With 25 years of experience in the Kitchen & Bath industry, Bob has led our team of 16 designers at our award winning Design Centre for the past 9 years. Bob is heavily involved with our local home builders’ association (GOHBA), as well as with the local chapter of the NKBA. Bob carries a passion for hockey in his spare time along with his wife and two boys.
Design Line EuroCucina 2018
It all began in Santiago de Compoestela, Spain with a visit to Finsa, a global distributor of raw MDF, particle boards, melamine, wood veneer board, along with flooring and kitchen components. The sheer size and volume was overwhelming. The largest surprise, which of course should not be, was the automation along with the cleanliness of the factories. “You could eat off the floor” Matt said and then we almost did later that day when we had a wine tasting right in the middle of their wood veneer mill in a glass presentation room that would not compare to some showrooms. The quality was amazing including the options of colour, textures and every wood grain you can imagine.
Next we were off to Venice, Italy to be hosted by Premline, a leading expert in high end decorative surfaces. They offer innovative products based on PET materials and the result is 100% made in Italy quality, which was no surprise following a full day Venice tour with the family owners. This is where the sightseeing came in… Venice is a place everybody should experience at least once in their life. Once again, visiting the factory was first class as was their hospitality, their products and finishes, and a mirror like product amazed us all including a lot of industry veterans.
We certainly were not prepared for the next treat on our way to Milan, this time by bus, where we had a beautiful pit stop at an amazing resort in the Italian Countryside of Bardolino on Lake Garda. Arca Risto and Grill were our hosts for a few hours and to watch the sunset before departing and hitting the bustling city of Milan ahead of Design Week and EuroCucina.
I’ve been to the Kitchen and Bath International Show in a Las Vegas and Chicago a few times, but nothing like what I was about to see once I arrived at the Salone de Mobile, to find out that the kitchen show called EuroCucina was in 4 halls and the bath was in 2 but there were 24 halls in total. Walking in awe once again and trying to take in the sheer size of this show, I was then taken aback by the first few booths that I saw behind large 2 story walls that seemed to go on for a couple of city blocks and housed not 1 or 2 displays in them, but at least 10 and some up to 15 or 16. Booths included reception and hospitality areas that looked like full restaurants, as well as meeting spaces that were massive. Matt and I tried to soak it in then step in and start to explore the displays by opening doors and drawers then realizing another day or two would be necessary or at least a better plan heading in and making a better decision on which companies to visit.
We were already told by Finsa and Premline, along with Weston, that we would see a lot of black and walnut at the show and they were bang on because it was everywhere. Wood was definitely the theme as there was lots of it everywhere including walnut, but shocking to see a lot of painted oak as well. A lot of wood look-a-likes in melamines and laminates also as prefinished seemed to be the way to go. Still tons of grey tones but no whites and very little blue. Some pastels and no high gloss, but matte everywhere. A lot of moving parts with some automation and large islands with counters that always got larger. Brushed brass decorative hardware was seen with some neat accessories but no doubt again that the highlight and biggest trend was metallic open shelves with glass on the uppers and everything accessible.
We had a chance to catch up with a couple of our quartz suppliers in Milan, Caesarstone and Cosentino, which was nice and at the same time we learned that the entire city of Milan takes part in design week including stores, showrooms, bars, restaurants with many events taking place across the city, not just the Convention Centre. Therefore, the streets were lined just like the show and I would highly recommend any interior designer make their way to Milan for this week once in their lifetime too.
Following a few days at the show we were then introduced to Cleaf, the third and final manufacturer we would meet and visit on our trip. They were close to Monza where Matt and I stayed and the first thing we see arriving at their beautiful facility was a robotic lawnmower cutting the grass. They produce innovative surfaces for the furniture and design industries including kitchens and bathrooms. They make melamine faced panels, laminate and edges to be specific, which was great to see along with their C-Cube inspiration gallery. It included 4 areas: City, Forest, Desert and Glacier to explore and feel their products and colours. What a neat idea and a great way to market to designers and architects as we all fell in love with their samples.
I can’t say enough about the people we met along the way and unfortunately I can’t name them all here either, but our industry partners that we got to network with along the way were fantastic and not enough can be said about our two hosts in Tony and Tyler, as they were wonderful and took care of us always. I’m not only a better person now that I have done this trip, but I’ve learned a lot and am inspired and looking forward to continuing to lead our fantastic team here at Deslaurier with new trends and ideas as well.