Hello! I hope the New Year is treating you well. After a bit of a trade show hiatus, I popped into Orlando mid-January with the team from Modenus, Blog Tour sponsors DXV, Grohe, American Standard, Metrie, Mohawk, Thermador, Wellborn, Wilsonart, and 23 other designers, for Design and Construction Week (DCW) 2017.
DCW combines the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) with the International Builder Show (IBS), and offers designers, architects, builders, and trades the chance to see the latest innovations in everything from knobs and hinges, to sinks and tubs, to roofing and flooring all under
one — scratch that thought, it was actually under three roofs.
Our mission on this trip was to explore the massive halls of the Orange County Convention Center to discover the latest and greatest product innovations at KBIS. You’d think after so many attending so many design trade shows, my choice of footwear would be a wise one. Having only one bone jarring day was a blessing — I came really close to getting it right this time — and must admit, having missed the last two shows, I seriously underestimated the amount of growth and the number of new suppliers in the home building industry.
The kitchen, bath, and building scene is booming, y’all!
Upon hitting the convention floor (a beast that deserves its own comfort footwear line), it became clear why there were 24 designers on this trip. There are so many vendors vying for their share of the market, our job was to divide and conquer in order to report back as much as we could with our clients and readers.
I’m usually ready to head home after three days of exploring new product, but actually felt like I needed more time on this trip! There was so much to see, another two days would’ve done the trick. There was surprisingly little overwhelm and lots of oohs and awes, all duly noted for next year.
I spent at least half of one day exploring the booth of tour sponsor DXV. It is the luxury division of LIXIL Americas:
LIXIL Americas is the business unit under which American Standard, DXV, and GROHE operate. LIXIL Americas is part of LIXIL, the most comprehensive and connected global company in the housing and building industry. Operating in 150 countries and employing 80,000 people, LIXIL’s mission is to bring together function, quality, and design to provide better living solutions to the world today and for future generations.
At LIXIL, we use the power of water to make things that matter for people and communities around the world. That’s why we embrace quality, design, engineering, function, and reliability – a maker’s mindset and common purpose shared across our brands and throughout our history.
It’s safe to say LIXIL knows water and the DXV brand knows luxury. They know how to build a buzz too.
In 2013, the geniuses of the North American marketing team decided to launch a social media program they named “#topsecret.” They kept it under wraps for months, after choosing six designers to create sets using DXV themed plumbing suites as inspiration, to be photographed and used during the brand’s showroom launch.
Obviously, it’s not a secret anymore so I can share what I was witness to in 2014.
In New York City with an international group of designers, we attended the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, Wanted, and NYCxDesign. Foot cramp. These fabulous events all coincide for a reason, to give designers the chance to see what’s new from the usual suspects and get the opportunity to meet up and coming makers without making three separate trips to the city.
The marketing team at DXV saw opportunity in syncing their grand opening with the other major design events going on that week. Their flagship showroom is in a boutique space on W. 20th Street, in the Flatiron District. On a humid evening in May, we made our way to the reception. By that time, #topsecret’s buzz was so loud, the crowd was SRO, unless you were smart enough to snag a bathtub.
The launch was a smashing success and DXV just announced the Design Panel for 2017 at a reception held in the Social Lounge at KBIS. It was an SRO event too. After past designers were introduced, I stood in the back and teared up as two friends and two other designers were introduced to the crowd. Who’d believe kitchen and bath business would make you cry in a good way?
Part of the excitement came from truly being overjoyed for the new Panelists, while the rest came from a new twist the company added this year.
The gurus behind the original launch of #topsecret made videos of the spaces for the flagship opening and for promoting the 2014/2015/2016 design teams and the products they used in their projects. The showroom was so crowded opening night, I’m not sure how many people got to see the videos that night. (They are beautiful and all online for viewing on DXV’s YouTube channel)
The 2016 team lucked up. Instead of just photographing and disassembling the photo sets, an expensive undertaking, DXV decided to keep parts of the sets to use during trade shows. It was a genius idea, as booth design is an important draw in such a crowded field.
The 2017 Design Panel definitely has its work cut out for it, with six months to execute from concept to completion, but there is also so much to look forward to, as the realized sets from 2016 were a big hit with the kitchen and bath crowd!
You’ll find snaps of my favorite elements from DXV’s booth in my Instagram feed. I took a ton of photos, but there were things from the original photo and video shoots that didn’t make their way to Orlando. (It’s beg and borrow for styling sometimes, y’all.) I really want you to see and appreciate the full concept and understand each designers design and intent, so my images won’t suffice.
Take a quick tour of all four spaces with the 2016 Design Panelists themselves, all inspired by cities with a unique flair, then meet me in the comments to share your favorite space or ask me any sourcing questions.
Here we go!
Inspired by Miami:: Genevieve Ghaleb for XYContemporary
So tell me, do you have a favorite style or did any particular elements strike a chord with you? Maybe you’re like me and love a little bit of this, and a whole lotta that. It doesn’t make us crazy, because the designs are so well thought out, it’s pretty hard to choose. Let’s say we are eclectic and call it a draw. Or, we could go draw something.
Your choice. Either way, it’s January and that means we all flex our muscles for a few weeks, so let’s work it out in the comment section.
Wishing you a beautifully designed New Year,
Disclosure:: DXV/LIXIL was a sponsor of BlogTourKBIS 2017. No products or favors were exchanged for this blog post. As always, all opinions are my own and long winded.