Chicago is a wonderful town. A friendly city with easy transportation, beautiful hotels and delicious food. Every year in late march, Chicago hosts the International Home & Housewares Show and there is no way we could resists.
Our schedule was full of meetings with both clients and manufactures. The show was phenomenal. Heavy hitters and startups lined shoulder to shoulder, filling McCormick Place. The constant buzz of sales teams and presentations fueled our drive to see more.
In the kitchen and bath, Aluminum is everywhere. Prices are being pulled lower and lower while at the same time demands for better designed products are around every corner. Aluminum is still relatively new in the bath and the transition from steel is not yet complete. Award winners at the show included stamped aluminum made to look like cast, but is that where the market is headed?
I tell clients, follow the trends as aluminum options open, you will see welding and new extrusion processes. There is room for so much more. As industrial designers, we follow trends in design, function, brand and costs to make sure we are offering our clients the best options available. And don’t assume we are only looking in bath. Options in bicycle manufacturing, introduced back in 1990’s might prove applicable for next year’s approachable, bath products.
As we talked with sales teams and manufacturers reps, trends toward color and slim lines overlapped. Slow-food inspired cooking and relaxation products lined portions of the show, all geared toward today’s busy consumers. Pantones beautiful color collections, highlighting greens and bold combinations reminded me that a background in art will not be lost on upcoming products.
As we settle back in at the office, existing contacts have new life and stronger relationships. New contacts anxious to get started on the next project are lined up. As I type, interns’ interviews are being arranged to help DesignBranch meet our client needs and fuel the next generation of designers.
Get ready, there is always something new around the corner.