Key component trends at Interzum 2013, the May hardware, lumber, panel show in Cologne, Germany, included an explosion in hardware for sliding doors, panels and countertops; servo-motor assists to raise and lower cabinet doors, work surfaces, and even entire kitchen islands. Frequently seen: split-level countertops that slide close to hide flat-surfaced cooktops and sink enclosures.

LED lighting was even more plentiful then the last Interzum in 2011, then used as ambient, task and accent lighting and now as decorative lighting, with coloration incorporated in otherwise neutral shelving arrangements. Closet designers, take note: suddenly those plain, white closet installations can glow with purposeful LED lights that change colors under program control.

Laminates continue to improve with high-definition photorealistic reproduction enhanced with carefully controlled embossing to simulate the look and feel of real wood veneer. Spalt, a unit of a German furniture maker, Wekstäten used a panel base such as MDF or plywood, and an embossing press to create a deeply textured, sculpted surface effect. Newly introduced this year was Rocks, which uses a laminate-like melamine over a wood panel, Brickwood, in which the pattern is staggered wood blocks of uneven surface levels, and block wood, in which the veneers are made of old timber beams.

 See winners in the interzum Red Dot design awards for hardware, panel, and other categories.

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