KBzine: your kitchen and bathroom industry news - first
27th January 2012
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"We're beginning to see some hopeful signs in the economy, and the housing market is finally starting its slow recovery," says Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center. "That should prove helpful for home improvement spending as the year progresses."
The Furniture Industry Research Association has announced the publication of a new best practice guide for flammability testing of upholstery on behalf of the Furniture Retail Quality Group, the technical committee representing all major UK furniture retailers.
The new guide - FIRA-FRQG F001: 2011 - has been developed by FRQG to fulfil four major functions:
A study of 2,000 adults found while most blokes can comfortably 'drive' a string of household electrical gadgets a few of them regularly prove to be a step too far. A quarter of men admitted they had no idea how to use their washing machine and a similar number were clueless when it came to using the grill or oven.
As 2012 fast approaches, Ideal Standard International designer Robin Levien gives his bathroom predictions for next year:
We are living through uncertain times once again and this creates insecurity. This insecurity translates into nostalgia for a supposedly better time. This time is usually the 'vintage era' of the mid-20th century and will impact the bathroom through optimistic splashes of colour or fabrics and even bold geometric patterns to brighten up bathrooms.
Welcome to the
The Government is committed to reducing the UK's carbon footprint dramatically over the coming years and one of the biggest challenges it faces is dealing with our ageing housing stock. Figures show that 70% of the country's existing residential property will still be inhabited in 2050 and that 91% of all UK homes would benefit substantially from improvements in energy efficiency. The country's least efficient properties were predominantly constructed prior to 1920 and these currently make up 15% of UK homes but actually account for 23% of total notional C02 emissions.
Delegates at yesterday's Retrofit 2012 conference, heard that while solutions to finance (through the Government's imminent Green Deal) and technology (though a plethora of innovations to make households more energy-efficient) are emerging, policymakers have yet to engage with the third key element in the retrofit challenge - human behaviour!
Apparently innovations can actually work against energy and cost-reduction objectives... Research presented at the conference showed how residents in energy-efficient houses were more likely to take resource-inefficient baths rather than showers, in the belief that anything they did would be energy efficient because of the type of house they inhabited!
There's still a lot to be accomplished then in terms of education, despite the technology being readily available...
And my goodness is it available!
My inbox has been swamped in recent weeks with details and images of the most energy-efficient, gorgeous items, all destined for launch at KBB Birmingham from March 4th -7th.
I hadn't planned to begin KBZine's rolling show preview for a few weeks but the conference programme has been finalised and such is the calibre of what is being showcased, that I couldn't hold off any longer and just had to share them. The first few - and the conference programme - are featured below.
If you're exhibiting at the Show and want to share your innovations with our readers, please send me your news without delay!
This Week's News
Longstanding cabinet manufacturer Ultima Furniture Systems has today announced that it is taking over the Matchmaker Kitchen brand.
The University of Salford Retrofit 2012 conference concluded yesterday with a detailed focus on the challenges of the large-scale behaviour change needed in the UK if the Government is to achieve its carbon reduction targets.
Popular cooking appliance brand Belling, has announced a 12 month programme of activity to take place throughout 2012 to celebrate its centenary year.
When the American based company needed an inspirational kitchen space to shoot its new TV advertising campaign, Symphony's 20,000 sq ft purpose-built facility, known as 'Inspire by Symphony', proved the perfect backdrop.
InSinkErator UK - a business unit of the world's largest manufacturer and inventor of food waste disposers - has been awarded the '2011 Emerson business leader award for outstanding performance in 2010/11'.
The award comes after the UK business unit not only outperformed many other Emerson European companies but also the wider market in general, with significant sales increases of 50% over the last two years.
The seminar programme for kbb Birmingham 2012 has been announced and it promises to equip visitors with the inspiration and knowledge for the year ahead, discussing the key issues facing the sector.
The Showerwall brand of waterproof wallpanelling is being relaunched with a major design update to its winning product offer. Partnering the with Essentials Bathroom range, the 90sqm stand will be resplendent with stylish ideas for bathroom retailers.
There are nine new colours, boosting the range's design palette to 33 laminates overall. The new colours respond to the ongoing popularity with consumers for natural materials in stone, marble and metallics which balance up-to-the-minute styling with commercial versatility.
A new concept from Mereway Kitchens, developed with EQ Software, that will enable independent retail partners to go 'head-to-head' with the likes of B&Q and Howdens, is to be unveiled at kbb Birmingham.
Striking, cutting edge design in the form of Cube, is the latest addition to the modular bathroom furniture range from Ellis Furniture. Cube oozes style and precision, creating a powerful focal point in the bathroom.
The Cube range features a broad, 600mm single drawer unit, and a very cleverly designed chrome bracket, which can be configured in a variety of ways to maximise the space available.
Shaws of Darwen, the renowned producer of luxury fireclay kitchen sinks since 1897, has formed a mutual partnership with English tap manufacturer, Perrin & Rowe, to produce what is heralded as the world's best, exclusive brassware range, handcrafted in England.
Products from both companies are sold side by side and more often than not, installed together in luxury hotels, resorts, spas and private homes all over the world. It was a natural step for Perrin & Rowe to produce an exclusive range of Shaws branded taps and in return for Shaws to develop an exclusive range of 'Perrin & Rowe by Shaws' fireclay kitchen sinks.
Shower enclosure specialist, Lakes Bathrooms, has announced the appointment of KMT Wholesale as the exclusive distributor for its products in Eire. KMT now stocks a complete range of Lakes Bathrooms' showers, including the new Coastline Collection, launched earlier this year.
Top brassware manufacturer Vado has donated £1000 to WaterAid. The charity aims to transform lives by improving access to safe drinking water in some of the world's poorest communities. For the last few years, like many other companies, Vado has decided against sending Christmas cards to customers, staff and suppliers and instead donated the equivalent cost of the cards and postage to worthwhile causes.
WaterAid was the chosen charity this year due to the obvious connection with water. Jim Williams, Vado's Managing Director, continues: "Vado is delighted to support WaterAid and its efforts to provide access to safe drinking water in 27 different countries across Africa, Asia, the Pacific region and Central America".
Early this year, The Furniture Industry Research Association and The Furniture Ombudsman were visited by Hugh Garforth-Bles and Charles Kerrigan, Master and Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers.
The visitors met with FIRA Chief Operating Officer and WCFM Liveryman Jonny Westbrooke, as well as Kevin Grix, Head of The Furniture Ombudsman and WCFM Freeman.
Graham Ball, chief executive officer of the KBSA, says: "This is a voluntary position that helps shape the direction and the future of the KBSA, so we're delighted to find two such excellent people to fill the roles."
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A new Foresight project investigating the future of manufacturing out to 2050 was launched this week by Business Secretary Vince Cable.
The two-year project will call on industry and academic expertise from the UK and abroad to look at the long-term picture for the manufacturing sector, investigating global trends and drivers of change. It will explore how the UK can maximise these opportunities and provide an evidence base to help policy-makers navigate a challenging and uncertain future.
Steve Macdonald, marketing director of Hoover Candy, shares his views on the pent-up consumer. He argues that the will and need for consumers to invest in new kitchens is there but unless the industry can make it comfortable to pay for their investment, they will remain 'pent -up'.
"Mintel's recent report tells us that 15% of respondents advised that they would like to refurbish their kitchen but can't afford to. Equally there are more people wanting to upgrade, but they are being extremely cautious about the risk of overspending as they wait to see what happens with the economy.
Speaking at the National Housing Federation, the Mayor set out the details of his revised housing strategy, which outlines how he will take on new housing powers secured in the Localism Act, tackle Londoners' housing needs and deliver 55,000 affordable homes over this investment round. This includes a significant proportion of family-sized housing with new homes designed to the Mayor's larger space standards.
Amica's brand new built-in catalogue bucks the A4 trend at a user-friendly 18 x 18cm and contains stand-out high-gloss product imagery as well as specifications, dimensions and feature explanations; all packed into an easy-to-read format on 46 neat little pages.