KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Jul 03 2012

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Where I’ve been and what I’ve seen: appliances, trends and lighting

No, this isn’t about me or my oh-so glamorous life as an editor. Rather, I wanted to share with you a quick recap of some of the new (newish) products and trends I’ve seen and learned about in the past few weeks. In no particular order:

On the cold front. Samsung held a media event for its 2012 home appliances, which featured a panel discussion about how the company’s newest introductions are designed to help moms work more efficiently in the home. The discussion was moderated by Patricia Heaton, of Everybody Loves Raymond fame, who was entertaining, as were the other panelists. However, I had one small gripe with the conversation: While it mentioned encouraging children to pitch in when possible, it was silent about enlisting the help of fathers.

But no matter. Perhaps more important than what was unsaid were the appliances on display, some of which were familiar and some, less so. The latter included a new vacuum cleaner, a fridge with an expanded app offering, as well as a 32-cu.-ft. French door refrigerator that, according to the company, is the largest in its class. Able to accommodate up to 32 bags of groceries, it also incorporates an ice maker capable of spitting out 12 pounds of ice a day, which is a nice feature to have when you’re the midst of a heat wave like the one we’re having here in New York City.

Of particular interest to me was its stainless-steel touch control panel—an all-metal display with black text indicating where and what to touch (below). When a function is selected, illuminated numbers “magically” appear. It’s a cleaner design for those who prefer their refrigerator doors without all the fanfare of a glowing LCD screen. Seeing it also reminded me of a similar control panel design by Wolf that impressed designer Susan Serra at KBIS (but I unfortunately missed).

European design trends. In conducting interviews for my report on EuroCucina, Giulio Petrilli, VP of project sales for Snaidero USA, said that for a look at kitchen trends to come, one only had to visit the furniture section of the Milan Furniture Fair, which I did not have time to do. So when the IFDA announced a presentation by Patty Bouley on furniture trends from the show, I decided to go and learn something. While some of the trends covered may never step foot in a kitchen or bath, the talk and the wealth of images shown were still enlightening and inspiring. Here’s a list of trend words and notes I jotted down:

• bold color (think greener yellows)
• pastels (taupe was called out), neutrals (that was evident all over EuroCucina)
• turquoise is still strong, along with hints of mauve
coziness (a move away from hard-edged graphic look toward roundness)
• vintage-inspired details (I saw a little of that in some of the new kitchens, such as Scavolini’s Diesel Social Kitchen and Minacciolo’s Mina—both shown below)
• in terms of forms, think softer, draping, dripping, over-scale and puffy

Also receiving a mention were 3D printing, plastic, concrete furniture, community (as in communal tables), Chinese design, which is trying to shed its negative image, and Nendo.

Turning the light on and off. With incandescents being phased out, LEDs are emerging brighter than ever as the replacement lamp of the present and very near future. To this end, 3M (yes, that 3M) is making its debut in the lighting world with a new LED-based A19 replacement lamp that incorporates materials and technology originally developed by the company for use in other industries. Because heat dissipation and cooling—key to the lifespan of an LED—are done internally, the 3M LED Advanced Light’s design is much more visually appealing than some products currently on the market that include external features for cooling and can be eyesores when used in bare- or exposed-bulb applications.

In addition, the lamp turns on with no delay, is dimmable and has a base similar in appearance to that of an incandescent A19, allowing light to radiate outward in all directions for more even distribution. Available in a 60W equivalent, it will be offered in cool and soft white light. Look for the lamp on November 4, when Daylight Savings ends.

Want to learn more about LEDs? Check out “LEDs: the Good, the Bad, the Illuminating.”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 at 6:02 AM and is filed under Products, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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