K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Showrooms

Mar 20 2017

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Inside Magic


After attending the Architectural Digest Show this past week, I was invited to visit the brand new Häfele showroom in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. The showroom itself is a step up from their previous location near Central Park. Although the neighborhood is more out of the way, the expansive windows and the ability to be on one floor won the company over.

The hardware and lighting technology Häfele is known for is showcased around the showroom in two working kitchens, office spaces and in different kinds of sliding doors. One standout addition catching everyone’s eye is a series of remote-controlled sliding walls.

These four walls have product on both sides, so to save space the walls were put on tracks. This way they can open on demand, revealing a hallway in the middle for people to walk through. The three other walls, meanwhile, remain closed until needed. This saves space and introduces potential consumers to the high-tech nature of some of the company’s products.


Another major theme of the showroom is lighting. As Scott Kaminski, marketing and PR manager of Häfele introduced it, light can be considered a furniture piece. A placard in the showroom suggested the interaction of light in a room has an influence on well-being. Bright, cold light enhances alertness, while softer light sources enhance relaxation. LED technology within furniture brings in a whole other dimension to a design.


As designers, you know integrated lighting is essential for today’s kitchen and bath, but have clients recognized this? Unless the cabinet manufacturer explicitly includes special hardware – like swing-outs – do clients know they can make the interiors of their cabinets much more functional? One concern another designer brought up was that there is disconnect between hardware and cabinet manufacturers. Clients might assume their cabinetry comes with special interior hardware, but that is often not the case. In addition, designers have to educate themselves on how to bring the two together in a design.

What do you think? Have you been challenged by any disconnect between interior hardware and cabinetry? What are your favorite types of interior hardware to use? Let us know on our Facebook page, our Twitter @kbbconnect or on Instagram @KBB_magazine.

Feb 27 2017

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On the Wild Side

Verona, Italy, is best known for being the hometown of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Now it is also the hometown for stone surface manufacturer Antolini, which just unveiled its showroom and headquarters in the medieval city. KBB spoke with Milan-based designer Alessandro La Spada to find out what made the Antolini Haute Nature Lifestyle showroom so unique in an already distinctive city.

The Layout: The 12 rooms that make up the showroom are underground, beneath the sample factory. This was to give visitors an unexpected “wow” factor when they descend the stairs.


The Theme: Each room pays tribute to Mother Nature. According to La Spada, an animal theme was chosen to show that just like in fashion, there are reoccurring patterns throughout nature. No real – or faux – animals were used in the actual showroom.

The Rooms

Entrance (Panther Room): Visitors enter the showroom via the staircase, made with the Dalmata Allight Collection. The second stone backsplash is Nero Assoluto Memorial in hydro finish. This is the first design visitors see, and it is a contrasting setting where lighting and white tones are right alongside shadows and solid black.




Corridor (Tiger Room): All rooms connect to the corridor, made with Alhambra Brown. The lighter earth tones and smooth stripes in the natural pattern recall that of a tiger.


Bar Area (Lion Room): Bianco Lasa Covelano Vena Oro in a polished leather finish matches the pelt of the white lion.


Sitting Area (Peacock Room): Adjacent to the bar area is a seating area made with the same stones as the bar, but it also features a colorful blue wall. The bench, mounted on the wall, is entirely made of Bianco Lasa/Covelano Vena Oro.


Kitchen (Turtle Room): The central island is made with Black Cosmic in a leather finish, Naica Quartz in a polished finish and Black Cosmic in a polished finish on the different sides. These contrasting colors evoke the different colors on a turtle’s shell.


Dining Room (Leopard Room): A stone that has been used to decorate royal settings for hundreds of years is the centerpiece of the room. The rich pattern of Brêche de Vendôme makes the setting appear like a contemporary palace – ideal for the royal figure of a leopard.


Bathroom: (Falcon Room): With both the floor and the walls in Bianco Lasa/ Covelano Vena Oro, the natural patterns flow into each other in colors similar to a falcon’s.


Spa Area (Hyena Room): The indirect lighting brings new life to the contrasting colors, flowing lines and lively shapes of the stone – echoing the fur of the hyena.


“The design of the spa area was my favorite,” said La Spada. “Alberto Antolini gave me unrestricted freedom to express my creativity. The awe-inspiring setting is the perfect final chapter in the Haute Nature Lifestyle showroom.”

Jun 16 2016

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Becoming a Household Name

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We all are guilty of taking a manufacturer’s name and applying it to everything remotely similar. I’m thinking of Kleenex, Lysol, Chapstick or Sharpie – all items we use daily and don’t really think about how they started.

Last week, one of those household names turned 60 years old. I met with the company at the newly opened Ferguson Kitchen and Bath showroom in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood to find out how they got to be known as Jacuzzi.

It started as many American companies do: with immigrants. The Jacuzzi family came to the U.S. from Italy in the early 1900s. The Jacuzzi brothers started a life here in the fields of aviation and agriculture, inventing things like a water pump to help irrigate crops.

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In the 1950s, one of the brother’s children came down with premature rheumatoid arthritis. His mother would drive him all the way to hydrotherapy a few times week, and noticed that the child’s pain lessened significantly after each treatment. So the family designed a pump, the J-300, that could be submerged in a bathtub for personal use. The family started manufacturing it, and it later became popularized as the prize in a game show.

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Of course, we all know that evolved into jet whirlpool baths and hot tubs, and now into the freestanding baths we know today. The company is working on promoting more than just whirlpool tubs, but they are proud to be known as the original whirlpool tub.

And by the way – did you know we turned 60 too just last year? I ran across an old archived page from a 1950s version of Kitchen Business (our original name) on my recent trip to the Wilsonart factory – it’s crazy how much design can go in and out of style, but I don’t foresee aqua cabinetry coming back in anytime soon!

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May 18 2016

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Design Collective Unveils Signature Pantone Color

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A SoHo urban loft space designed by interior designer Jennifer Wagner Schmidt, in collaboration with six ELEVATE Design Collective brand designers, showcased custom products from Delta Faucet Co., Formica Corp., Hunter Fan, JELD-WEN, KitchenAid and Schlage – each showcasing the new signature ELEVATE Pantone color: Single Malt (below).

Aiming for a modern, stylish color, the brands’ lead designers worked collaboratively to create a rich yet sophisticated neutral hue. Blurring the line between natural and man-made, Single Malt is warm and rustic, evoking the essence of whiskey, cigars, leather and coffee.

Within a record amount of time during New York Design Week, one apartment walk-up was redesigned to incorporate statement pieces with the Pantone-created color, Single Malt (below). Color accents were applied to a unique selection of products from ceiling fans to kitchen appliances outfitting the ELEVATE urban loft space.

Single Malt

The ELEVATE Design Collective is a first-of-its-kind alliance of six industry-leading brands that have come together to bring home accents to the forefront to help inspire and guide home remodeling and renovations. The six brand designers met at Pantone headquarters to explore common ground and formulate a custom color for their product collections unveiled during New York’s Design Week.

Loft Designers’ Inspirations
Jennifer Wagner Schmidt, owner of JWS Interiors, designed the ELEVATE loft and worked the opposite way in which she is familiar by incorporating the colors and materials first and design aesthetic second. This would be a challenge for any designer, but she drew inspiration from Scandinavian designs with clean whites, sharp blacks and a mix of modern and organic lines, textures and materials.

“My vision for the loft was to use the accent pieces as the starting point and really allow that to drive the color story while keeping the overall aesthetic chic, timeless and luxurious,” she added.

Schmidt collaborated with interior designers Mary Jo Peterson of Mary Jo Peterson Inc., who ensured the overall aesthetic translated into a supremely functional kitchen. Peterson said one challenge as the project manager was that the quick turnaround required her to be very hands on and dedicate more than the average hours normally required.

Scott Dannenfelser, senior design manager with Formica, discussed how his inspiration came from his walks in the New York city streets gathering color schemes from retail store window displays, coffee houses, rustic buildings, cobblestone streets and neighborhood pubs.

“Currently our world has a lot of chaos in it,” he explained, “ so we wanted to offset this with the warmth and comfort of a reassuring natural shade.”

A Look Inside the Loft
The open-concept kitchen featured a dramatic focal point with striking countertops made of large-scale 180fx by Formica Group laminate in a custom Bourbon Trail marble design. KitchenAid appliances, including the 36-in. Multi-Door Freestanding Refrigerator; Single Wall Oven with Even-Heat True Convection; and 44 dBA dishwasher – all in black stainless – further emphasize the clean lines of Scandinavian design. The designers chose Maxton and Cornell Maple cabinets from KraftMaid; Italian Alps ceramic wall tile from Daltile; and the Delta Trinsic Pro faucet in the Venetian Steel finish (below).

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The designers agreed it was originally challenging to determine how to tie in the color throughout the apartment, but ultimately the warmth and versatility of the tone balanced with the cool “Scandi” feel. These “Scandi” statements were found everywhere from the steel cages of the beautifully crafted Ronan ceiling fans to the Schlage door hardware – the Northbrook Lever with colored trim accenting the sides of the hardware in upland rose and matte black.

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The recently launched JELD-WEN MODA Door Collection of contemporary wood doors with simple minimalistic design offered the accent color ever so subtly on the sides of the barn pantry doors. In the bathroom, Schlage’s decorative Northbrook Lever once again accented the doors, and the Delta Ara Collection introduced a contemporary bathroom design with angular silhouettes found in the faucet and showerheads.

To learn more about the ELEVATE Design Collective, the urban loft and the participating brands, visit ELEVATE Design Collective: http://www.elevatedesigncollective.com/index.html.

– By Helene Taylor, KBB contributing writer