This report looks at the key trends that influence the way we use our kitchens and highlights the innovations that tap into these trends, not just within the kitchen industry but also the wider environment
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The pace of innovation within the kitchen industry is phenomenal and this is never more obvious than when visiting the big trade shows such as CES in Las Vegas, LivingKitchen in Cologne or Eurocucina in Milan.
In its truest sense, innovation means providing ideas out of the blue, leading to significant discoveries and achievements, and it was tempting to include in this report everything new, interesting or exciting that we’d seen on our travels.
However, at Trend-Monitor we take a more focused approach and our starting point is always the societal shifts that influence the way we use our kitchens. From here we highlight how manufacturers, designers and innovators are reacting to these shifts, not just within the kitchen industry, but also with an eye on the wider environments.
Innovation is an iterative process and with this in mind we have no hesitation in featuring products that are still at development stage. These early prototypes are nonetheless significant and earn their place in this report by addressing a strong consumer need or requirement for the kitchen space.
The seven key trends featured in this report are relevant to changing consumer attitudes which impact on kitchen behaviours, and it is interesting to note the way in which these trends interact with each other and how a number of the innovations have the ability to address more than one trend at a time
In this interview, Elena Corchero, futurist at Unruly, talks about the highlights at this year’s CES trade show in Las Vegas, and the key trends that will influence how we live in our homes in the future
Interview by Emma Hedges
TM. You’ve recently
come back from visiting CES in Las Vegas. Tell us about some of the things that
were on show.
EC. There were more than 4,500 exhibitors across 2.7 million sq feet, and the Las Vegas Conference Centre was where all the major brands were. That had the innovation car and mobility area, which is one of the largest because obviously, you have driverless cars, you have flying taxis – you might think that it doesn’t link to kitchens and bathrooms but the fact that they are driverless, means that being in a car becomes your second home.
That raises the question, what do you do there? Do you have more entertainment? Do you do sports when you are going from one place to another? Are you going to focus on efficiency and work? Are you going to do cooking? That’s not coming any time soon, but cars eventually will be like a second home, so almost like caravans. So you can imagine eventually this will lead to the question – why have a home?
A key trend is everything to do with mobility. This has two sides – one is the obvious mobility of future cars, flying taxis and so on. The other one is tech that is more mobile. So we have flexible screens that you can roll like a yoga mat, and phones that you can fold.
There will be a lot of technology that follows you around. Robots that have a screen that you can talk to or use to talk to someone else, so you are hands-free wherever you go and can be exercising or playing. The screen detects you and moves with you.
TM. How do you see
the trend involving voice assistants progressing?
EC. There is a difference between voice assistants in any device and those in smart speakers. Most people do have an iPhone, and the majority of voice assistants used are Siri (44%), Google (30%) Alexa (17%), Bixby (which is Samsung, 4%) and the rest are 5%. Those are the statistics for voice assistants on their own.
When we go to the smart speakers, that switches around, Alexa is number one and Google is catching up quickly going from 8% in 2017 to 30% now, it is the only assistant that reaches 100% understanding and they promoted it in a truly surprising way during CES with a Fun Park train ride!
Right now 41% of American consumers
have access to a smart speaker. In 2017 that was 21%, so the amount of people
in the US with access to a smart speaker has doubled. Eventually, the voice
will be omnipresent. Now your fridge has it, your TV has it, your oven has it,
so very soon you will just speak wherever you are and there will always be a
device that can capture your command.
TM. Which were the
other products that stood out at the show?
EC. One of the award-winning companies was Toto, who produce smart toilets. We know smart toilets are big in Japan, but now they are coming to Europe.
Eventually, they will be able to do analytics of people’s waste. Toilet analytics is a growing trend and it will become common at some point. You will collect this data for your own awareness, or to sell the data because that data might have value one day, or to connect to your doctor or trainer.
So the ‘quantified self’, and access to technologies to track health are growing and in new directions. There was a home blood test kit, and there was also a concept by Proctor & Gamble’s Oral B where your toothbrush will be able to analyse your saliva… one day these biometrics will be shared with your kitchen, with your fridge and food assistant to manage your nutritional intake, bathrooms and kitchens have never been more connected!
We’re looking at ensuring at an older age we’re fully able, so we can retire at 80 and not at 60. We imagine a longer future but with better health. The ageing population is a massive market that is starting to become much more obvious and Japan is focusing their technologies and initiatives very much on this.
Samsung was doing a lot of robotics aimed at this. Assisted robotics that can help you in the home, but also assisted robotics that you can wear to help you with mobility issues – ‘Exoskeletons’ they’re called.
Two other areas associated with health are quality of sleep and quality of air, and a lot of brands are developing devices that will make you aware of the quality of your air, and others are doing this plus purifying the air.
TM. Which other
innovations might have an impact on kitchen and bathroom design?
EC. Well, the idea that any surface of any shape becomes a screen is very obvious. On the LG stand there was an installation called ‘The Massive Curve of Nature’ and it was literally an all-involving screen projecting nature – so you were under the sea or in a forest and the screen was curvy. It was fascinating. That is the new flexible-screen technology that LG can apply on any surface.
Also, there was ‘The Wall’ from Samsung, which is modular and bezel-free making it flexible in screen size so users can customise it to fit any room or space making a wall look seamless.
Audi showed a car with a beautiful wooden interior but it was, in fact, a screen and acted as a display as well. We see something changing in the way we interact with surfaces.
We saw this with mirrors, which when they are touch screens get dirty very easily. So all the mirrors I saw at CES detect gestures, so you control the mirrors by moving your arms and hands, and by facial gestures.
We see less touching and more gestures; appliances being self-aware; any kind of surface becoming a screen; health awareness everywhere, from the fridge to the toilet; and everything leading also to the nomadic life. I really believe in all this technology moving with us, and allowing us to be more nomadic – more free and flexible.
TM. Do you think in
general consumers are embracing Internet of Things technology more?
EC. There is not enough information out there for consumers to understand how user-friendly it can be, but now companies are figuring this out.
The new Bosch video is brilliant. They had a problem – they have all sorts of products, from fridges to lawnmowers, and they didn’t have an identity for it all. They finally came up with this hashtag that is very trendy already – #likeabosch – and they show that if you only use Bosch products, because they are all connected to the internet you can live ‘like a boss’ because you don’t have to do anything. This video really puts the IoT as a mainstream subject that last year it wasn’t.
But the good thing about the IoT is how it allows you to stay closer to your loved ones. You might ask for example, why have a smart kettle? I still need to fill it up with water and all it does is turn on and off. But the thing is, if you give that to your grandmother you will know how often she has her tea, and you know that at 9 am that kettle goes on every day, and if one day that doesn’t happen you can give her a call to make sure she’s alright.
So the IoT shouldn’t be seen as a selfish thing or a comfort thing – it is about how it is going to make us part of collective communities.
Sometimes it’s useful to look back and assess whether those predictions actually came true, and that’s what Home Futures: Living in Yesterday’s Tomorrow aims to do. It’s the latest exhibition currently on at the Design Museum, which is the result of a partnership with the IKEA Museum Almhult. Bringing together an array of avant-garde speculations in the form of around 150 objects and experiences, the exhibition asks: “Are we living in the way that pioneering architects and designers once predicted, or has our idea of home proved resistant to real change?”
There are various rare works on display,
including original furniture from the Smithsons’ House of the Future (1956),
original footage from the General Motors Kitchen of Tomorrow (1956), and an
original model of Total Furnishing Unit by Joe Colombo (1972), which organisers
say help to provide visitors with a thought-provoking view of yesterday’s
“Are we living in the way that pioneering architects and designers once predicted, or has our idea of home proved resistant to real change?”
The show is divided into six relevant themes,
all of which reflect key trends that are influencing the way we live in our
homes today. The first is Living Smart, which traces the modernist ideal of the
‘home as machine’ and juxtaposes it with our current view of the connected
‘smart home’. Illustrations by Heath Robinson depicting unlikely household
gadgetry and contraptions are shown alongside a range of smart devices.
Living on the Move explores the 20th-century
view of a simple, nomadic lifestyle, while Living Autonomously delves into the
1970s notion of self sufficiency. This looks at Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione,
a 1974 design guide to assembling furniture from basic materials, and also
features a newly commissioned modular furniture series by Brussels studio Open
“We at Ikea have always been curious about innovative technology, inventing new techniques, materials and logistical solutions. Behind every single product lies years of research, experimentation and testing,” said Jutta Viheria, the Ikea Museum’s Exhibition and Communications Manager. “By partnering with the Design Museum on this exhibition, we are continuing our mission of collaborating with organisations that view the world from a different perspective, allowing us to gain new insights into this crazy old world of ours,” she explained.
How did the future look?
According to the Design Museum, radical thinkers and designers of the 20th century imagined our future homes as places where…
A global, invisible network would connect us all Supersurface was a speculative proposal for a universal grid that would allow people to live without objects or the need to work, in a state of permanent nomadism.
We would work from anywhere we wanted In 1969, years before laptops allowed for work on the go, Hans Hollein proposed a mobile office in the form of a transparent bubble for a nomadic lifestyle. It forecasted the conditions of work and life in an automated, networked world.
We would live surrounded by screens Ugo La Pietra’s Casa Telematica (1983), or the Telematic House, imagined ways in which media and telecommunication will change the homes of the future
Home appliances would be smart and autonomous The 1950s “Miracle Kitchen” of the future had its own Roomba (robotic hoover)
More people would live in cities, in smaller spaces Joe Colombo designed a Total Furnishing Unit, which was a whole house in just 28 square meters.
Art and design would merge An example of this is the iconic red lips sofa by Gufram
The wabi-sabi approach has been integrated into Japanese culture for centuries. While in its current rendition, it has a distinctive ‘style’, like Hygge, it is more than just an interiors trend. It’s a recipe for a more mindful way of life that, in many ways, represents a backlash against some of the other social trends that we’re witnessing right now.
“We are living in a time of brain-hacking algorithms, pop-up propaganda and information everywhere,” says Beth Kempton in her book Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life. “From the moment we wake up, to the time we stumble into bed, we are fed messages about what we should look like, wear, eat and buy, how much we should be earning, who we should love and how we should parent.”
So as our daily lives pick up the pace, as
technology careers ahead at breakneck speed, and as influencers constantly
bombard us with images of envy-inspiring lifestyle perfection, can wabi sabi
offer some kind of antidote?
“Wabi is about finding beauty in simplicity, and a spiritual richness and serenity in detaching from the material world,” explains Kempton. “Sabi is more concerned with the passage of time, with the way that all things grow and decay and how ageing alters the visual nature of those things. It’s less about what we see, and more about how we see.”
So why does this matter? Wabi sabi is being
credited with helping to drive the latest trend for upcycling products –
creatively decorating and reusing old or unwanted items – and it appears to be
in tune with a more sustainable, and less throwaway, way of life. As single-use
items become anathema to the current mood, and sustainability rises up the
consumer list of priorities, there’s plenty for businesses to consider.
This has implications for everything from the way in which consumers and retailers tackle food waste, to a wider acceptance of the way the human body looks as it ages. It points to a shift in what consumers consider to be aspirational. But, when it comes down to it, is a mindset that enables us to embrace transience, imperfection, and everything that makes us different, being driven by the global megatrend of individualism?
This being the case, how will consumers’ reactions to images presented to them as desirable by the mass media, and – crucially – the way in which businesses present information about their brands to their audiences evolve?
When it comes to marketing materials, the appetite for a less brash, more personalised approach is growing. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops.
This year’s Surface Design Show took place at London’s Business Design Centre from 5th – 7th February and was the destination for architects and designers keeping up with all the new surface-related innovations. Over 150 companies participated this year and the displays did not disappoint – Trend-Monitor was there to spot the key trends.
Surface Trend No.1: Acoustics
One of the important themes of the show was noise reduction in an open-plan setting. There were a number of companies exhibiting solutions, and while the applications may have been focused on the commercial sector, the consumer’s ongoing love of open-plan living is bringing it closer to residential settings too.
Print Acoustics was displaying its acoustic
panels and doors that have been developed to absorb sound, particularly the
human voice. Made from water-resistant MDF, the panels can be made to measure,
and are shock and scratch-proof. The grooves and holes in the panels give each
its own acoustic value, and distinctive look.
Friends of Wilson was exhibiting its range of acoustic wall panels and screens. The Tesselate wall panel made from part-recycled fibre resembles a work of art, and works by scattering sound waves in different directions.
The company’s room dividers can be used to create a broken-plan setting, reducing noise and encouraging areas of privacy.
The studio of Finnish artist Anne Kyyrö Quinn was exhibiting its sculptural creations made from cut, sewn and hand-finished fabrics. Inspired by organic shapes, the three-dimensional felt designs are ISO-classified as Class D absorbers with a high-frequency efficiency rating, while the acoustic panels are ISO-classified as Class A absorbers.
Surface Trend No.2: Back to Nature
Natural products were out in force. Innerspace
Cheshire was showing its NatureMoss wall covering, made from real moss, but
treated to preserve it so it has the look of a living wall but without the
maintenance issues. The company’s bark panels have sound-absorbing qualities
and are made from cork, birch or poplar and sourced from responsibly managed
Freund also had sound-absorbing wall art made
from moss and bark on its stand. Its Evergreen moss panels are soft to touch,
and do not require light, water or fertiliser. They were displayed alongside
bark products, such as the natural cork tree bark.
Austrian manufacturers, Organoid Technologies were displaying their surfaces made of natural raw materials such as hay, flower petals and leaves. These are applied, partly by hand, on various carrier boards – HPL high pressure laminates, self-adhesive films, fleeces, textiles, etc. Thanks to a gentle production process, the natural features of scent, colour and feel are preserved.
Finium was exhibiting its decorative wall panels
in real wood, focusing on juxtaposing rich tone and rough texture for maximum
effect. The company uses raw timber from sustainably managed North American
forests, and says that the varnishes and oils that it uses are continuously
recycled and reused throughout the production cycle, while no part of the tree
Surface Trend No.3: Sustainability
Sustainability was a theme that ran throughout the show. One brand, keen to get the message across, was Alusid with its SilicaStone surface – a sustainable alternative to natural stone, traditional ceramic or modern, polymer-based surfaces. SilicaStone is a versatile material made from glass, ceramics and mineral waste. Through the process of sintering – binding the materials together by applying heat and pressure – low-value waste materials and by-products are transformed into surfaces that can be used for a number of design applications. It can be cut, ground, polished and glazed like traditional granite. Made without resin, it is UV-stable and naturally fire resistant.
PHEE-board is a bio-composite decorative flat panel (veneer) make by recycling the dead leaves of the seagrass Posidonia Oceanica, which wash up annually on Mediterranean coastlines. By combining with biological resins, the leaves are made into boards for different different commercial uses such as furniture, flooring and interior design applications
Trend No.4: Next Generation MDF
Also spotted at the show were companies taking MDF to the next stage. Valchromat, distributed by James Latham, is a wood fibre panel which is coloured throughout using organic dyes to impregnate all the fibres individually. It is moisture resistant, and has greater resistance to bending and higher mechanical strength when compared to standard coloured MDF. It comes in 10 colours and five thicknesses.
Similar product Forescolor, distributed by International Decorative Surfaces, is made exclusively of pine wood, and comes in nine colours and three thicknesses. Specifically developed to overcome the limitations of normal MDF board, Forescolor is made without using formaldehyde resin and has high moisture resistance making it suitable for bathroom and kitchen applications
When Argentine-Swiss designer Alfredo Häberli was invited by LivingKitchen’s organisers Koelnmesse to design a display at the exhibition entitled ‘Future Kitchen’, he decided to take an alternative approach to the display.
“I deliberately want to elevate my design to a certain level of abstraction because the times in which we are living are moving incredibly fast. I therefore decided to base my design for Future Kitchen on a blend of minimalist architecture and virtual reality.”
Haberli also wanted to address some important issues. The knowledge that we are already confronted with an increasing population, climate change and resource scarcity, raises some critical questions – how will sensuality be preserved if, in the future, food is produced in laboratories and reduced to the supply of protein? What happens when the act of cooking mutates into pure self-expression and hedonistic luxury? What will the kitchen of the future look like if we need to find solutions for preventing food waste?
These thoughts are an important part of today’s discourse about how to feed the planet. With my concept, I would therefore like to bring the kitchen and the preparation of food back into focus. As a workshop and the soul of the house, the kitchen is the link to the adjacent zones of the home, as well as the cultural activities connected with it – and thus forms the space for Sense & Sensuality
Taking the title ‘Sense and Sensuality, A Kitchen for the Near Future‘, the 160sq m stand at LivingKitchen was sparsely furnished with a long glass table and some chairs, with shelving, walls and surfaces painted a vibrant green, so at first visitors may have been a little perplexed by the nature of the display.
In an unconventional move, the detail of Häberli’s vision was only accessible with the help of audio guides and tablets, via a downloadable app. By scanning QR codes positioned on the green surfaces, visitors were able to access the different designs on a smart device.
Häberli’s Future Kitchen was essentially a sociable space, and formed the central living zone in a future house. The emphasis was on space saving and efficient living, and also sustainability, with the increasing shortage of resources in mind. A garden for growing vegetables was positioned alongside the kitchen in the installation, and prominent water cisterns for conserving and recycling water for all uses in the home were located in the kitchen and bathroom areas.
There were a total of 11 kitchen gadgets and appliances in the Future Kitchen. Prominent among them was a transparent, horizontal fridge concept – the result of a collaboration with Samsung. Keeping the contents visible from the outside meant that unnecessary opening and searching for items was avoided, with Häberli’s idea being that the energy released when the fridge door was opened could be fed into an integrated lower storage area that served as a warming rack for tableware
Schott Ceran partnered in the creation of the ultra-thin hob concept, which could be picked up like a tray to be positioned on any surface, and even outside to cook meals or keep them warm. It was without zones, but was able to recognise different sizes of pots and pans and heat them accordingly, while the portable element also allowed it to be stowed away when not in use.
The vision for the oven in the Future Kitchen was that it would descend from the ceiling when required, and was also transparent to enable the user to see the cooking process without opening the door, to reduce unnecessary heat loss.
Describing the kitchen utensil as neither oven nor steamer nor plate warmer, but as a ‘Heating Shell’ in which the energy required for cooking is supplied to the food from all sides instead of just from the bottom.
And to ensure that an ideal workflow can be established in the small apartments of the future, the «Heating Shell» also serves as a hatch between the kitchen and the dining area – there are openings on several sides that allow the appliance to be loaded and unloaded. When not in use, the unit floats back up towards the ceiling
Häberli describes his installation as “a glimpse of the near future”. His view is clearly that saving the planet is directly connected to the activities that take place in the kitchen at home.
So much technological innovation is being
devoted to keeping food fresher for longer – is an indoor smart garden the next
step when it comes to living sustainably and having the freshest food possible
Click & Grow, the producer of self-watering indoor gardens, was founded in 2009 by CEO Mattias Lepp and has recently seen huge investment from Ikea’s parent company, Ingka Group.
The company’s breakthrough technology means that non-GM and pesticide-free plants can be grown “with zero effort” at home. The plant pods, full of ‘smart soil’ and seeds, are similar in size to coffee machine capsules, and come in 45 different plant varieties including herbs, salad greens, vegetables, fruit and flowers.
Adjustable LED lamps offer enhanced lighting to encourage plant growth, and the water used is prevented from evaporating. The ‘smart soil’ is almost completely covered so that water leaves the system only by plant transpiration.
According to Click & Grow, plants grown using the Smart Gardens and Wall Farms use 95% less water, contain up to 600% more vitamins, and grow 30% faster than plants grown with current agricultural methods.
Lepp believes the the next step for smart indoor gardens is “to see how hyper-local farming can have a lasting impact on the sustainability of our food chain and reduce food waste”, and he thinks that they have already earned “their rightful place among kitchen tools” in the home.
The Plantcube, which is produced by Agrilution, is the brainchild of Max Lössl and Philipp Wagner. It is described as an ‘intelligent home greenhouse’ that enables the user to grow a wide selection of greens, including salads and herbs.
It works on the same principle as hydroponic cultivation, so it doesn’t require soil. Automatic watering is supplied on a cycle of up to 12 times a day, and the ideal light has been created in collaboration with Osram to provide the right conditions for photosynthesis to occur.
The greens are also said to be nutrient rich and grown without pesticides. Added to that, as the user only harvests the amount they wish to use while the rest keeps until it’s needed, there is a reduction in the amount of food wasted or thrown away.
The Agrilution app means that the user is able to monitor the plants’ progress and growth phases remotely, can reorder varieties, and is even able to access recipes to make the most of the produce grown.
The Plantcube is available as a freestanding cabinet, but it is the same size as a fridge or wine cooler, and can be incorporated into the kitchen design as an undercounter solution.
Its minimal appearance and handle-less design also means that it can be integrated into a kitchen island or vertical bank of appliances with ease. This is important news for kitchen designers – the indoor smart garden just came one step closer to becoming part of everyday life.
Is the Cabin Spacey ‘minimal house’ what the home of the future looks like?
When they decided to think about making a prototype to meet the demands of how people will live in the future, architects Simon Becker and Andreas Rauch set about addressing some of the restrictions of traditional living today.
The configuration of most apartments comprises two rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom, and has changed very little for generations. The team wanted to come up with something more flexible that addressed the changing needs of the ‘modern metropolitan’.
Equally, as urbanisation continues and space becomes an increasingly sought-after commodity, they needed the cabin to be compact.
The smallest unit measures just over 25sq metres and can comfortably accommodate two people. The king-sized bed overlooks the living area, and features storage space and a USB docking station.
The bathroom is equipped with Grohe products, and the kitchen is kitted out with a hob, steaming hot tap, fridge, washing machine, and coffee machine, with many of the products by Bosch.
The multi-functional lounge area has a window seat that doubles as a guest bed, as well as a dining table. There is an array of smart tech that enhances home comfort and efficiency, including a smart mirror, intelligent heating control, Sonos sound system, Phillips Hue lighting system, Amazon Echo and Kiwi.ki smart lock.
One of the main advantages of the ‘minimal house’ is that it is completely sustainable, with a solid wooden structure made from renewable raw materials.
A large solar battery, integrated into the innovation’s sandwich floor and with panels on the roof to collect energy from the sun, provides power so even though the Cabin Spacey is connected to the energy network, it produces energy itself.
When coming up with Cabin Spacey, Becker and Rauch decided that today’s ‘urban nomads’ require a home that is above all easy to transport and to install.
The beauty of Cabin Spacey is that it can be hooked up to existing utilities and infrastructures, so in theory is able to be set down just as easily in a car park, as it is in a garden or on a stretch of urban wasteland, or on an unused roof.
According to the company, Berlin alone has space for 55,000 apartments on unused rooftops that are unsuitable for development, but where Cabin Spacey might work perfectly.
Featuring a plush sofa from made.com, on-trend kitchen lighting by Tom Dixon, kitchen worktops by Caesarstone, Ca’ Pietra’s Lilypad tiles as a splashback, and a wealth of connected gadgetry, this showroom is not so much about viewing displays – it’s more about experiencing them.
Based in London’s Whitechapel, Unruly was founded in
2006 with a mission to transform advertising for the better, and helps the
world’s biggest advertisers engage global audiences by harnessing its
data-powered video marketplace. By using emotional testing and over a decade’s
worth of video data, it also helps advertisers to deliver better targeting and
higher campaign ROI at scale. The company has its sights set firmly on the
future of advertising, so keeping tabs on future trends is what Unruly is all
On display in the kitchen is Samsung’s smart fridge – the Family Hub – which enables the user to create shopping lists, buy food, organise the family schedule, and even see who’s at the door via a large touchscreen on the fridge.
Bixby voice control makes it possible to ask the fridge to show its contents, to read out recipes step by step, to take dictation, and play music. All the user needs to do to activate it is to say the Wake Word, and then the command.
The fridge can also flag up when the user is running low on particular products, and is then able to do a price comparison search on that product at different outlets.
Also on show is the Smarter coffee machine, which offers a totally personalised experience. It lets you customise the strength of your brew, and will remember the name the cup is brewed for so it stores the preferences.
It can be operated remotely from anywhere in or outside the home via the Smarter app, and works with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control, and ultimate ease of use for the time-poor consumer.
It can be linked to other connected home devices too, such as lighting, so that it is switched on when the user turns the lights on in the morning.
‘smart’ mirror is also on the horizon, and the prototype on display at the Home
offers a personalised service with potential to help with selecting a
particular outfit for a specific occasion. There is even scope for it to
suggest outfits that it’s found online.
opportunity that such technology brings for brands to reach consumers in their
homes is obvious, but it also brings challenges. The traditional wander through
the aisles will be replaced with a series of AI-curated requests for ‘eggs,
butter, cling film’ and brands risk being marginalised if they do not act to
take full advantage of what the connected home has to offer. The need for
innovative product development or strategic partnerships – above all truly
creative thinking – is clear.
People book tours to visit the Home for a number of different reasons
“Some want to understand how audiences will consume media in the future home, while others are more interested in the opportunities for brands in the new ambient technologies. Once people have visited the Home, we try to find ways that we can work together and plan new products or services,” explains Unruly futurist, Elena Corchero.
“The Home is a fantastic space to see where advertising, brands, data, tech and design converge – and this makes it easier to see the exciting opportunities that arise when these different worlds collide,” says Corchero.
The transformation of the bathroom into a lifestyle room is a key trend being highlighted at this year’s ISH. With this in mind, the ‘Pop up my Bathroom’ trend forum will present ‘Colour Selection’ showcasing current colour trends in interior design and showing how these create new possibilities for the sanitary sector.
In this interview Jens J Wischmann, CEO of the German Sanitary Industry Association (Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitärwirtschaft, VDS) and curator of the ‘Colour Selection’, explains why colour is such an important topic for the next evolutionary step in bathroom design and defines the possibilities arising from the new openness for colour and lifestyle.
Interview by Emma Hedges
TM: Tell us about the Pop Up My Bathroom section at ISH 2019 and why it is particularly relevant this year.
JW: Colour has always been an accompaniment at our ISH trend forum, but not a topic in its own right. We’ve mainly taken a functional, society-oriented approach to the bathroom over the last few years: at ISH 2015, for instance, the Pop Up My Bathroom motto was “Freibad”, and the forum focused on the idea of a multi-generational bathroom. At ISH 2017, our communications were all about the megatrend of individualism and personalisation.
For ISH 2019, we’ve identified 12 current colour trends. The most important insight is that if colour is used as a key design element in a lifestyle bathroom, one basic shade or colour combination has to play a leading role. That results in a colour collage, and all the other materials and surfaces have to contribute to this one basic theme and harmonise with one another.
TM: Which social developments will be highlighted in the Pop Up My Bathroom section as having had an effect on bathroom design?
JW: Our choice of topic – colour in bathroom design – is based on a development in society as a whole: the desire for personalisation. That’s the trend driver in the bathroom too. And colour is an ideal tool for personalising the bathroom. Whether I opt for a subtle colour combination or strong contrasts – whatever I decide, the choice of colours is a deliberate act. At ISH 2019, all sorts of things are possible in the bathroom: from pastel hues all the way to green or grey, which is still very much the favourite.
JW: In German-speaking countries, the meaning of the word ‘wellness’ has changed; as a factor that contributes to personal well-being, it’s taken on a more active character that includes everything from sport, work-life balance and stress management, all the way to healthy eating concepts.
Because of its special status, there’s no question that the bathroom serves as an important retreat in every home – and that makes it a private spa where there’s more to wellness than “just” fragrances and creams. It’s still a place where you can turn the key in the lock and be on your own. And there’s another development that’s making itself felt: the bathroom is playing an increasingly important role as a fitness area.
TM: Which other design trends do you
think will be coming to the fore in 2019?
JW: The “blue element” – water – is the connecting thread in the new health-focused bathroom: showers with numerous jets or multifunctional hand showers get tired muscles moving again.
The shower toilet is starting to play an increasingly important role in northern Europe too: the hygiene-focused bathroom is all about convenient hygiene for the entire family – and rimless toilets, innovative finishes and touchless products can also help transform the bathroom into a private spa.
There’s a lot happening “behind the wall” as well. In addition to better technical possibilities for soundproofing, the way water is dispensed in the house is changing as digitalisation advances. The benefit: precise flow control and temperature regulation.
Lighting is another area that’s producing an abundance of innovations for the bathroom. It looks set to become one of the trending topics – especially as the new developments we can expect make a strong impact and are guaranteed to attract attention.
Besides providing functional light for all sorts of different needs, professional lighting design can also underscore the snug character of a bathroom by creating decorative effects as well.