Electrolux brought high concept to the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS), held here last month at McCormick Place.
The centerpiece of its mammoth exhibit booth was the Electrolux “Live-In Room,” a functional whole-house vignette used to dramatically illustrate how kitchen usage is spilling into adjoining rooms throughout the home. The space was inspired by the company's State of the Kitchen Report, a recent phone survey of 1,024 American households in which nine out of 10 respondents said they are involved in some other activity in their kitchen besides cooking — from paying bills and doing homework to practicing musical instruments and working on the computer.
What's more, more than two-thirds of adults said they use their kitchens, rather than their living or family rooms, to socialize and entertain guests.
“People are telling us that all things that used to happen in other parts of the house — like eating in the dining room, entertaining in the living room and napping in the den — are moving into the kitchen, said Keith McLoughlin, CEO of Electrolux Major Appliances, Americas. “The Electrolux Live-In Room is our interpretation of what the future holds in terms of the kitchen. Tomorrow's kitchen is moving beyond the bread and butter basics — the room we cook and eat in — to the high functioning heart of the home. It's the space where we entertain, relax, work and play.”
To bring home the point, the demo space boasted everything from a baby grand piano to a tepanyaki grill built into the countertop, along with the latest suite of stainless-steel Electrolux Icon appliances. New Designer Series introductions included two induction cooktops, two drop-in gas deep sump cooktops, two electric cooktops, a built-in microwave and two vent hoods with 1,000 CFMs.
Electrolux also is adding a new high-speed oven to its all-stainless steel, restaurant-style Professional Series line, which features high performance, design-focused products including refrigerators, an ice maker, a wine cooler, cooktops, convection wall ovens, freestanding dual-fuel ranges, warmer drawers, range hoods, dishwashers and outdoor kitchens.
“With modern life converging in the room 'formerly known as the kitchen,' great design has never been more important,” added McLoughlin. “Consumers say they want their heart of the home space to be comfortable, inviting and highly functional and are looking for a suite of appliances that blend in vs. stand out. That's where thoughtful design comes in.”
Elsewhere, on the Frigidaire front, the company showed its new, competitively priced Affinity front load laundry line, which began shipping earlier this year. With an opening price point of $799 for the washer and $599 for the dryer, the pair is available in glacier blue, platinum ice and arctic white finishes.