Trends for 2012 (and 2013)

Jan 24, 2012 - Declan Hogan

Have you ever wondered where trends begin and who decides if they are going to become standard in all of our houses?

Well, in kitchen terms the answer can be found in Milan – the fashion capital of the world.

Every 2 years the largest kitchen manufacturers in the world gather together in a convention centre down the road from the San Siro stadium. The result is an enormous exhibition of concept kitchens that extends to 1 kilometre in length.

Here, the various companies present their new designs, colours and creations that they propose for the coming seasons. Distributors and agents from all over the world trawl through the various stands, make notes, broker deals and decide what displays to import for their market.

Of course, the ubiquitous Chinese man and his camera are never too far away!! He spends his time snatching pictures every time a security person’s back is turned.
From my experience, it takes 6-12 months for these concept kitchens to become mainstream in Italy and France.

We however are a little more reticent to embrace new designs and concepts, so it takes 18 – 24 months for them to be accepted in Ireland and Great Britain.
For example, one of the highlights of the show 2 years ago were the new acrylic colour combinations from the Italian manufacturers. (see image)
The strong combinations such as aubergine and white caused a huge stir and they rolled out in showrooms across the continent within 6 months of the show.
These kitchens are only becoming popular here now. They will continue to be popular for the next year or two long after the continent has moved on to the next big thing.

So, how do you beat the trends and have a kitchen that will be fashionable for longer than 2 years?

I have received an advance preview from some of the main exhibitors of what they are presenting this year. The consistent theme for this years show is cool matte colours. Chalky smooth to the touch and earthy in colour. The predominant colours are light brown, soft grey, coffee and white. Also, there is some bad news for handle manufacturers – most of the kitchens are handleless designs.
Kitchens are gradually taking a more architectural look with emphasis on horizontal lines and moving away from the traditional base unit / wall unit combinations.

cucine LUBE have given me permission to reproduce my favourite image (see below).
For further examples of concept kitchens presented at the show, visit

This years eurocucina fair runs from the 17th – 22nd April.
The last exhibition will be rememberd by all who attended, for the ash cloud that stranded us for the week. After 4 days, I eventually got a lift in a 1995 opel astra from Italy, over the Alps, through Switzerland, across France and eventually to Le-Harve port (not the most comfortable car in the world!).

Lets hope that Iceland keeps a plug on its volcanoes this year!