Bigger crowds come out for Kitchen & Bath Industry Show

08_biggercrowds_01The National Kitchen and Bath Association's 47th annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) drew more than 37,000 attendees April 16-18 to Chicago's McCormick Place. It featured nearly 700 exhibitors showcasing their latest products.

Brian Pagel, vice president of the kitchen and bath group for show producer Nielsen Expositions, says attendance exceeded expectations, creating a sense of optimism that was missing from last year's show.

The three-day event brought together the industry's top dealers, designers, builders, remodelers, retailers and other professionals directly involved in the design and remodel of residential kitchens and bathrooms. Pagel emphasized that woodworking professionals can benefit from the show's educational offerings.

"The content that NKBA puts together resonates across the platform of industry professions. So whether you're a woodworker, a remodeler, custom builder or designer, there's going to be something there that's appropriate for them. The networking is very important as well, along with just seeing the trends," says Pagel.

10_biggercrowds_01"KBIS is about custom and semicustom products, not standard cabinetry. So I think the inspiration side of it would definitely come into play as far as trying to see the trends out there. That's going to be difficult to find anywhere but the KBIS event."

Pagel says the show's underlying themes fell into the 'green and sustainable' category. He also witnessed a resurgence of the 'buy American' theme. Other trends were across the board.

"Stainless steel is still very chic, very in. But you're seeing different materials out there as well. Copper is one that has emerged over the last few years. I think it's all about how those materials play into the greater design," Pagel says.

"High-end designers are pushing the envelope a little more and trying things that maybe normally wouldn't fit or that hadn't been tried before. Some of the more standard or mainstream materials are the stainless look, but brush and copper finishes are very big - there has been a bit of a resurgence in brass."

Next year's KBIS will be held April 26-28 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For information, www.kbis.com

This article originally appeared in the July 2010 issue.