Every other January since 2011, the global design industry has gathered in Cologne, Germany, for a massive trade show aptly called LivingKitchen. This year, the 271 exhibitors and 150,000 visitors who traveled from 145 countries were able to avoid the frigid outdoors while enjoying the hottest new residential kitchen products and trends.
Some of these innovations will make it to the United States shortly after the show. Others take longer or never quite make it across the Atlantic. Nevertheless, they’re all interesting to consider on a trends and technology basis. Here are our six super finds from LivingKitchen 2019.
1. Ballerina Küchen — TakeAway Drawers
Not content with providing high-quality glides, German cabinet manufacturer Ballerina Küchen has made the drawer box itself easily removable and portable. This can make meals and cleanup more convenient. For example, if you have a drawer of snacks for your kids, you can set the drawer on the spot where they eat or play, so they don’t have to go into your cabinets. (Drawer glides and fronts broken by youngsters pulling on them has driven many a parent to their neighborhood hardware store.)
2. Nobilia — Backlight Herb Garden
Plants are finding their way into more kitchens these days, and not just as window ledge decorations. Manufacturers are integrating plant holders into their cabinetry. Nobilia, one of the most popular cabinet companies in Germany, has added an interesting addition to its plant shelving: grow lights. These make it possible to add plants where natural light is lacking. The wooden boxes add a nice visual touch, and will keep your herbs (or other greenery) looking great.
3. Nobilia — FlexMotion Lifting Table
Another interesting Nobilia offering is its table that elevates from sitting to standing height at the push of a button. This creates accessibility for those who need to sit (or use a wheelchair) while preparing meals, and health benefits for those who want to stand while they work. It isn’t preset either, so the table height can be adjusted to fit the user accordingly. This is a phenomenally flexible solution for universal and aging-in-place design.
4. Leicht — Room in Room
German manufacturer Leicht understands that kitchens connect to the home in different ways, depending on the needs of each household. With this in mind, its designers created complementary mini room extensions that meet homeowners’ unique needs. These “room in room” spaces can tackle laundry chores, with space for washer-dryer sets, laundry baskets and related needs; or they can be the home’s cleaning center, with space for a vacuum, brooms, cleaning supplies and the like; or the space can serve as a quiet seating area, separate from the home’s hubbub.
5. Top Porzelanik Barcelona — TPB Tech Induction Worktops
Induction cooking is slowly gaining its well-deserved acceptance in the U.S. People like its superior energy efficiency and cooking speed. They’re also catching on to its chef-caliber performance, safety potential and ease of cleaning. That’s good news for Spanish manufacturer Top Porzelanik Barcelona, which is building induction burners right into porcelain slab countertops. Why is this a benefit? Aside from elevating sleekness to a whole new level, this worktop has burners embedded into one of the most family-friendly, scratch-resistant materials on the market, gives you more flexibility in cooking surface placement, more usability of your counters when you’re not cooking (ideal for small kitchens), and simplifies your cleaning process.
6. Blanco — SITY Life Suite
Blanco is another popular German manufacturer, known internationally for its sinks and faucets. In case you thought German engineers were just about serious design and technology, this company’s team has come up with a fun, playful suite of changeable faucets (VIU-S mixer tap) and accessories (SITYPad and SITYBox) for its SITY XL 6 S Silgranit sink. The choices are festive and add lightness and energy to a kitchen. You can have lemon-inspired faucets one season and lime another — or tangerine! And bonus: You can update your kitchen yourself without remodeling.
Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCTWC is a wellness design consultant, Certified Kitchen Designer and the author of the New Bathroom Idea Book and New Kitchen Ideas That Work, (Taunton Press). Jamie can be found online at jamiegold.net.