Europe has long been a bellwether for cutting-edge kitchen and bath designs, so what trends are we seeing from the continent today?
The importance of Europe as a hotbed of product development and design cannot be overstated—or overlooked. We can thank the continent for many of the current popular kitchen and bath trends, such as floating vanities, wall-hung toilets, in-wall flushing systems, linear drains, and large-format ceramic tiles in any number of designs.
Usually, trend ideas migrate west to New York City and Los Angeles and then filter to other American cities such as Chicago and Miami before they become popular in most regions. In the old days, this took some time, but ideas are reaching our shores a lot faster, as the global trade, travel, and design blogs have shrunk the world.
Made from solid surfacing, this round handmade lavatory is the world’s first bowl with an internal siphon, the company says. It makes it possible to mount the basin on a shelf or on a cabinet without having a siphon in sight. It’s available in five colors.
But why does Europe have such a strong reputation for producing great design and cutting-edge products? Designer Manuel Saez has a theory: Most countries in Europe have state-funded programs to support and promote design, he says.
Saez believes many European countries have populations that have design awareness and high corporate investment. As a result, consumers have higher expectation for good design, and manufacturers are forced to meet the demand—which is a stark contrast to the American market, he says.
“The American population is hard wired with a quick fix, ‘bigger-is-better’ mentality,” Saez wrote on fastcompany.com. “We are supporters of mega retailers that sell products that are cheap in terms of both price and aesthetic quality. This lack of design awareness has left American consumers with a different set of values and buying criteria. We do not ask—or demand—to buy good design because we do not understand what good design is.”
The Classic 2.0 is a cooktop that has an integrated downdraft. Users operate the unit by simply moving their finger up or down. The cooking surface offers enough space for four pots measuring up to 24 centimeters.
But American acceptance and demand for good design have improved significantly and has accelerated in the last 10 to 15 years. Architects, builders, and consumers are looking for cool design, which is why European products and European trends hold such currency here.
So what’s on the horizon? Look for more modern kitchens with cutting edge materials, ultra-thin countertops, and more wall-hung cabinets. Industrial-style faucets with exposed connections are returning, and customization is on the rise. More kitchens are blurring the lines between the living room, with hidden compartments for storing appliances and hiding sinks.
Like here, modern design is dominating the products coming from places such as Germany, Spain, and Italy—and even from The Netherlands and France. At last year’s Eurocucina show in Milan, manufacturers showed more modern wall hung-vanities with two legs to provide a hybrid look.
The Base is a minimalist composite shower tray that measures as little as 1 inch. It comes in a variety of textures and a range of colors and can be specified with a non-slip surface.
Matte surfaces—in faucets, hardware, and surfacing—are growing in popularity and faucets with multiple finshes are growing.
In the bath, look for nature-inspired modern design in stone and wood and more ceramic tiles that take the appearance of textiles, metal, and wood.
There many new ideas and products coming from the European market, but here is a sample of some you will see in the coming months and years.
The Cluny 1800 cooker is equipped with five rings (gas, electric, electric ceramic or induction) which can be complemented at either side by gas, electric ceramic or induction rings, deep fryer, grill, flat-top grill, or multicooker. Vertical warming ovens are located on both sides the two ovens.
This freestanding oak wood tub features several layers of a special wax oils that protect the bathtub against moisture. The impregnation process takes 10 days.
The Château 150 is equipped with two gas-electric ovens and two large storage drawers. It has a stainless steel cooktop that can be configured to suit the homeowners’ needs.
Powered by four AA batteries, this minimalist kitchen faucet can be activated by touch or it can run as a normal mixer by disconnecting the touch feature. A beep sound indicates a low battery warning.
Moon is a freestanding washbasin that made from curved wood. It features one drawer and comes in a variety of lacquered and glossy colors.
This freestanding bathtub was carved entirely out of a single boulder.
The Vortex lavatory faucet features a unique hollow cyclic outlet that sucks in air to to create a waterfall effect and that’s visually appealing, the manufacturer says. It also helps to save water.
Inspired by Tuscany and its history of metalworking, the Fiorentina freestanding range featurees high-performance burners that can be configured in a number of ways. The burners are made of brass.