Ambiente offers not so much a snapshot of trends as a whole album, says Sarah Selzer in her second report from the Frankfurt show.
If you want to look and buy right across the board – from cookware and kitchen accessories to tabletop and even furnishings – it’s all there at Ambiente. The show doesn’t seem to stop on the stroke of 6pm like at home either. Lots of companies continue to do business, often accompanied by music (in the cookware hall 3.1 the sound of a live band came from the Meyer direction) and the clink of champagne glasses (KitchenAid was buzzing!).
Not that I’m jealous – I , like a fair few UK housewares industry figures, had my own invitation to the launch of the New York Gift Show’s new name, NY Now, hosted by show organiser GLM in a hotel opposite the fair. DuPont was holding another event and no doubt many others were too. Unrivalled networking.
On the cookware front, my advice is don’t pass up the opportunity to see how the big boys do it – or how any of them do it. The main cookware show was around halls 3.1 and 3.0, lots of lesser-known (in the UK at least) brands nestling side by side with the more familiar names – Berndes, Beka, Swiss Diamond, Demeyere, Zwilling, Rosle and Amefa as well as Le Creuset, Meyer, Whitford and Horwood.
It’s a wealth of stainless steel, cast iron, aluminium, non-stick (and lots of ceramic non-stick gaining ground) and colour. German brand Silit was majoring on just that, with mustard yellow, apple green and emerald on anything from pressure cookers to frypans.
Emerald seemed very prevalent wherever you went – Pantone has named it Colour of the Year 2013 so expect to see more of it. Pantone products were on the Room Copenhagen stand, which also had a brilliant collection of Lego storage, as in kitchen storage which looks like Lego bricks, and the iconic Paul Frank Julius the Monkey licence on placemats, drinks bottles etc. All available in the UK.
Scandinavian design of the old school variety (mainly neutrals) was very much in evidence from companies like Normann, plus reindeer prints and lots of stylised antlers too (or in the case of our own Just Slate, a real pair to flag up that Scottish heritage).
Ambiente presented plenty of inspiration: original kitchen and home storage from US company Madesmart, including a range of damask-patterned washing up drying mats; the super smart Monbento lunch and snack boxes from France (and hopefully in the UK very soon); lots of Vietnamese and Indonesian bamboo products (also seen at Maison); the slightly bling WunasiaBe Cool cool bag ranges in silver and gold (I’m sold!) from Germany; and, not to be outdone, the French Ice.Bag (watertight and recyclable transparent PVC in colours); a great drinks makers range from Finum, Germany (another brand looking to get into the UK) including double-wall travel tumbler Zita and other products with patented USPs like Brew Stop and Tea Control.
Last but not least, a gorgeous range of ceramics, glass and cookware from China, that has managed to combine a Japanese and Scandi twist – JIA, just starting out in the UK.
Roll on February 2014!