Rugby Fitted Kitchens boss Trevor Scott gives his impressions of this year’s kbb Brimingham show
Well, that’s the kbb show over and done for another year. So what did I, and others I spoke to, think of it?
For me, the show started at 10am Sunday with a quick wander and a coffee before my 30 minutes of embarrassment doing a Q&A with kbbreview’s managing editor, Andrew Davies, at the kbbreview Retail & Design Conference zone.
This year, I was asked to help judge ‘Best in Show’, so when I realised Crufts was on, I began to wonder what I’d let myself in for!
As it transpired, I was asked to stroll around the bathroom hall with the show organisers, UBM, which for me was a departure as I don’t usually get to spend much time in this hall. I was impressed with the creativity of the stand designers, who demonstrated 101 different ways of presenting sanitaryware. I was particularly taken by Hurlingham’s novel approach, but in the end we all agreed that Aquabella’s presentation of their shower trays on giant easels and the overall pared-down simplicity of their presentation won the day.
All the exhibitors we talked to during our tour reported high-quality footfall and the general feeling was quite buzzy.
Back into the kitchen hall for a bit of lunch, and with batteries recharged, my own tour could begin.
Blum’s massive stand dominated the centre of the hall, but access was carefully controlled, ensuring everyone’s details were captured. I was pleasantly surprised by both the quantity and quality of German and other continental kitchen suppliers’ stands. All had made a proper effort and were well worth a visit. If ever there was a show of faith in the UK market from the euro zone, despite all the fears over Brexit, this was it…
Shame the same couldn’t be said of our home manufacturers who, with a few notable exceptions, such as Mereway, Masterclass and Uform, were either no-shows or had made only a token effort. Disappointing…
Now taps were a different matter altogether. There were more boiling taps on offer than kitchen manufacturers, plus coloured metals, such as copper, brass, rose gold, graphite and titanium, as well as multicoloured PVD spray taps in a vast number of styles from nearly all the main players.
Just how many sinks and taps do these guys think we need?
For sure, it’s good to have plenty of choice and the brands’ confidence in launching so many variations demonstrates just how many kitchens must get sold in the UK each year but, at a show like kbb, should brassware really be the dominant product?
And apart from the notable exception of AEG, it was a no-show for the top international appliance brands.
Indeed, it was left to the likes of CDA and Caple, who put up an impressive stand with a wide range of new, design-led, and up-to-the-moment electricals.
Nevertheless, for me, this was the best kbb for some years and the show is definitely heading in the right direction.
Indeed, this year the organisers were brave enough to give over an area for top designer Colin Wong to create his thought-provoking concept – The Rock, which I’m sure will be featured in more detail elsewhere.