Feb 20, 2019 | By Sarah Housley
Feb 23, 2018
If consumer goods is your market, Ambiente is your show. Products span dining, living and gifting, and sourcing is also an important element, with five dedicated halls. In our coverage, we focus on kitchen, tabletop and decor – and the information tracked at the show will inform our reports across these product categories for the months to come.
Looking at the driving directions highlighted at this edition, three stand out that also confirm the trends we had forecasted for this year.
In line with our HumaNature trend for A/W 18/19, nature continues to be a key driver worked into patterns, textures and materials.
A hand-crafted, artisanal look is very important, uneven contours are a defining element to dinnerware and drinkware, and rims display irregular and purposely imperfect interventions. Paint and glaze show the trace of the paintbrush, and flatware handles are roughly stonewashed, chiselled and etched to showcase the crafter’s hand.
Wood is predominant – both real and mimicked, it represents the primary material with which to convey this organic look and feel. Natural wood is preferred, appearing in surprising applications such as flatware handles, pepper grinders and cookware lids. When not natural, the grain is mimicked on pot handles, resins and printed ceramic. Sustainability and responsibility have also become embedded into brand offers across the spectrum. Materials and finishes look into organic and biodegradable qualities, while ecological attitudes reach a broader audience with a strong focus on water-saving and waste.
These represent a second and equally strong direction across exhibitors – this was highlighted in our Slow Futures S/S 18 theme and continues to strongly influence designs. Consumers short of time and space are seduced by oven-to-table, all-in-one and on-the-go solutions that still allow them to engage in meal preparation. A widely important focus across all brands is meal boxes: having less time doesn’t have to entail compromising on healthy food options, and a broad range of portable solutions is offered to encourage home prepping (and I know I could definitely do with some encouragement). Colour, material and pattern are key attractions, pairing style with practicality – quite interestingly, fashion brands O Bag and Kate Spade also are entering this market with meal boxes.
Clever design can also have many other applications. Whether it’s about many-in-oneuses, stackability or time and space-saving functions, kitchenware is predominantly about practicality. Lids double as trivets; dipping bowls double as pedestals, magnetic pan handles hold tools in place, and one handle works across many tools to mention a few. Tech can come into play: at DRH Collection for instance, a QR code at the bottom of bakeware links to recipe ideas.
Last but not least, a very fun and visual direction is expanding across the home to take over kitchen and tabletop as well. This is a strongly pattern-driven trend, as a maximalist aesthetic was first highlighted last year and it is set to drive designs for 2018 and onwards. This is driven by a rapidly growing need for self-expression and consumers’ desire to freely mix and match all colour, pattern and texture – influenced also by their rising self-confidence thanks to social media sharing.
At the show in particular, this comes to kitchen and tabletop with a playful focus on historic quotations reworked into eccentric contemporary designs. The archives remain an important source of inspiration – Villeroy & Boch celebrates its anniversary by re-editing two classics with fresh plays on scale and placement. Must-haves include the expanding Smeg x Dolce & Gabbana appliances (yes, kettle! #wishlist) and the Meissen 1710 figurines – no interior is too sober anymore for a surprising statement (and why not?) *kitsch* touch.
Interested in the whole report from Ambiente 2018? Read more here.
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