KBIS 2011seemed a bit smaller in size and met mid-week as opposed to Friday through Sunday, but vendors expressed satisfaction with booth traffic and leads generated. Here are some highlights. (All photos courtesy of Pat Lenius and Supply House Times, unless otherwise noted.)
One of the most talked-about product categories at KBIS 2011 was the bidet seat, or “smart toilet” with bidet functionality. American Standard Brands presented its Porcher electronic bidet seat for elongated bowls; first-time KBIS exhibitor INAX demonstrated its Regio and Satis bidet seats, which feature two spray nozzles, light, heat and music; TOTO showed its Washlet B100, a new introductory model at an aggressive price point; and Kohler unveiled Numi, which has bidet functionality and deodorizer built into the vitreous china as opposed to the seat; just to name a few!
Another trend observed was product design patterned after nature. TOTO’s contemporary Legato suite, inspired by a bird in flight, includes lavatories, toilets, showerhead, faucets and trim. Delta Faucet’s Linden kitchen collection is based on the linden tree. Brizo’s new kitchen faucet Vuelo, which means “flight” in Portugese, resembles a swan with its wings spread in flight.
Paul DeBoo of Sloan Valve reported growing interest in green technology and some growth in the renovation and replacement business. He noted that high-efficiency toilets are still getting a lot of buzz. A spokesman for Your Other Warehouse said they have seen an uptick in sales, with some weeks generating volume unheard of before now.
Jeannette Long, vice president/e-commerce and international joint venture management for American Standard Brands, noted that there had been steady traffic in the booth and said products that address water conservation and accessibility continue to generate interest.
Ben Fix, marketing communications manager with the Bath and Wellness Division at Villeroy & Boch, pointed out the growing interest in bidet seats and the increasing popularity of vessel sinks in the United States.
Christine Dwyer, senior public relations coordinator, Ferguson (Newport News, VA) said she was posting pictures and information from KBIS on the wholesale distributor’s Facebook and Twitter pages to share with showroom personnel, plumbing contractors, interior designers and consumers.
GROHE demonstrated new products at off-site events during KBIS including an affordable sparkling water faucet, high-performing faucets for the amateur chef and a lozenge-shaped showerhead for a powerful, custom shower experience.
Myson launched three models in its brushed stainless steel Hydronic Towel Warmer Collection: NENE, which uses flat panel tubes; WENSUM; and ESKE. Each is offered in a range of sizes with heat outputs up to 3,156 Btu/hr, so they can serve as both a towel warmer and a room heater.
Native Trails launched the Vintners’ Collection, a line of vanities and accessories made from salvaged winemaking materials. French and domestic oak barrels and staves are repurposed for the bath and mirrors. Pictured is the Bordeaux wall-mount vanity, which can be adapted for small bathrooms, powder rooms, wine cellars or as a wet bar (pictured left).Photo courtesy of Native Trails.
Niagara’s new low-flow Sava showerheads feature an oversized 4.4-inch diameter sprayhead that provides wide coverage. A patented, non-removable pressure compensating device in the showerhead maintains a constant flow of water regardless of the home’s water pressure or psi (pounds per square inch).
Danze introduced several multi-function, water-saving showerheads. The 503E features wide, centerjet and aeration function options. Both the 505 and 525 showerheads offer five functions including massage and wide+centerjet. All feature Danze’s D-Force (Dual Valve) technology to reduce pressure loss and optimize water flow and spray performance.
Artisan Manufacturing displayed its new hand-crafted Fleur-de-lis collection of sinks featuring 14 gauge heavy duty metal construction with four proprietary LustreGarde finishes including antique bronze, antique copper, nickel silver and stainless hi-lite.
Broan NuTone’s new collection of range hoods offered under the BEST label is named Sorpresa, the Italian word for surprise. Designs include Island hoods (Gloss, Secret and Vertigo Double); Chimney hoods (Surf, Modulare, Eclisse, Dune and Lipstick); and a Ceiling hood called Cirrus.
KBIS 2012will return to Chicago April 27-29.