EuroCucina is the Kitchen and Bath Show that’s included as part of Salone de Mobile (the furniture show) that takes place in Milan, Italy.

It’s a huge fair with the opportunity to see trends, colors, technology and new products.

As anyone who does it knows, connecting with industry colleagues at trade shows is one of the most fun “necessary” activities that your job requires. You get to hang out and “geek out” over what you love about what you do.

So, in the spirit of a good “design geek out”, I asked three colleagues to answer the same questions about their experiences in Milan at Eurocucina. I share mine at the end to wrap it up.

I’ve also asked for several perspectives because this show has over 400,000 attendees and 14 buildings, so no single human can cover all that ground effectively.

Here are the questions and answers they shared, along with related images and videos (yes, videos!):

First up is Gary LeBlanc, Major Kitchen Accounts, Richelieu Hardware.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING/BIGGEST TAKEAWAY:

“The open storage really struck me. I was surprised by how much of it they were showing.”

 

 

And they showed it in open systems with aluminum frames and glass doors. In fact, there was so much of it that I figured it’s a sure bet to show up in the US” shares LeBlanc.

 “But I got a different read when talking to the actual cabinet dealers. They shared that even though companies were featuring it at the show, it wouldn’t necessarily make it to the street (or average kitchen)”. 

Which sums up part of what this show is about - featuring leading edge and highly creative products to get a huge amount of feedback on the idea. That will help determine whether or not they bring it to market. And if they do, what version of it will actually reach consumers.  So it’s much like couture fashion. Show it to get attention and set trends, but filter and edit for mainstream markets.

FROM WHAT YOU SAW, WHAT WILL YOU INCORPORATE INTO YOUR BUSINESS:

“It’s not so much just a specific product, but a trend I’m seeing in the acceptance level of man-made products. Historically, cabinet and kitchen people work with wood. Melamine has been somewhat of an unaccepted option. But as these products have evolved to TSS (Thermostructed Surfaces), which are different than traditional melamine, there’s a wider acceptance and appeal. Because of that, I’ll focus more on the appeal of this product and drive people to purchase it” shares LeBlanc.

 

And I can attest to Gary’s perspective on this. I just attended a KBDN (Kitchen Bath Design News) seminar in Detroit and the trendsetting kitchen designer presenting included in his information that designers should consider man-made products in lieu of wood as a great design option. Melamine is coming out of the closet (I know, it’s TSS).

TSS is different from melamine in that it’s registered and embossed on the surface. Where there’s an appearance of a wood grain, there’s also a groove to match it. So it has a texture to it when you touch it and light reflects from it based upon the grooves.

ANY TECH TRENDS YOU NOTICED THAT YOU THINK WILL IMPACT THE MARKET:

“We saw an amazing cooktop by Franke. It had a scanner that determines what an ingredient is and what to cook with that ingredient. It also shows how to cut the item properly for the recipe and has a video of a chef cooking the recipe. And to top that off, there’s a hotspot to charge your phone and two cool spots for your beverages. Amazing. Now I don’t know that this product will make it to the market, but the tech is totally leading edge” shares LeBlanc.

On a more practical note, LeBlanc shares that “the LED strips that function as grow lights are incredible. You can grow oregano in your kitchen year round with these lights and they’re not big and hot like traditional grow lights are.”

WHAT’S THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU THINK OTHER INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SALONE DE MOBILE?

That there’s a change in color palettes. Brown is the new white.

 

Next up on the “design geek out” train is Scott Dresner, President, Dresner Design, Chicago Illinois.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING/TAKEAWAY:

“The cabinet company I represent, Stosa, showed a much higher-end line with cooler products than ever before. They are so inventive creating solutions for needs in the market. They also developed a line for 20-somethings to compete with IKEA, which is fantastic” says Dresner.

He also mentioned motorized storage for dead corners, which he thinks is very ingenious.

TOP TREND:

“Smoked glass with metal frames for structures” is what Dresner indicates is the top thing he saw and this seems to be a popular consensus.

FROM WHAT YOU SAW, WHAT WILL YOU INCORPORATE INTO YOUR BUSINESS:

Black smoked glass combined with natural wood cabinetry is at the top of Dresner’s list for incorporating into his current business.

ANY TECH TRENDS YOU NOTICED THAT YOU THINK WILL IMPACT THE MARKET:

“Great new lighting inside cabinets where you don’t see light bulbs. LED, LED, LED! And finally, the insides of drawers and cabinets are lit very well. Also, motorized doors.

 

WHAT’S THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU THINK OTHER INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SALONE DE MOBILE?

“That real trends are happening in Europe and what we are doing here in the US is so far behind,” says Dresner.

And here’s the perspective from Australian designer Sally Hart, Clever Closet Company:

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING/BIGGEST TAKEAWAY:

“My favorite thing is some cabinetry I saw in the Fendi space. It had texture and different embossed shapes in a deep grey shade that I loved” says Hart.

 

FROM WHAT YOU SAW, WHAT WILL YOU INCORPORATE INTO YOUR BUSINESS:

“It’s hard to pinpoint any one thing. I’m a designer. My inspiration sort of melds as I take things in and then refer back to photos as projects arise” shares Hart.

ANY TECH TRENDS YOU NOTICED THAT YOU THINK WILL IMPACT THE MARKET:

Hart indicated that the coolest thing she saw is the same as what LeBlanc saw. Here’s a link to a video:

https://youtu.be/FNF6Q7cSN_s

WHAT’S THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU THINK OTHER INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SALONE DE MOBILE?

“That design is interpreted in so many different forms that the trends are irrelevant because the designers select and use of current materials is always fluid. Seeing the variation between designers is interesting.

And my perspective?

The biggest trend I see is black and gold (which, if you’re connected to me on social, you know I’ve go on about). I’m sure some shades and versions of gold will grow on me and I’m sure clients will ask for it. And while I love black in a wardrobe (clothing), I’ve always found it harsh in decor.

 

 

MY FAVORITE

The mix and match trend. It really gives bandwidth to creativity, allowing me to vary and mix simple to complex designs. And it’s what I’ll incorporate into my business because it just opens up so many new doors (punny, right?)

TECH TRENDS

I’m the user of tech, certainly not the creator and reluctantly the implementer. I love what I’m seeing with lighting because it adds both beauty and function, the two most important elements of any design.

 

 

And as I continue to get the opportunity to reflect on this experience, I could sappily (and happily) say it changed my life. Because it did, and that’s a pretty tall order for an industry trade show.

It also provided direction for strategy and implementation. And that’s probably what I’d most tell other industry professionals. Get out of your shop, get away from your computer and take in what’s happening on a global level in your industry. I guarantee it will allow you to work better.

 

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