15 January 2011

Greetings from the International Builder's Show

Greetings from the Orange County Convention Center in finger-splittingly cold Orlando Florida. Actually, I'm already on my way home by the time you're reading this. These last three days have been spectacular. The new stuff I saw, the great people I met up with, it's been a real whirlwind.

Of all the great things I saw, there are a few that really stood out. The first is Brizo's new lavatory faucet called the Siderna. In addition to being really beautiful and sleek, there's a lot of sophisticated engineering hiding underneath it.

Check out this handle.

What's really wild about it is that those handles don't have the typical set screws that lock down a handle. Instead of set screws, the handle's held in place with really strong, rare-earth magnets.

It took the jaws of life to pry this handle off. I never would have guessed that a magnet could hold a faucet handle in place, let alone hold it in place so tenaciously.

Thanks to Brizo's generosity, I have seen that Siderna before, but only as a prototype. The last time I saw it was about a year ago when it was a working model. It's a rare and cool, cool thing to watch a product go from an idea in an industrial designer's head to a real product that anybody can buy.

From Merillat, I saw their new Pantry Corner, corner base cabinet. The cabinet industry has always been a very top-down industry when it comes to innovation. New, interesting products, start at the top of the market and work their way down. Merillat is a budget-friendly, value cabinet line. They're a well-built cabinet and they're sold at a price point that can't be beat. Typically, their notable innovations have come from things like that price point or the fact that they have a five-day production time. Five days for made-to-order cabinets. That's pretty innovative.

Well, this time, they're turned the tables a bit and they've come up with a corner base cabinet that the high-end, custom brands will be following.

This is the Corner Pantry.

It's a corner cabinet with three, very deep drawers in the center.

On each side of the drawers, there's a pull-out storage cabinet that's large enough to actually use.

Very smart and a much more efficient use of a kitchen corner than a lazy susan.

A week ago, I ran a couple of posts on a new series of laminates from Formica, the 180fx series. Prior to Wednesday, I'd only seen samples and a real highlight of the show was seeing 180fx laminates in person.

That they look so spectacular on photos is not a PhotoShop trick, Formica is in the throes of turning the laminate world around and in doing so they are reinvigorating and unfairly maligned product category. So bravo to the Formica Corporation.

I'll probably have another blog post or two about IBS 2011 and then it's off to Germany for IMM and a series of factory tours that have been arranged for me and five of my pals by Blanco sinks.


  1. Ooh fab to see new products! Off to Germany... WOW... even more FAB... Enjoy! Fifi

  2. Paul thanks for showing us those great highlights!!

    I especially love Merillats corner cabinet... No more wasted space, or killing yourself to reach in the back of the cabinet! Love innovation. Always appreciate you globe trotting for us! :)

  3. Fifi: It's not Italy and it's not France but I'll take it!

    Ronique: I love globe trotting for you more than you know. It's a tough job but somebody has to do it. :)

  4. Re the corner cabinet ... finally .... one that makes sense. -Brenda-


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