The accent is clearly on the premium segment of the major appliance market here at the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS), as manufacturers triangulate on the most active sector of an otherwise moribund business.
The luxury leanings are evident on the show floor this week at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Among those strutting their high-end stuff is Bertazzoni, the Italian manufacturer of precision-engineered cooking products, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Its Professional Series platform features bold colors and exclusive triple-ring burners that generate up to 15,000 Btu, while a dedicated simmer burner allows for delicate cooking.
Also cooking up new product innovations is BSH. Its Bosch unit is debuting a new collection of high-capacity wall ovens while its sister Siemens brand is unveiling a new collection of "attainable luxury" majaps including a touch slide cooktop. Meanwhile, the manufacturer's Thermador unit has given its Professional Series wall ovens a new modern, chiseled look, while Gaggenau is touting the first back-lit LCD control panel fully integrated into an all-glass oven door.
Elsewhere, Capital Cooking boasts the first motorized rotisserie system built within the oven cell, plus a new sealed-burner system that simmers at 140 F and then sears up to 19,000 Btus. For outdoor entertaining, Kalamazoo is offering a novel charcoal, wood and gas hybrid grill; Danver has completely redesigned its outdoor kitchen cabinets; and Fuego expands upon its industry-first island grill with an electric model.
Within the microwave category, Sharp Electronics is showing its full line of patent-pending Insight Pro microwave drawers.
On the laundry front, Fagor's Driron wardrobe unit removes moisture and wrinkles from freshly washed garments in two hours, while Haier's innovative Genesis washer uses a shower rinse spray in place of an agitator to get clothes cleaner while using less water.
In refrigeration, Perlick is celebrating its 90th year with two new undercounter lines: the C-Series, inspired by the company's commercial heritage, and a 15-inch series that features a 15-inch beer dispenser and refrigerated drawers.
In range hoods, Sirius is showing its expansive Italian-made luxury line; Wind Crest is unveiling a sleek new designer collection along with an induction cooktop; Vent-A-Hood is displaying both its traditional and new contemporary collections, the latter supported by a just-launched national advertising campaign; and Zephyr celebrates its first decade of fashion-forward hood design.
Noticeably absent from the show floor is Electrolux. According to a company spokesperson, the timing of K/BIS didn't jibe with the vendor's product introduction calendar, and the maker of Icon and Frigidaire majaps has decided, not for the first time, to sit the show out.
Next year K/BIS returns to Chicago's McCormick Place from April 11-13, 2008.