FOCUS | The year ahead

‘Consumers will be cautious with their spending’

New for 2021:

Rotpunkt Zerox in split oak and black steel

‘Hybrid design will be huge’

Matt Phillips, head of UK operations at Rotpunkt, has some solid tips for products that he predicts are going to make it big in the coming year

Q & A

Q: Where do you think the industry will go over the next 12 to 24 months? A: As we continue to adapt and change our relationship with the home, I believe the kitchen will remain a key focus for the modern homeowner and hybrid kitchen design is going to be huge in 2021/22 – being able to support contemporary lifestyles, which has become increasingly home- centred. Our present way of life has led to a new frontier for contemporary kitchens with growing demand for sustainable furniture solutions, which are high-specification and designed to facilitate a range of disciplines like cooking, dining, entertaining, home office and day-to-day living.

Q: What do you think so will be the main

challenges going forward? A: I would like to see more collaboration between manufacturers

that we can offer property

developers and homeowners alike integrated solutions, and ensure that sustainable products can be available at all prices. There is also scope to educate consumers about the benefits of choosing sustainable furniture and to ensure that it is clearly labelled so consumers and installers can see its provenance. We have anticipated this by creating our own KitchenID sticker.

Q: What will be the main areas for growth product-wise? A: If 2020 has shown us anything, blended living has become second nature in the home and in 2021 trends will continue to embrace the kitchen and living area as one space. We are holding prices in 2021 to support retailers and show our commitment to the Rotpunkt family in the UK. Industry forecasts indicate that versatile pieces

of furniture that bring comfort and create a more flexible home environment will top the charts, like glass storage units with integrated smart lighting, wall and ceiling storage systems through to all-inclusive islands with space to cook, dine and do business.

Look out for geometric, block-style furniture 32

that, if well-planned, will make a feature of horizontal and vertical lines and be used to visually expand the height and/or width of kitchen spaces. Linear profiles will play an important role, and this will influence furniture with special elements like notched cabinets, flush-fitting plinths, custom panelling and statement gable ends. Canopy-style storage solutions are set to be the

go-to architectural statement, helping homeowners optimise their kitchen space by making use of the floors,

walls and ceiling. Hero products will

include innovative hanging storage suspended from the

ceiling, which will add architectural detail, as well as extra shelving space and new planning options for the central island unit and built-in extractor systems. The use of colour is restrained and purposeful, with colour and material being used to create a contrast between two opposing finishes, like a planked raw timber set against coal black furniture. The KBB industry is one of the most vibrant and innovative in the world with many inventive responses to climate change and the pandemic. Surfaces that promote new levels of hygiene and sustainability are going to influence the future of post-Covid kitchen design, and I believe special treatments and new laminate finishes that ensure a high resistance against scratches and chemicals, along with anti-fingerprint properties will help minimise the spread of unwanted germs on kitchen surfaces.

Q: How would you rate your confidence in your business over the year ahead out of 10? A: Our research shows that eco-credentials continue to be a growing concern for buyers. These concerns have been part of our business philosophy for decades, so we are uniquely placed to serve today’s ethical consumers, so I have to give us a solid 10.

Our second-generation materials that are

recycled or imitation from concept are providing a great alternative for achieving the latest kitchen designs

without harming the environment.

Laminate solutions are perfect for this, with metal and timber effects becoming the most versatile options when going green.

Washbasin from RAK Ceramics in cappuccino

Ben Bryden, sales and marketing director at RAK Ceramics UK, believes

consumers may be cautious but that independent retailers offer a personal experience that they won’t get anywhere else

foreseeable future, as the pan- demic shows no signs of abating, with people continuing to invest in their properties. We also


ome comforts will remain a priority

to consumers for the

predict that consumers will be

cautious with their spending, not wishing to overextend themselves financially. It is, therefore, going to be very important for manufacturers and retailers to be able to demonstrate quality, longevity and variety in their offering, to make any investment justifiable.

I think, and certainly hope, consumers will be focused on supporting small businesses and their local retailers in 2021, so this really is the perfect time to pull out all the stops and convince them to purchase their new bathroom from you. A bathroom is a really big investment and an emotional purchase too, so consumers are looking for a retailer they can trust to lead them through the journey, with product choice obviously playing its own important part in this. Independent retailers are well positioned to offer consumers the personal experience they are looking for, which can’t be found with the multiples or with an online purchase. Retailers need to make the most of this now. Bathrooms need to be luxurious spaces to retreat and enjoy some time for ourselves. Trends are reflecting this, with glamorous brassware finishes, sanitaryware in soft shades that offer an alternative to crisp white, walk-in shower areas and hotel-inspired, large-format tiling.

· January 2021

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