The 2008 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show & Conference, which ended yesterday at Chicago’s McCormick Place, brought together top manufacturers, distributors, retailers, designers, and other professionals for what’s billed as the world’s largest international trade event dedicated to the kitchen and bath industry. The keynote speaker for the event was Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who talked about environmental sustainability and the effects it has on the kitchen and bath, housing, and shelter industries in a global community. More than 900 exhibitors and about 40,000 attendees participated in the four-day event, which showcases innovative ideas and trends in the kitchen and bath industries. “The hot thing is integration, making the products look more like furniture rather than appliances and making them easier to clean,” said Joe Klett, one of the Abt sales specialists who attended the show. “The manufacturers are really upbeat about their new products and the market in general.”
Wine storage refrigerators featured at the show are perfect examples of appliances that resemble fine pieces of furniture, including the one pictured above made by Sub-Zero, which is currently available at Abt. Another furniture-inspired appliance from Sub-Zero is the refrigerator/freezer combination (below), which is six feet across and adds a touch of class to any décor.
Among the other innovative new products at the show were Thermador’s 30-inch five burner gas cooktop, which will be available in August, and a 36-inch wide cooling drawer from Fisher & Paykel, which functions as either a refrigerator, freezer, or wine storage compartment and can be set from zero to 40 degrees.
Another new Fisher & Paykel product on display at the show was this innovative gas cooktop (above), featuring burners that rise and descend from the glass surface at the touch of a button, making clean-up a breeze. This is the only cooktop currently available with this feature.
–by Graham W.