view of the market and opinion on upcoming products, and they pay our travel expenses on trips like these where they exhibit their latest products.
The link on the Blanco Design Council will take you to other blogs featuring excellent show coverage and more photos.
All photos, except top BLANCO faucet image, taken by Jamie Gold on iPhone 4S. (You didn’t think a pro took those, did you?)