Walking the aisles of the International Housewares Show this week, I had to ask myself if there is really any excuse for offering poorly designed household product at retail any more. The design bar started to rise in the 1990’s and this show confirmed that it certainly hasn’t stopped since. Good design is a core expectation that I saw being met in both after booth at the Housewares Show.
Was this the most trend-forward show I have been to this year? To be honest, it was not. I saw enough post-peak damask designs to last a lifetime, not to mention a cardboard bin that shouted its $2 gadget message in loud colors and a dated font. And Black and White was still out in force.
Yet I also saw Gray, in multiple values that often combined in a single product or pattern, debuting in both Classic and Contemporary styles that confirmed this neutral’s salability for the next 12 – 18 months. Patterns pushed things ahead as well. Designs featuring ultra-thin lines showed up more than once, especially on dinnerware. There was also an important exploration of form taking place—one that is moving in parallel with Europe’s innovative forms—that made products from gadgets to mixing bowls to tableware look better than ever.
Over the next couple of days, I will share some of the materials, directions and products that caught my attention in Chicago and made my trip there worthwhile.