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Innovations in the KBB industry: what’s the latest?


From creative customisation to sustainable solutions, we preview some of the groundbreaking product launches and exciting developments in our sector, ahead of the much-anticipated return of kbb Birmingham.

It’s a great time to be a part of the KBB industry, and the sector is abuzz with exciting developments and innovative product launches. After a pivotal few years, manufacturers are pushing boundaries more than ever before in order to meet changing and diverse consumer demands. In both kitchens and bathrooms, expectations have never been higher – with sustainable design, customisation capabilities and cutting-edge technologies being a high priority across the board.

"We are part of an inspiring and thriving industry that drives innovation,” says Sam Fisher, Event Director of kbb Birmingham. “Our sector has witnessed remarkable advancements in recent years, with brands creating fantastic products that cater to changing consumer living and spending habits. I am eagerly looking forward to the kbb Innovation Awards this year, where we will celebrate and recognise the incredible contributions and innovations that propel our industry forward."

Here, we take a look into just a few of the forward-thinking innovations coming out of the KBB industry, that you can expect to see plenty more of over the next few months…


Enhanced customisation

Being able to offer consumers a bespoke kitchen design has always been important, but the demand to have more customisable options has been dramatically increasing and goes beyond a choice of cabinet colour. NEFF’s new FlexDesign oven trims, for example, offer a level of customisation not seen elsewhere on appliances and will allow designers to offer their customers truly tailored finishes.

Modern improvements

With cottagecore and country-chic kitchens back in style, the traditional appliances that are associated with this look have needed to up their game. Heritage brand AGA has revolutionised its iconic range cooker with the ERA – a centrepiece design that blends modern touch screen controls with classic features like its cast-iron hotplate. Other brands are also following suit, such as Stoves’ with FreedomFLEX and Bertazzoni’s new line of induction ranges.

On the topic of induction, innovative systems are becoming more accessible, too. RAK Ceramics CookingRak seamlessly integrates induction hobs into ceramic worktops for an ultra modern look. Similarly, Küppersbusch's K-Series.8 Varioline modular system allows the option to mix and match the layout of cooking zones, offering maximum flexibility and adaptability for kitchen design. 

Finessed finishes

When it comes to kitchen brassware, chrome has been cast aside in favour of a whole host of different finishes in recent times. Brass, rose-gold, and even matt-black have all been popular choices, but now these tones have been fine tuned to fit in with the trending ‘quiet luxury’ look this year. Abode recently announced the launch of new colours of its Althia tap – including terracotta, nude, scandi grey, and matt white – and Franke has wowed with a new Oyster finish for its sinks. 


Spa-style surfaces

While the luxury look of marble in a bathroom will be enduring, we’re excited to see developments in modern surfaces. Offering an elevated, tactile finish, Laminam's Ossido series mimics the appearance of oxidised metal, creating a stunning visual focal point unseen modern homes before. To add to this, many tile brands – including CTD Tiles, Stone & Ceramic Warehouse, Ca’ Pietra (to name but a few) – are embracing the trend of 3D tiles. These textured designs add another tactile element that enhances the overall sensory experience of the bathroom, going hand-in-hand with the consumer desire to spend more time relaxing in the bathroom.

Colourful sanitaryware

Even though sanitaryware in bold finishes has often been a stand-out feature at shows gone by, it’s only really now that colourful designs are picking up in popularity for the end consumer. Roca, Aquabella and Bagnodesign are leading the way in this area, with offerings varying from subtle pastels to contemporary colour pops in far more modern styles than the retro avocado-suites that used to come to mind when colourful sanitaryware cropped up in conversation. 

Innovative shower screens

No longer a purely practical piece of bathroom design, shower screens are coming into their own. We’ve seen more and more customisable trims and fluted finishes, as well as some really stand out products like Shower Lab’s new Dichroic glass screens – its colour-changing effect as light passes through makes this screen’s artistic focal point, a unique design guaranteed to impress design-minded consumers.

Eco-conscious design

With a growing emphasis on needing sustainability to be at the forefront of bathroom design, eco water recycling showers are gaining traction. Grohe's Everstream shower is a prime example of this eco-friendly innovation. It recycles and purifies shower water, reducing consumption without compromising on the showering experience. Innovative designs such as this are an ideal offering for designers and fitters wanting to showcase their commitment to sustainability. 

Returning in 2024

It’s clear to see that the KBB industry is thriving right now, and we can’t wait to see what else is to come. If you want to be the first to see more exciting KBB innovations, including the latest designs and technologies, make sure you visit kbb Birmingham as the show returns to NEC Birmingham from 3-6 March 2024.

Are you a KBB manufacturer with an innovative and ground-breaking solution? Why not enter the kbb 2024 Innovation Awards? Enter your product to be in with a chance to win one of three categories; the People's Choice Award, the Judges Choice Award and the Sustainability Award. To enter go to: https://www.kbb.co.uk/en/visit/innovation-awards.html. All entries must be submitted by November 17th 2023.

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