Universal Design Defined KBIS 2013

By Bill Esler | Posted: 06/03/2013 2:25PM


Cabinetry, hardware and component engineering that feed the growing ‘Universal Design’ movement were the dominant trends at KBIS 2013 in New Orleans in May – along with mixed and contrasting colors, reclaimed wood and updated classic and rustic designs. Glass also figured big in many of the cabinet designs, often backlit by LED lights.

The Universal Design approach mixes in features of accessibility for all ages and capabilities, and fixtures that allow consumers to comfortably age in place, in home interior appointments. On the show floor, this resulted in hardware and component solutions like pivoting pull-out shelves instead of lazy suzans, slide-open and tambour doors that don’t impede access or obstruct walkways, and servo-motorized door and drawer hardware that put hard-to-access corners within easy reach, especially for aging boomers who are getting less limber.

While cabinetry makers are adopting modern hardware, exterior cabinet designs are evolving more gradually from traditional styles. A trend to slate gray, and juxtaposing contrasting light and dark color cabinetry continues. Consumers do seem to be embracing reclaimed wood. But the spare aesthetics of modern European design were more evident in bath and plumbing fixtures than in cabinetry seen around the show.


About the Author

Bill Esler, Woodworking Network, WMS

Bill Esler

Bill Esler, Editorial Director, Woodworking Network Bill is responsible for overall content at WoodworkingNetwork.com Woodworking Network magazine, and related newsletters. Bill also manages event programs for Woodworking Network Live conferences at the Woodworking Machinery & Supplies Expo in Toronto and Cabinets & Closets Expo. He developing audience engagement programs using custom digital printing, live lead-generating events, custom websites, and custom digital and print content. Read Bill Esler's woodworking blogs. He can be reached at besler@woodworkingnetwork.com or follow him on Google+.

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