For this week’s CE Pro Podcast, we have a fun editorial roundtable recap of last week’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) 2022 event that took place in Orlando, Fla., and featured a strong return-to-in-person attendance in conjunction with the co-located International Builders’ Show, drawing roughly 70,000 to the Orange County Convention Center.
I spoke to Kitchen & Bath Business (KBB) magazine executive editor Chelsie Butler and editorial director of DesignWELL365, Nicholas Boever, about all things KBIS 2022. Each of us had various perspectives from our industries, and our discussion covered everything from new products, trends, programming and the overall show experience – for Boever and myself it was our first time attending the event.
We all agreed that the vibe at KBIS 2022 was amazing, as attendance far outpaced our expectations and followed health and safety guidelines. Industry professionals were keen to be back in person – seeing and touching products – interacting with peers and attending presentations and programming up close and personal.
Everywhere you looked, there was something else to see, and some of the overarching trends included hygienic options for the unexpected like dishwashers and faucets that operate with a mere gesture – and bidets were EVERYWHERE. Wellness was prevalent in things like air quality, anti-microbial surfaces and more options for senior generations.
Several brands are taking sustainability seriously and offer options to cut down on water and energy waste. Technology – even if not fully integrated in a home – is growing in popularity, including quieter range hoods and garbage disposals, water and lighting control that makes the bathroom a spa-like retreat and appliances that are using AI to create usage patterns for things like cooking and clothes drying.
“It was definitely a very stimulating experience,” says Boever. “Just being able to sit in on some of the demonstrations and talk to the different sellers, the designers, the integrators – there were a ton of different people at the show – being able to get a read on how things were going after only reading about it was an amazing experience.”
Editorial Board Meeting, KBIS 2022 NeXT Stage Sessions Offer Key Insights
The KBB Editorial Advisory Board meeting also took place during KBIS 2022, and it was a platform for Butler and a cross-section of the design community to discuss solutions for dealing with supply-chain issues and managing customer expectations. We also covered wellness, technology and luxury and how those three movements have gained momentum during the pandemic; I sat in on the panel as well and was struck by how similar the integrator and designer businesses and clientele are in dealing with common challenges and needs.
Boever moderated a wellness-related panel during the event, and I was joined by members of the custom integration community for a Control4-sponsored session on the KBIS NeXT Stage focused on how and why designers should connect with professional tech experts to provide their like-minded clientele streamlined and robust systems. My panel featured Josh Christian of the Home Technology Association (HTA), who even outlined a smart home budget calculator that designers could use, plus integrators Heather Sidorowicz of Southtown Audio Video and Melanie Niemerg of Integral Systems.
For my “tech integration possibilities” panel, we all visited a number of booths to also provide session attendees some of our favorite picks and included companies such as Kohler, Beko, Nasoni, Natufia, Perlick, LG and more – with solutions ranging from bathroom retreats’ controls to smart refrigerators, indoor gardens, nitro-infused coffee dispensers, appliances and beyond.
On the last day of KBIS 2022, Butler led the annual Discovery District Tour to introduce design professionals to upcoming brands that featured a bunch of innovative and simple options in appliances, heated flooring and bidets – among other products.
Finally, the podcast covered Butler’s interview with the 2021 KBB Person of the Year, designer Cheryl Kees Clendenon. Her selfless desire to help small businesses, colleagues and staff is a key attribute to her being chosen for the award.
Hear more from the editors by watching or downloading the CE Pro Podcast episode above. Find past episodes of the CE Pro Podcast by subscribing to the CE Pro YouTube channel or our Apple and Spotify podcast feeds.