Redefining trade fairs with focus on products

Scenes from Pordenone and inside SICAM.

I know I gush about Expo SICAM every year, but this time, I have two new converts to back up my enthusiasm: Betsy Natz, CEO of the KCMA, and Eric Marshall, closet industry thought-leader and influencer. Both made the trip to Pordenone, an hour north of Venice, Italy, this year. And both say they found the format, energy and hospitality of the event refreshing, inspiring and unique.  

KCMA CEO Betsy Natz chats with Boris Niessing, MD of innovative lighting supplier Elektra.

“It’s easy to understand why this is such an important event for cutting-edge kitchen design and why what’s shown here drives what we’ll be seeing at EuroCucina in Milan next spring,” says Natz.

Egger’s Casella Oak represents a movement toward more elegant natural woodgrain designs in TFL, scaling back on high-character features like knots and cracks. The company has also introduced end-grain plank edgebanding for even more realism.

“What you notice right away is the drop ceiling,” adds Marshall. “It makes you feel more at home instead inside a huge football stadium. The lighting is great, everything’s white, the carpet is light grey instead of black, there’s no black pipe-and-drape ugliness, and you don’t have huge signs and logos taking up so much visual space. The focus is completely on the product.”

Egger’s Casella Oak represents a movement toward more elegant natural woodgrain designs in TFL, scaling back on high-character features like knots and cracks. The company has also introduced end-grain plank edgebanding for even more realism.

If you’ve met Eric you know how enthusiastic he is about innovative products and designs for closets. To save space, I’ll just share a dance-mix of his greatest hits: 

  1. Lots of really cool hardware finishes, including gold pull-down rods; 
  2. Aluminum extrusions and drawer components, some with veneers or wood-look laminates wrapped around tight radii; 
  3. Lots of glass, particularly from Grass; 
  4. Thoughtful use of lighting that’s directed inward, not at your face;
  5. Closet shelves with underlighting from Elektra that derive their power from one side of the casework, allowing easy repositioning and instant illumination; 
  6. Self-leveling shelf pins from Titus; and much, much more. 
Décor printer Schattdecor curates high-definition designs for laminates based on observations by the global design teams. That rattan? Purely visual.

“This is a great fair for making all the connections you need,” says Marshall. “The booths are small enough that it’s easy to connect with marketing managers and even GMs and walk away having made a deal. And I have to say, the show’s organizers were always around, out on the floor, chatting and giving the whole thing a very personal touch.”

Large-format stones are trending. The bench is TFL, from Saviola.

The photo tour in this article represents a fraction of the products at SICAM, emphasizing companies and materials available in North America.

From kitchen organizer company Hailo, a self-contained year-round microgreens garden, just a drawer-pull away. From the department of “What’ll They Think of Next?”

Intrigued? Learn more about SICAM at www.exposicam.it.

The next edition of the furniture materials and components fair takes place in Pordenone, Italy, October 15-18, 2024.

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Kenn Busch

Material Intelligence organizes educational material exhibits like the Materials Pavilion at NeoCon, creates and presents certified educational content on materials and sustainability for architects and interior designers, and collaborates with design educators and students to nurture new thinking about materials and materiality. Founder Kenn Busch also covers the major materials and design fairs in Europe for the A&D and manufacturing communities, and presents at industry conferences like the Closets Conference and Expo and the Executive Briefing Conference. www.MaterialIntelligence.com  www.ClimatePositiveNow.org