K/BIS 2007 brought together more than 900 exhibitors and 40,000-plus national and international industry professionals. The show included specialty showcase and learning areas focused on green design, kitchen and bath technology, and outdoor living.
Two mini-seminars put on by the NKBA dealt with green design and universal design, respectively. Architect Robert Blakeman talked about some of the recent green design projects he has worked on, including what he called an urban adaptive reuse project in New York, where things like green roofs and geothermal heating and cooling helped to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent. He noted that the market has changed in green building, partly due to the fact that Wall Street has now embraced it.
Designer Drue Lawlor talked about the many ways universal design aspects of the home, including the bath and kitchen areas, can be made accessible to those with physical, visual and/or hearing impairments without compromising on design. Items such as grab bars, which used to be very institutional-looking, now are much more aesthetically pleasing. But she emphasized that universal design is not only for those with disabilities - its premise is to make the home comfortable for all people living there: children and adults,as well as baby boomers planning ahead so they can stay in their homes as they age.
Another interesting note picked up from the universal design seminar: Radiantly heated floors and walls, as well as towel warmers, are being seen as a universal design product. For those people, especially the elderly, who have to wait for the water to drain from the tub before getting out (whether a conventional tub or walk-in tub), a warm floor, warm walls or a warm tub-surround can help them from becoming chilled. There is no shock to the system, too, when stepping on to a warm floor, or using a heated towel.
For a look at new products introduced at the show, stay tuned for PM’s K/BIS Product Review in the July issue.