Category Archives: Trade Shows

Tile Trends Spotted at Cevisama 2019


Cevisama, Spain’s international tile fair, has become a key date in the calendar for those tracking global tile trends. Taking place this year from 28th January to 1st February, it attracted around 91,000 professionals from 155 different countries, with 120,000sq m of show space dedicated to 793 companies in total.

Here are 8 key tile trends that we spotted at the show, and a preview of the top tile trends that you’ll see emerging over the next year.

Tile Trend #1: Ageing Beauty

Wabi sabi – the Japanese lifestyle trend of embracing a life less perfect and finding beauty in items as they grow old, was making its presence felt at the show. Tiles mimicking rusting and corroding metal, peeling wallpaper and moss growing on stone were on display – the ageing look was everywhere and testimony to the ever-evolving technology now available to tile manufacturers. Particularly effective were the Forge and Patchwork products on the Saloni stand.

Tile Trend #1 – Wabi sabi, the Japanese lifestyle trend of embracing a life less perfect and finding beauty in items as they grow old, was making its presence felt @cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #2: Artisanal Appearance

As the current quest for imperfect perfection continues, ceramic tiles convincingly imitating a hand-made look were being showcased on several stands. Vives, Natucer and Peronda’s Harmony brand were among many that were displaying products that sought to recreate an authentic artisanal feel, and give the illusion that each tile is a handcrafted one-off.

Tile Trend #2 – Tiles that seek to recreate an authentic artisanal feel, and give the illusion that each tile is a handcrafted one-off @cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #3: Marvelous Marble

Last year was all about the large-format approach to marble lookalikes, and there were still plenty of those epic tiles in evidence. However, as tile renditions of marble continue to gain popularity because of their practical benefits compared to the real thing, also making an entrance were fragments of marble and small marble tiles in delicate shapes – an intriguing new take on a traditional look.

Tile Trend #3 – Small marble tiles in delicate shapes – an intriguing new take on a traditional look @cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #4: Giant Terrazzo

Terrazzo tiles re-entered the style arena at Cevisama 2018, but this year they were getting the maximalist treatment. Terrazzo patterns with great chunks in bold, contrasting colours were making an impact at the show, with Harmony’s Slice tile in Dark Green demonstrating just how dramatic the terrazzo effect can be.

Tile Trend #4 – Terrazzo patterns with great chunks in bold, contrasting colours were making an impact @cevisama this year #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #5: Wood Effect

Wood-effect porcelain tiles were still enjoying the spotlight this year, after a hugely successful outing in 2018. The practical benefits and ease of maintenance of tiles over the real thing make them an attractive alternative in kitchen and bathroom settings, with Grespania’s Rioja wall and floor tiles recreating the aged and worn look particularly effectively.

Tile Trend #5 – Wood-effect porcelain tiles were still enjoying the spotlight this year @cevisama, after a hugely successful outing in 2018 #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #6: Colours and Shapes

A playful approach to colours and shapes was in evidence, particularly on the Harmony stand. One of the brand’s latest collaborations is with design studio Stone Design, who have created the Twinkle collection. By taking a square tile and replacing one corner with a curve, and then placing four tiles with the curve together, the effect is of a twinkling star. The Dash collection in collaboration with Raw Color also plays with pattern in a cool, contemporary way.

Tile Trend # 6 – A playful approach to colours and shapes was in evidence @cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #7: Thinking Pink

There was more colour in evidence compared to last year’s exhibition, with soft or pastel pink making a surprise entry as one of this year’s hot new shades. It was being used either as a bold accent or colour pop, or as colour blocking in a scheme combined with other tiles, as on the Vives stand, with its Hanami Rosa range.

Tile Trend #7 – Soft or pastel pinks made a surprise entry as one of this year’s hot new shades for tiles @cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #8: Making a Point

The hexagon, which garnered a huge following in 2018, was still making an appearance on most stands but there were other elements starting to creep in too, in particular the angular, pointed shapes of the triangle and the diamond. Natucer devoted substantial stand space to demonstrating the surprising number of effects that can be achieved by placing the simple triangle shape in different laying patterns.

Tile Trend #8 – Triangle and diamond shapes take over from the hexagon at Cevisama 2019 @Cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet
Add to Project(1)

Influencer Interview – Elena Corchero, Futurist at Unruly


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?

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? @ElenaCorchero @unrulyco Click To Tweet

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.

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 connect to your doctor or trainer. @ElenaCorchero @unrulyco Click To Tweet

This was also evident in the pet industry. We know that more people have pets, and there were companies at the show launching automatic pet toilets that also one day will monitor pets’ health.

Fascinating to see that there are so many other problems in the world but technology is focusing on where the money is, and we know that pet owners invest a lot!

Fascinating to see that there are so many other problems in the world but technology is focusing on where the money is, and we know that pet owners invest a lot! @ElenaCorchero @unrulyco Click To Tweet

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.

I really believe in all this technology moving with us, and allowing us to be more nomadic – more free and flexible. @ElenaCorchero @unrulyco Click To Tweet

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.

Add to Project(0)

Key Surface Design Trends Spotted at Surface Design 2019


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 forests.

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 is wasted.

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


Add to Project(0)

The Future Kitchen: Alfredo Häberli’s vision for LivingKitchen 2019


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.”

Alfredo Häberli

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

Alfredo Häberli

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.

View the Future Kitchen Brochure and Topics >

Add to Project(1)

Influencer Interview – Jens J. Wischmann, Curator of Pop up my Bathroom at ISH 2019


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.

It’s our impression that colour is an overarching theme in interior design and reflects the bathroom’s increasing links with other areas of the home – Jens J Wischmann @ish_frankfurt #popupmybathroom Click To Tweet
Pop up my Bathroom ISH 2019

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.

Our choice of topic – colour in bathroom design – is based on society's desire for personalisation. That’s the trend driver in the bathroom too – Jens J Wischmann #popupmybathroom @ish_frankfurt Click To Tweet

TM: Is the Wellness trend set to stay for the time being?

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.

The meaning of the word 'wellness' has changed; 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 – Jens J Wischmann… Click To Tweet

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.

The bathroom is playing an increasingly important role as a fitness area – Jens J Wischmann #popupmybathroom @ish_frankfurt Click To Tweet

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.

The way water is dispensed in the house is changing as digitalisation advances. The benefit: precise flow control and temperature regulation – Jens J Wischmann #popupmybathroom @ish_frankfurt Click To Tweet

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.

Add to Project(0)

Influencer Interview – Richard Bradbury, Managing Director, Hard Surfaces trade show


Hard Surfaces is a new trade show for 2019.  Co-locating with the Natural Stone Show on 30 April, this show highlights the latest products and trends in the rapidly developing field of hard surfaces. 

Trend-Monitor talks to Richard Bradbury, Managing Director of QMJ Group the show organisers, about the reasons behind the decision to launch a new trade show.

Interview by Emma Hedges

TM. Tell us about the changes in the market that have led to the launch of the new show.

RB. Many sectors of the stone supply industry no longer supply natural stone only. It started with engineered quartz – Silestone, Caesarstone, Radianz – that the granite kitchen worktop suppliers added to their palette, albeit reluctantly at first but later with enthusiasm as it grew the market for them.

Quartz is cut and worked on the same CNC saws and work centres as granite worktops. Once their initial reluctance had been overcome, many found the move into other products easier and the same stone companies now encompass glass products and the new ultracompact surfaces, such as Dekton, Lapitec, and Neolith.

Others have encompassed porcelain products, which now come in large-format sheets. Some have also taken on board products such as Corian and Hi-Macs, although these are used in different ways and are often thermoformed. When they bought thermoforming equipment they found quartz can also be bent in this way.

Although hard statistics are not available, market sources are clear that quartz alone has at least doubled the kitchen worktop market for companies that were originally granite worktop processors.

Market sources are clear that quartz alone has at least doubled the kitchen worktop market for companies that were originally granite worktop processors - Richard Bradbury, MD QMJ Group, organisers of the Hard Surfaces trade show… Click To Tweet

TM. How has technology influenced the surfaces landscape?

RB.The expansion of the range of products used has grown the market, with hard surfaces taking – and continuing to take – market share from laminates in the worktop sector, where laminates still account for about 80% of installations, so plenty to go for.

TM. When it comes to kitchen and bathroom design, what are the key emerging trends?

RB. Quartz is the big mover, although ultra-dense surfaces and porcelains are growing. People like the look of white marbles in their kitchens and bathrooms but, in kitchens in particular, marbles present problems because they are relatively soft and, being essentially calcium carbonate (limestone), react with acids. There are a lot of acids in food and they can stain and etch marble unless it is well protected. Man-made products overcome this problem.

There is also the growing trend for industrial chic – the look of metal, concrete, and wood that has spent the past century in a factory. The real materials could present hygiene and processing problems. Man-made quartz or ultra-dense products achieve that look without the problems.

There is the growing trend for industrial chic – the look of metal, concrete, and wood that has spent the past century in a factory - Richard Bradbury, MD QMJ Group, organisers of the Hard Surfaces trade show @hardsurfacesuk Click To Tweet

TM. Are there any wider social trends that are influencing consumer buying behaviour when it comes to surfaces?

RB. In the consumer market, which is where many of the more innovative surfaces are used, people tend to modernise or upgrade when they move, so house sales make a difference.

Kitchens are a significant element of the living area of houses these days, used for so much more than simply food preparation. Bathrooms, too, have become more about fashion statements in recent years. People want hard surface worktops. They want tiles on the walls and floors, both natural stone and man-made. They like behind-tile heating and the thermal mass of stone and porcelain make it efficient. With the Government committed to increasing new builds to 300,000 units a year and there being no indication that the desire for natural and engineered stone horizontal and vertical surfaces is diminishing, I think we can be fairly certain that the growth in this sector has some way to go yet.

Kitchens are a significant element of the living area of houses these days, used for so much more than simply food preparation - Richard Bradbury, MD QMJ Group, organisers of the Hard Surfaces trade show @hardsurfacesuk Click To Tweet

TM. What can visitors to the new show expect to get out of it?

RB.  While the Natural Stone Show is still the main event, it was decided to create the new show to highlight all the new materials now available .  As well as the exhibitors, we are including a feature in Hard Surfaces called Innovation Meets Design. It is being curated by MaterialDistrict – probably the world’s leading match-making platform for innovative materials – and will include 136 innovative surfaces. These are hard surfaces at the cutting edge, and most people will never have seen them before. We hope they will excite and inspire designers and fabricators.


Add to Project(0)

Bathroom Design Trends Spotted at Sleep+Eat 2018


It was a big year for the Sleep + Eat Event – not only was it the first time it had exhibited at Olympia, having previously been located at the Business Design Centre, but it was also the first time it had added the ‘+ Eat’ element to proceedings.

But while it’s now also about restaurant and bar spaces, the two-day show in November remains the go-to bathroom design destination for architects and designers from all over the globe – Trend-Monitor did a tour of the show to find out what’s trending in the bathroom sector.

Trend No.1 Wellness

Wellness has been at the forefront of bathroom design for some years, and is not going away any time soon. Dornbracht’s new Aquamoon ‘multisensory water experience’ was being shown for the first time in the UK and took centre stage on the company’s stand.

Dornbracht Aquamoon

Featuring three different flow modes, it also offers changing mood lighting, and marketing co-ordinator Alison Clarke explained that hotel designers are now incorporating spa elements in hotel suites, rather than reserving them just for the spa area of the hotel. She envisages this trend filtering through to the residential market and family bathrooms too.

Grohe, founder sponsor of the show, was highlighting its SmartControl shower systems. The Rainshower System SmartControl 360 DUO features a lozenge-shaped head shower that mirrors the width of the human body to deliver a shoulder massage, while the Bokoma Spray has two pulsating spray patterns to provide a head massage.

GROHE SmartControl Shower System



Hansgrohe was exhibiting its Intense PowderRain technology – a soft spray, which consists of dozens of micro-fine sprays, that is both completely drenching and extremely pleasant.

Hansgrohe Intense PowderRain

Wellness has been at the forefront of bathroom design for some years, and is not going away any time soon Click To Tweet


Trend No.2: Multigenerational

The trend for multi-generational products continued to be in evidence in the form of flush-to-floor shower trays, a wealth of new shower-toilet models that are making their way into the UK market, and products that could be adapted to suit different needs.

Also in evidence was the concept of the bathroom as a communal space. VitrA’s latest designer collaboration is the Plural collection by Terri Pecora, which envisages the bathroom as a social hub where people reconnect with themselves and those close to them. The organic-shaped elements can be used in multiple combinations, and angled to face each other, so several people can use the bathroom at the same time in a sociable way.

Plural 4 by Terri Pecora for VitrA

Trend No.3: Individualism

Consumer demand for products they can adapt and create a bathroom environment that is bespoke to them continues to grow. Grohe’s SmartControl shower system enables the user to preset the temperature and enjoy a tailored showering experience via the broad choice of spray options. It also offers EcoJoy – an eco-friendly/water-saving function.

Vado’s Sensori SmartTouch technology allows you to save your temperature, flow and operating time to create your ideal shower every time you use it.

Vado Sensori SmartTouch

The growing appetite for individualising interiors style was also evident at the show. The Axor MyEdition collection offers 15 special FinishPlus surfaces with which to adapt brassware. Crosswater was also trialling different marble handle options to customise its brassware, and shower manufacturers Merlyn and Roman were offering a broad selection of finishes to customise their hinges.

Crosswater Concept

Trend No.4: Soft Matt Surfaces

When it comes to colours, there was a tentative move into the grey and soft pastel end of the colour spectrum, with a particular emphasis on matt finishes.

Bette was showcasing its new Blue Satin effect on its BetteLux Oval Silhouette bath, which is also available in other colours and 22 matt options.

BetteLux Oval Silhouette bath by Bette

Kaldewei was exhibiting its Miena washbasins, which are available in a range of neutral matt shades, and it was also showing its Perfect Match bathroom solutions shown in Oyster Grey.

Kaldewei Perfect Match Oyster Grey Matt

Alape’s Terra group of delicate washbasins were being shown in four soft pastel shades with a matt finish. 

Alape Terra

Black – last year’s favourite finish – was still in evidence on the VitrA and Victoria + Albert Baths stands, and also in Crittall-effect shower enclosures in Roman’s and Novellini’s displays.

When it comes to colours in the bathroom, there is a tentative move into the grey and soft pastel end of the colour spectrum, with a particular emphasis on matt finishes. Click To Tweet

Trend No.5: Slim Shapes

As new materials and production techniques evolve, basins in particular are being produced with the slimmest rims that technology allows. On display on the Dornbracht stand were Alape’s Aqua range of washbasins, which are made from steel and then given a gloss glaze.

VitrA’s Plural washbasins also feature slim rims, and were on display accompanied by tall slender brassware to go with them. Meanwhile, Laufen was showcasing the capabilities of its SaphirKeramik in the new Sonar range designed by Patricia Urquiola. The material is extremely strong and is able to tolerate being shaped into thin but robust walls.

SaphirKeramik in the Sonar range by Patricia Urquiola for Laufen


Find out about the trends from all the UK and overseas Trade Shows here>


Add to Project(0)

Interior Design Trends spotted at 100% Design 2018


100% Design is the cornerstone event of The London Design Festival. Held at the Olympia exhibition centre between 19th and 22nd September 2018, this trade event is a vast showcase for more than 400 architects, product designers and interiors specialists.

Dividing the exhibition centre into areas for the workplace, interiors, emerging brands and for those working in the construction and architectural industries, the fair hosts product launches for decorative lighting, furniture and fittings as well as providing a platform for newcomers.

Trend-Monitor went along to find out how the key trends in interiors are looking as we head towards 2019

Interior Design Trend #1. Plywood

The material of the moment at this year’s 100% Design was definitely Plywood.  It featured everywhere from kitchens to bathrooms, from furniture to screens, as the main feature or as detailing.

X-Ply Desk



Stacked Coffee Table by Studio Hemal Patel


Odd Dot


Interior Design Trend #2. Laser Cut Detailing

Another key trend which crosses the different areas of the home, laser cut detailing was seen at 100% Design this year in both interior and exterior applications.

‘Airflake’ deadens noise whilst letting in the light


Handcrafted lighting by Neb Abbot


Laser cut panels by Stark + Greensmith


Interior Design Trend #3. Curvy Concrete

Concrete is revealing another side to its nature; the softer, curvaceous and sometimes colourful side.  As the trend for concrete in interiors develops, the use of natural fibre concrete is moving this increasing popular material into thinner, more elegant shapes.  And the addition of colour extends its appeal to a wider interior audience.

Natural fibre concrete ‘Seater’ by Tina Rugelj at Concrete Garden


Waxed concrete based decorative surface by Design-Concrete

Interior Design Trend #4. Bamboo

As a beautiful, tactile and sustainable alternative to wood, bamboo is growing in popularity and at 100% Design the focus was on it’s suitability as a kitchen application.


Moso bamboo surfaces


Real Green is the UK’s first fully sustainable and accredited kitchen furniture range and it’s manufactured entirely from solid bamboo.  Real Green also carries globally recognised certifications for its use of sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.

Real Green’s bamboo kitchen


Interior Design Trend #5. Natural Embossing

Here we see two key interior design trends combined, the use of natural elements such as leaves and flowers to create detailing in the form of embossing.

Botanical Glass Casting by McGuire Glass


Lichen Carpet Collection by the Mohawk Group


‘Frozen Leaves’ metal finish by Metall-FX


And finally …

We couldn’t leave 100% Design without mentioning Pluck and Hug by guineapig.  These soft, tactile oversized bulbs are ‘huggable’ and the harder you hug the more they light up and glow.

And lets face it, who couldn’t do with a hug every now and again.


Pluck & Hug by guineapig


Pluck & Hug by guineapig



Add to Project(0)

Bathroom Trends Spotted at Salone del Mobile 2018


The International Bathroom Exhibition at Salone del Mobile in Milan is where tomorrow’s bathroom ideas and concepts are conceived. This year’s edition saw 243 exhibitors set up stands in an area of 20,600 square metres, showcasing a huge array of products geared to rest and relaxation.

In it’s seventh year as a standalone exhibition, the innovative focus was on sustainability. Cutting edge products for modern bathrooms reflected today’s strong demand for efficiency and energy saving, with the accent on water efficiency, indoor pollution prevention and personal health.

Here are the top eight bathroom trends we spotted.


Bathroom Trend #1: More is more

Is less still more? The notion that good design is rooted in simplicity has been widely accepted since the 2000s. However, it’s all change now, because maximalism is powering into the bathroom with vivacious colours, graphic patterns and unapologetically luxurious pieces.

For her second collaboration with Bisazza, India Mahdavi has turned the traditional clinical white bathroom on its head with sanitaryware in three exuberant colours: pistachio, blueberry and strawberry (shown). To complement the bathroom collection, Bisazza and Mahdavi also plan to launch Pinstripe, a new mosaic pattern that takes its design cue from its namesake.

This overtly pop aesthetic – a recurring trait in Mahdavi’s projects – was also adopted by Glass Design for its radical Ettore Sottsass basin. It’s a fitting tribute to the man who inspired it.

The Mahdavi collection in strawberry by India Mahdavi for Bisazza is rewriting the rules.


Glass Design’s new Ettore Sottsass basin is fashioned from glass and features a bold pattern befitting of its inspiration.


Bathroom Trend #2: Unexpected forms

Most bathroom designs are content to play follow my leader, but a few step up to challenge design stereotypes. The reward for bravery is attention – sometimes positive, sometimes negative. But, as Oscar Wilde said, ‘The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.’

As we jostled to see the debut of Paolo Ulian’s Intreccio marble washbasin for Antoniolupi, the reaction around us was mixed. For our part, we fell in love at first sight, not least because in the course of investigating the relationship between an ancient material and new processing techniques, Ulian has successfully forged a fresh approach to basin design.

It was a similar story on the Oasis stand, where the launch of its Plissé freestanding basin caused quite a stir. Crafted from opaque white ceramic, Plissé takes a fashionable approach to interiors with its cinched-in waist to better accentuate its pleating. It’s not one for the minimalists, but haven’t they had their say already?

The shape of the Intreccio basin by Antoniolupi recalls that of a wicker basket. Designed by Paolo Ulian, it’s seen here in marble.


Fashioned from white ceramic, Plissé from Oasis features a pleated ‘body’ that’s cinched in at the waist with a gold or chrome metal ring.


Bathroom Trend #3 Going green

Nowadays, the influence of nature on design is less of a trend and more of a given. That said, the connection appears more pronounced now than previous years. Take green, the colour most synonymous with nature and the great outdoors. In 2017, greens were all light, bright and leafy. Since then, the colour has taken a darker turn, adopting a more masculine feel.

Bette’s BetteLux Shape bath is an excellent case in point, shown in a new Forest finish that changes shade depending on how the light falls. This gives the glazed titanium steel from which the bathroom specialist manufactures its designs an optical depth that makes it look almost alive.

A dark green bath isn’t for the faint-hearted. In light of this, Ritmonio has gone green (but on a much smaller scale), casting its Haptic showerhead in eight colours, including Amazzonia.

Forest lends a nature-inspired look to the BetteLux Shape bath from Bette.


Made of concrete, the Haptic showerhead from Ritmonio is featured in Amazzonia, one of eight colours from its ‘World’s colours’ collection.


Bathroom Trend #4: Ode to orange

What are your thoughts on burnt orange? Too bold? A bit brassy? If you’re cautious about colour, you might be tempted to give it a miss. However, used sparingly, a pop of burnt orange injects warmth into a restrained aesthetic.

Consider, for example, Kartell by Laufen’s accessory collection, now available in an expanded colour palette including burnt orange. Paired with white sanitaryware, it adds a palpable joie de vivre to a space without overpowering it.

For a more muted take on orange, look to matt finishes that absorb light rather than reflect it. The result is understated elegance. Once again, Ritmonio has nailed it with its new range of colours. Shown below is Sahara.

Kartell by Laufen has boosted its accessories range with burnt orange.


The Haptic tap by Ritminio features a concrete handle in Sahara, one of eight colours from its ‘World’s colours’ collection.


Bathroom Trend #5: The beauty of black

Orange is not yet the new black when it comes to bathrooms. In fact, black is still around in all its sleek and stylish glory. Pair it with metals to add a touch of glamour to your bathroom; offset it with white to work the classic monochrome look; contrast it with a bright colour to make your scheme pop.

A few of our favourite black designs from Salone del Bagno include:

The metal insert is not only a beautiful design feature of the Tao washbasin by Kreoo, but it also simplifies production. The sectioning of the washbasin allows Tao to be carved from multiple small blocks of marble, reducing the waste of material.


All elements of Devon & Devon’s Black Diamond collection are made of turned brass and black ceramic, and are distinguished by elegant diamond-edged black glass jewel ends. Available finishes in addition to chrome include light gold, polished bronze and nickel.


Bette dabbled in the dark side and showed BetteLux Shape in its new Midnight finish.

Bathroom Trend #6: A question of personal taste

There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to decorating a bathroom in 2018. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you choose as long as you pick pieces that speak to you.

Perfectly timed to chime with this spirit of personalisation is MyEdition from AXOR, a new collection of taps created in collaboration with Stuttgart-based design studio Phoenix that’s designed for those who want to be different. The taps can be customised in a choice of materials including the usual suspects – metal and marble – as well as a couple of more unexpected options, wood and leather.

For its 25th anniversary, AXOR presented AXOR MyEdition, a new dimension of individualisation developed by Phoenix Design.

Bathroom Trend #7: Rest and relaxation

Customisation isn’t the only way for individualism to manifest itself in the bathroom. It takes place behind the scenes too. Take digital showers, which cut out the need for temperamental manual controls to achieve the perfect water temperature. Instead, you can set temperature at the touch of a button.

Digital showers are just the beginning. Glass1989 presented new additions to its SpaRituals collection, including the Mawi bathtub, which boasts SkinSublime, which fills the water with oxygen-rich micro bubbles. These are said to improve cellular regeneration, stimulate collagen production and combat free radicals that cause skin ageing.

Meanwhile, Kos debuted its Quadrant Pool Relax by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba. A mini infinity pool suitable for indoors and outdoor use, its features include the Milk system, which releases tiny oxygen particles into the water, turning it from clear to milky white. Kos claims that the system helps tone muscles, stimulate skin hydration and restore tired bodies.

New additions to Glass1989’s SpaRituals collection included the Mawi bathtub.


Ludovica + Roberto Palomba designed the Quadrant Pool Relax for Kos. It’s suitable for both indoors and outdoors.


Bathroom Trend #8: Living bathroom

Trends seen at trade exhibitions don’t become mainstream overnight. Some bubble under the surface for years before becoming mainstream. Take the living bathroom, the idea that the bathroom is another living space and should be treated as such. This thinking has been the subject of many a trends discussion (and has subsequently filtered into luxury homes) but it’s still a new concept for the majority.

What helps the cause is when big brands pick up the mantle. Cue VitrA, which unveiled Plural, its new living bathroom concept, at the exhibition. Created in collaboration with American designer Terri Pecora, Plural introduces the bathroom as a social hub where people meet and reconnect with themselves, their close friends and family. To signify the sense of warmth and domesticity, Pecora has conceived organic-shaped design elements in neutral colours and wood finishes that can be used in multiple combinations to form a personalised intimate setting.

“At VitrA, we wanted to create a new methodology that responds to the recent evolution of the bathroom ritual,” explains Erdem Akan, design director at VitrA.”We focused on the time spent in the bathroom and our interaction within the space rather than the products.”

Plural by American designer Terri Pechora for VitrA comprises organic-shaped elements in neutral colours and wood finishes.



Add to Project(0)

Kitchen Trends Spotted at Eurocucina 2018


Eurocucina is the international showcase for all that’s coming next in kitchens. A key element of Milan’s Salone del Mobile fair, this year’s edition hosted more than 100 kitchen companies. And among the large number of exhibitors, there were some distinct trends on view.


Here’s a snapshot of these kitchen trends …


Kitchen Trend #1. Storage gets flexible

Manufacturers were taking a fresh approach to storage, making the best use of space, including turning the splashback – an otherwise underused area – into a flexible storage solution.

Rossana and Scavolini both combined open shelving, compartments and glass storage that ran the whole width of the prep and sink area, while Valcucine’s Genius Loci kitchen featured a dedicated area of illuminated storage that can be concealed when cooking’s finished.

This emphasis on flexibility shows how manufacturers recognise that the best cooking happens when people aren’t constrained by kitchen layout. Keeping some items on display and others hidden means we can tailor our kitchens to our own cooking preferences.

The HD23 kitchen from Rossana was shown with storage that made practical use of the splashback


Snaidero’s new Link kitchen features I-Wall, a functional storage system that sits between worktop and wall units.


Kitchen Trend #2. A new take on frosted glass

Open shelving has become a popular look, as it means we can put favourite pieces on display. However, when those pieces need almost daily cleaning, the look becomes less practical. The solution? Ribbed, embossed or patterned glass that keeps shelves feeling open but items dust free.

This look was everywhere at Eurocucina, including on the stands of TM Italia, Poliform and Ernestomeda. Designers have incorporated it into wall units to mid- and full-height units, and as everything from frosted to painted-on lines (Elam) and even backed with fabric (Cesar and Rossana).

Including lighting within the storage is another nod to practicality. Items can remain either in shadow or fully on view in a display that also brings mood lighting to the kitchen.


The Rua kitchen from TM Italia embraced industrial style, including ribbed glass doors reminiscent of those found in factories.


The bronze-look, aluminium framed ribbed glass doors in this larder unit are from Ernestomeda’s Inside System of storage units and walk-in cupboards.


Kitchen Trend #3. Dining room

Every island unit now seems to include space for a seating area, even if it’s just a small breakfast bar. But in Milan, kitchen designers had taken this to the other extreme by adding a full-size dining table. Some of these were level with the island but others were table height and designed to seat for an extended family gathering or dinner party.

Rather than having a separate formal dining table, why not keep the dining close to the action? Dada and Porcelanosa showcased two notable examples.


From the Emotions range of kitchens by Porcelanosa, this impressive solid wood table will comfortably sit 10 people.


Hi-Line6 from Dada contrasts a stainless steel island with a large wooden dining area that sits offset at the end of the worktop.


Kitchen Trend #4. The hidden kitchen

This one isn’t brand new for 2018 – but it’s worth mentioning because it was still very much a growing trend at this year’s show. In fact, the option to hide away the working areas of the kitchen isn’t just a good idea for small spaces but for all open-plan kitchens.

The Monolith kitchen from Comprex and Scavolini’s Box Life were two examples of the many that used full-height pocket doors. These completely conceal elements of the kitchen from the rest of the room and slide out of the way when the room’s in use. In a crossover with the frosted glass trend, Ernestomeda featured a kitchen partially hidden by full-height ribbed glass doors.


The Monolith kitchen from Comprox features tall units of eucalyptus veneer that conceal the appliances and storage behind pocket doors.


Designed for open-plan spaces, the Box Life kitchen from Scavolini keeps the kitchen concealed behind full-height bi-fold doors.


Kitchen Trend #5. Everything to hand

From Cesar and Ernestomeda came a new concept in keeping everything within easy reach. We’ve coined the term ‘hanging rail’ to describe it since that’s what it is – a structure that provides lighting over the hob and can be used to hang all your favourite utensils just where you need them. You could also see it as a pared-down version of a batterie de cuisine from a professional kitchen.

Some manufacturers have extended the trend by adding compartments and shelving to create open and suspended storage. For example, Dada’s VVD handleless kitchen featured a compact steel structure of shelving down the centre of the island to define the working area and provide handy storage but maintain a sense of openness.

With no storage underneath, the table-like Williamsburg island from Cesar needed alternative solutions on its worktop – hence the hanging rail.


The hanging rail in the K-Lab kitchen from Ernestomeda provides task lighting for the cooking and prep area of the island.


Kitchen Trend #6. Multi-functional extractors

Extractor hoods are subject to trends just as much as the rest of the kitchen. They tend to be either hidden away or decorative and meant to be seen, particularly when they’re sited above an island. But a third version was seen over and over again at Eurocucina – the large, multifunctional extractor that doubles as open storage.

Made from metal frames and glass to keep their looks light, these are also the perfect area for extra storage. Some were used for purely decorative items, but others held herbs and cooking utensils, creating another practical space. Nolte, Poliform, Ernestomeda and TM Italia all had examples of this trend.


Large, industrial-style island hoods with lighting and shelving were a feature of several Poliform kitchens.


The extractor in this TM Italia kitchen holds just a plant but could be used to keep pots and pans to hand.


Kitchen Trend #7. Real and faux metallics

Stainless steel has always been a popular material thanks to its hardwearing finish and professional look, and it was everywhere at the show – though in several guises. For example, Poliform fooled the eye with an ingenious worktop that looked and felt like embossed stainless steel, but was in fact porcelain. Warmer metallics in brass and bronze added glamour to the doors of Valcucine and TM Italia.

For the most beautiful and unexpected use of stainless steel, hats off to Xera. Its kitchens are made entirely from stainless steel, but this has been put through a process to bring out its natural nickel and chrome. The result is doors with copper and brass shades as well as more usual brushed silver tones.

Xera brings out the beauty of stainless steel in its hand-polished and moulded Lingotto island unit.


Valcucine’s Artematica kitchen is shown here in a new distressed brass finish that complements the Antalya grey stone used for the worktops.

Kitchen Trend #8. Drawers without fronts

This might sound like an unfinished kitchen, but drawers made from just of the drawer box created an interested storage solution on a few stands. The ‘no front’ drawers created a contrast between the natural wood and whatever doors were used in the rest of the kitchen.

Dada used this treatment to create a row of drawer trays along the non-working side of an island unit. Meanwhile, Schüller broke up the painted finish of an otherwise fairly traditional kitchen with this ‘unfinished’ drawer front.


Pull-out trays were not only a useful addition to the VVD design from Dada, they also broke up the grey stone of the island.


The Vienna kitchen from Schüller reinterpreted country style with the contrast between lava black paint and wooden tray drawers.


Add to Project(0)