KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for January, 2012

Jan 24 2012

Posted by

Six Trends Spotted at Dallas International Lighting Market

(Editor’s note: While I’m trying to wrap up January/February, DRS and Associates has offered to blog about new trends spotted at the Dallas International Lighting Market. Thanks!)

If you had any question about where lighting is headed this year, then the 2012 Dallas International Lighting Market (which just wrapped Jan. 19-23) at Dallas Market Center (and home to the American Lighting Association) is a perfect place to start. With over five million sq. ft. of exhibition space and approximately 3,000 buyers visiting from all over the globe (Spanish and French were frequently overheard this weekend), the event is touted as “the International Home of Lighting“ for good reason. We surveyed the scene and pulled together a quick list of the season’s brightest lighting trends.

1. Non-Traditional Materials
Rope, cable and other “found” objects such as vintage glass telephone insulators and jars were perhaps one of the biggest surprises of Dallas Market. Even the most daring of lighting manufacturers this year took a no-holds-barred approach to rethinking what exists, blurring the line between what is chic and what is familiar.

Pike Place by Troy Lighting

Pike Place by Troy Lighting

2. Aged Brass
Keeping in line with the weathered looks and “found” object theme, aged brass has made a comeback in the bath (contrary to earlier declarations that it ‘was dead’ a few years ago). This year, lighting manufacturers added more of the vintage finish to their collections for sconces and pendants that range from contemporary to completely timeless.

Alpine by Hudson Valley Lighting

Alpine by Hudson Valley Lighting

3. Americana Style
No matter what year it is, the casual Americana style has not gone out of fashion in kitchen and bath lighting. While some buyers may go for the “wow” factor, nothing says “comfort” like hand-worked wrought iron, linen, bronze finishes and gentle, curving shapes.

Cymbal by Troy Lighting Outdoor

Cymbal by Troy Lighting Outdoor

4. Mirrored Plating
Who said that light must merely illuminate a space? Mirrors incorporated into back plates, shiny chrome stems and reflective detailing give added dimension in and out of the kitchen and bath space. These dazzling fixtures sparked real surprise at Dallas Market.

Hudson Valley Lighting’s Ashley

Hudson Valley Lighting’s Ashley

5. Oversized
Just in time for making bigger spaces seem cozier or making smaller spaces intimate, super-sized fixtures were the rage at Dallas Market. Oversized fixtures—from globes, which feature bubbled and smooth textures, to classic forms and even elaborate ornamental forms—were literally “taking over” several showroom spaces.

Keene from Hudson Valley Lighting

Keene from Hudson Valley Lighting

6. Crystal Clear
Embellishments continue to rule in fashion, design and in our surroundings. While classic beads and prisms continue to adorn fixtures—clean modern shapes like circles, squares and obelisks were seen as bases, bringing added crystal clear umpf to lighting in 2012.

Amadeus from Corbett Lighting

Amadeus from Corbett Lighting

DRS and Associates is a full-service branding, advertising and public relations agency in Los Angeles. Headed by CEO and founder David Schlocker, the firm has over 25 years of experience in marketing, design, and merchandising to luxury consumers, architects and designers, specific to the kitchen and bath and architectural products industries. For more information on DRS and Associates, please log on to www.drsandassociates.com.

Jan 13 2012

Posted by

LG’s Blast Chiller is even cooler

On Wednesday, I blogged about the appliances LG is showing at CES, one of which is an award-winning refrigerator that can chill a can of soda in five minutes.

Thanks to my friend Ray, who sent me a link to a PopSci.com piece on the same refrigerator, it seems the Blast Chiller feature is even cooler than I first thought. What is it they say about a picture being worth a thousand words? Well, in this case, video is much more dramatic and explicit:

via PopSci.com

Of course, being at CES would be even cooler.

Check out the PopSci article for an explanation of how the feature works.

Jan 11 2012

Posted by
Comments off


No, I’m not at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), but like many of you, I desperately wish I were. Long the mecca for those ever in search of the latest high-tech gadgetry and glimpses of a brighter, cooler, more automated future, CES has also increasingly become the venue for appliance manufacturers to debut their newest wares.

Take LG, which just received a CES Innovation Award for its largest-capacity French door refrigerator—31 cu. ft.—to date, which can accommodate some 50 gallons of milk.

The accolade, however, was not for how much milk it can store and keep fresh, but for its Blast Chiller feature, which is aimed at those who like their drinks cold and fast. Pop a 12-oz. can of soda into the dedicated compartment and five minutes later, it’s ready for consumption. Have company? Two cans of soda or a bottle of wine can chill in eight minutes.

Other features include a Smart Cooling Plus system, which uses a patented Linear Compressor and Dual Evaporator, as well as sensors, to ensure optimal humidity and temperature for keeping food fresh; a Multi-Air Flow system that surrounds food with cool air; an air filter; a slim in-the-door ice maker; a four-part crisper system; 13-in.-tall ice and water dispenser; and Smart Diagnosis technology, which allows customer service representatives to diagnose and troubleshoot mechanical issues over the phone.

LG is also showing a suite of smart appliances that incorporate the company’s proprietary Smart ThinQ technology, which allows users to better monitor, say, the contents of their refrigerator or the status of a load of laundry from a smartphone or Smart TV.

Made a New Year’s resolution to waste less food and/or eat healthier? The refrigerator can help you with that, thanks to the Smart Manager, which keeps track of stored items, their expiration date and location and can recommend dishes based on what’s available.

Contents are recorded through a variety of ways: Users can select icons from the refrigerator’s LCD control panel, say the names of items—the unit is equipped with voice recognition technology—or scan receipts or barcodes with a smartphone. The system can also generate shopping lists and send them to your phone and, if you’re too busy (or lazy) to go to the store, allows for online shopping (I’m not sure how that works, though).



As to keeping you healthy, Smart Manager includes a Health Manager feature, which can suggest recipes and menus based on your age, gender, weight, height and Body Mass Index (BMI). Once you’ve settled on a recommended recipe, there’s a button you can press that will send the recipe to your LG Smart Oven, which automatically preps it to the correct setting.

Needless to say, you can monitor and set the temperature and cooking time in your oven via your smartphone. The Smart Oven also comes with an Infrared Grill, which cooks food evenly and efficiently.

Interestingly, another CES Innovator Award winner is Wolf’s E Series Built-In Wall Oven line, which isn’t new but apparently has been made smarter with connectivity. I’m not sure what that’s about, so I’ll see if I can find out more today.

Wow, writing about all this makes me feel as if I’m actually at the show. Not.

Feel free to contact me about any new appliance innovations launching at the show.

—Alice Liao

Jan 06 2012

Posted by

Just in: Thermador to debut full-surface induction cooktop

Remember this hot product from Germany last year?


It was shown at the inaugural LivingKitchen in Cologne. Maybe this video will refresh your memory:

Gaggenau’s booth at the show was mobbed with people trying to get a good look at the CX480 full-surface induction cooktop, which—you have to admit—is pretty cool. In fact, after I wrote about it in an Editor’s Note, I received inquiries about its availability in the U.S.

Well, Gaggenau’s sister brand Thermador has just announced that it will be demonstrating the Thermador Freedom Induction Cooktop on January 8 at the official press event for this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Freedom Induction Side View

Similar to the Gaggenau product, the Freedom Induction Cooktop incorporates a natural-mapping user interface and several—48 to be exact—3-in. induction heating elements that together allow users to not only place their pots and pans anywhere on the cooking surface but also move them around while cooking.

Freedom Induction Natural Mapping (low)

Cookware shape and size are reflected in a 6 1/2-in. touchscreen display, which also controls power setting and cooking time.

Freedom Induction User Interface

The cooktop can accommodate up to a 21-in. x 13-in. pan and has a 4,600W maximum power output with Boost feature and a 15W minimum power output.

So when will it be available? According to the company, you’ll have to wait until July 2012. MSRP is $4,949.

—Alice Liao