February 9, 2015

Cabinets in Stone and Concrete Dominate at Living Kitchen 2015

Staging a trade show every other year makes sense on so many levels. Prime among them are the benefits shared by the principal constituencies of the design world: Manufacturers have the opportunity to fully develop new products, incorporating mature technologies instead of hopping on the always-moving gadget bandwagon. Retailers, distributors, and installers have time to field-test what’s on track versus what’s merely trendy. And designers have a chance to consider and finesse how to best utilize the new products in their projects, rather than simply react to them.

From this perspective, the biennial LivingKitchen show was assured to be a success in advance of its week-long, January 19-25 run in Cologne. Approximately 146,000 visitors from 138 countries attended the fair, reviewing the latest innovations by 215 exhibitors.

Cabinet manufacturers dominated the floor. While natural wood was still in evidence in the materials palette, when compared with the 2013 exhibits, it was used less as door or drawer panels and more as an accent, appearing in backsplashes, work surfaces, and shelving. Stone- and concrete-faced cabinets were unquestionably the emerging look, with Nobilia, Leicht, Steininger, Zeyko, Häcker, and Eggersmann all prominently featuring them. In counterpoint to these monolithic units, thin, ribbon-like railings and shelves of brushed steel or aluminum provided both material and scale relief. Countertops were integral, and often given a matte finish.

Created by designers from Formquadrat (with a chef and a master carpenter also consulting on the project), the “Vooking” concept kitchen was a thought-provoking installation. Intended for the vegetarian/flexatarian/vegan household, it comprised seven freestanding elements, housing appliances, storage, and specialized preparation areas, including cultivation and grain-processing units. Perhaps in the two years leading up to the next LivingKitchen show, the ideas inherent in the Vooking kitchen will be refined and realized. This was the case with the Concept kitchen by n-by-Naber, which was exhibited as a prototype at the 2013 expo, and marked its production launch at this year’s show.

Held on alternative years in conjunction with the IMM Cologne fair, the next LivingKitchen show is scheduled for January 18-22, 2017.

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