Attending a trade show may sound like a mundane adventure unless, of course, that trade show is in Milan, Italy. Last month, Delta designers Alejandra Lazarini, Ben Stoler and Maris Park traveled to the fashion capital of the world to attend the EuroCucina, and its secondary event, FTK Technology For the Kitchen. Here, the designers share their experiences and make us wish we had gotten to tag along.
Stoler says attending a trade show is “one of the best ways to immerse yourself into the creative world. You see what many other professionals are doing right now, what they think is important and interesting and where they plan on going in the future.” The 117 companies presenting at EuroCucina showcase the best in modern European kitchen designs, each embodying, according to organizers, “technological innovation, next generation performance, energy efficiency and ease of use.” FTK Technology For the Kitchen is just that—48 companies exhibiting “state of the art technology of built-in domestic appliances, with models, prototypes and concepts.”
For the Delta team, this trade show brings its own special brand of inspiration. “It is always a pleasure to get to see trends developing right in front of your eyes. It’s very inspiring to see what other industries are doing, mostly in a market that’s different from the U.S.,” Lazarini says.
For Park, approaching this trade show requires a strategy. “Though good design is timeless, forecasting trends is a vital supplement to design,” she says. “Trendspotting throughout markets is a personal hobby that I’ve always been drawn to. Cross-analyzing personal research with trade show findings can spark so many new ideas.”
This European trade show is especially interesting for the Delta designers because European and American kitchen design is not the same. “European design is focused on smaller spaces, looking for ways to save space and sometimes even hiding the kitchen space for a minimalist look,” says Lazarini. “American kitchen design is more about traditional trends—less about minimalism and more about making the [environment] practical and warm. [European faucet] handles are more diminutive in both the kitchen and bathroom.”
When asked about their favorite items from the show, Lazarini and Park (unbeknownst to each other) selected the same thing. “The most memorable of products was this table top that at first looked to be only a wooden slab,” says Lazarini. “After looking closer, you could see these square markings going from small to large. These were actually tactile controls for the intensity of the induction cooking surface that was masked as wood! The slab was actually a cooktop!”
The experience of the trade show doesn’t end when the designers return home—inspiring ideas resonate long after the event has ended. Stoler notes that his future work will be influenced by the “more intangible aspects of Italy … like ‘living smaller,’ or with less, and prioritizing higher functionality, quality, and design.” For Park, the European inspiration already exists. “The trip to Milan has already influenced design at Delta Faucet,” she says. “The timelessness and class of the city and the modern, distinctive design displayed at the show resonated with me. All were designed with others in mind. I aspire to bring designs [to Delta Faucet] that are unapologetically unique and disruptive but are still appealing to many.”
We can’t wait to experience the results.