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kbb Birmingham 2020, the leading kitchen, bedroom and bathroom design show took place from 1st to 4th March and saw a huge number of people pass through its doors, with two of the four days having a record number of visitors. The event featured the UK’s largest collection of KBB brands under one roof and offered more innovation and choice than ever before.
Mark Gordon, Director kbb Birmingham commented: “We are delighted that kbb 2020 has delivered so positively for exhibitors and visitors in all areas. The exceptionally strong turnout of visitors throughout the four day show has reinforced our position as the KBB industry’s biggest forum in the UK and shown that it’s not only a place to do business, but is a vital source of inspiring new innovation and design in the KBB sector.”
These sentiments were echoed across the industry:
Richard Hibbert, Kbsa National Chair, comments, “There was a really good buzz and atmosphere at this year’s KBB. The organisers and the industry pulled together for the ‘show to go on’ and it proved to be worthwhile. For independent retailers there was plenty to see, with lots of things that could be taken back to the showrooms and implemented straight away. This is in contrast to some European shows where many of the exhibits are prototypes or inspirational.”
BMA Chief Executive, Tom Reynolds said: “The BMA has been a long-time supporter of kbb Birmingham and this year’s show did not disappoint. The footfall of the show was great with a positive atmosphere. The event is a key platform for our members and the industry as a whole – a place where they can see the latest products, make new connections and be inspired by fresh ideas.”
The vibrant show floor reflected key industry design trends, such as personalisation and sustainability with a huge range of exciting innovations from the sector. Big industry names like Blum, Caple, Roca, Blanco, and Samsung returned to exhibit, whilst brands such as Zanussi, Bosch, NEFF, Siemens, Quooker, Alno, Marazzi – The Top, Florim, Falmec, Konigstone, Aqualla Bathrooms, LochAnna kitchens, Azzurra Bathrooms and Elfin kitchens made their kbb show debut.
Sustainability came into focus during this year’s event with both the organisers and exhibitors placing it centre stage. kbb Birmingham and The Used Kitchen Company (TUKC) announced a partnership to help exhibitors sell their displays ahead of the show to encourage a more sustainable event, and to make a valuable contribution towards recycling within the kitchen industry. The show also ensured that all its feature areas were created with sustainability in mind and were designed to minimise waste.
Launch platform for KBB industry
Many brands chose to use the event to launch new products to the market. Blanco launched the new TAMPERA hot tap which is extremely strong and offers five stage filtration with a stunning, child safe design. FORMICA offered a preview of the new AXIOM and PRIMA decors which will launch this summer and received an enthusiastic response from visitors to the stand. DAVAL introduced a new 100% recycled kitchen concept as well as a collection of new colours and wood colours.
The new Bathroom Boulevard feature was a highlight for visitors and included top names from the sector. This included the ROCA Group, which incorporates Roca, Laufen, Armani/Roca and Cosmic, who showcased their latest In-Wash with In-Tank shower toilet technology as well as Laufen’s much-anticipated The New Classic collection, designed by Marcel Wanders. Other key names featured included Villeroy & Boch and Impey showers.
Special Show Features
kbb show highlights included special features such as The Kitchen of the Future, an installation designed by Rob Mascari in collaboration with students from Bucks New University. The exciting collaboration was created specifically with Millennials in mind – the result was a bold interpretation of what kitchens may resemble in the future. It featured clever storage solutions and a whole host of innovative appliances.
The kbb Bathroom Sets demonstrated how the industry is adapting to allow for a high-level of customisation, which reflected a recurrent theme throughout the show. Specially selected brands presented their interpretation of this brief: Acquabella presented ‘Belief’ and ‘Look’ was created by BC Designs.
Live Kitchen & Bathroom Design Podcasts
Taylist Media hosted an exciting series of live podcasts with special guests every day of the show at 2pm in The Bar. Topics covered a range of engaging and informative themes, including Charging for Design and The Smart Home, and featured industry experts as guests such as BIID member Stephen Dick from Residence Interior Design and Thomas Plant, showroom manager for Porcelanosa.
Taking a virtual approach
There was a wide range of technology on display at kbb Birmingham this year, not just in terms of the products but also in terms of services and even stand design. Virtual Worlds launched its latest version of the 4D Theatre. It offered visitors the chance to fully experience a kitchen or bathroom in immersive virtual reality, it's the ultimate in "try before your buy". Visitors could open cupboards and even turn on the shower. Synergy Bathrooms incorporate technology into their stand design and created a stunning video wall.
A hub for installers
The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) arrived in style at this year’s show in its Red Routemaster bus. The team was discussing important issues around industry professionalism, training and membership benefits with installers and retailers alike. During the show, the BiKBBI ran a number of educational sessions as well as launching its unique Protected scheme and the new online training campus.
Exhibitor Success with cutting-edge stand design
The considerable efforts from exhibitors in creating innovative, exciting and effective stands were celebrated in kbb Birmingham’s annual Stand Design Awards. Judged by exhibition industry experts, the competition determined the best stands against various criteria. The winners were; Newform for Bathroom under 50m², Acquabella for Bathroom over 50m², 4wardrobes for Bedrooms, UKITCHEN for Kitchen under 50m² and Marazzi for Kitchen over 50m². This year there was also a special award called The David Caulfield Award for Best Stand Visitor Experience in memory of the late great David Caulfield from BA Components, which was presented to Franke.
Roberto Heredia, Export Manager at Acquabella, has provided an overview of the stand, “This is the fourth time we have exhibited at the show and at each one we try to improve our stand, so we’re delighted to win the stand award again. We always try to tell a story with our stand, two years ago it was based around an architect’s studio and this year we are paying tribute to the retailers. The feedback we have received from visitors has been very good in terms of both our stand and our new products.”
The third day of the show (3rd March) saw the winners of the 2020 Innovation Awards, sponsored by Blum, announced. The award scheme recognises the most forward-thinking and technically advanced products within the KBB sector and is one of the most hotly anticipated events of the show.
The 10 shortlisted finalists were displayed in an inspiring showcase across specially designed plinths at kbb 2020 and show visitors voted for their favourites.
Natufia Lab was crowned the People’s Choice Award winner for its intelligent and stylish product, the world’s first fully integrated and automated hydroponic kitchen garden. The technology automatically maintains light, pH, temperature and water levels in addition to optimising minerals, nutrients and vitamins for non-GMO certified plants. Designed for interiors, the Natufia Lab brings nature into the home and allows people to conveniently manage their own produce from the comfort of their kitchen. It also encourages more thought about the environment and sustainable manufacturing, there is no need to worry about pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
The Wirquin Neo Zero Leak Trap scooped the Judge’s Finalist prize for its cost effective and space saving solution. Wirquin Neo is a new range of zero-leak traps suitable for basin or sink applications. Designed with patented, bi-injection technology, all its washers are over-moulded onto the body to ensure that there is complete protection against leaks. The innovative Wirquin NEO system prevents odours and noises by replacing the traditional valve, allowing the pipes to ventilate naturally.
Matthew Glanfield, Technical Team Manager from Blum commented:
“At Blum we’re all about innovation and so we were delighted to be sponsoring the Innovation Awards again this year. The standard of entrants was exceptionally high – in the KBB sector, innovation is all about challenging existing ideas and making people think differently. These awards recognise those brands who have shown really inspirational innovation. Natufia Lab’s Kitchen Garden which won the People’s Choice award is the one that visitors have been drawn to; it’s not only a beautiful thing to look at but it’s an exceptional design. Whilst the winner of the judge’s finalist prize, the Wirquin Neo, is packed with user benefits; it saves space, making it perfect for compact living, it’s easy to install and the design is simple and cost effective.”
VIP guests enjoyed the specially designed VIP Lounge sponsored by XTone which featured bespoke tables featuring their large-format porcelain products, a guest DJ and comfortable seating areas to relax and take some time out from the busy show floor.