Day One of the world’s largest plumbing show sees PM senior editor Katie Rotella feeling the pulse of the industry and watching future trends.

Lucky me! I’ve been graced with this year’s trip to ISH Frankfurt. I’ve been a plumbing journalist for 10 years, but this is my first trip abroad to see what my colleagues have been talking about. I will do my best to paint you a picture of the show, as well as impart the knowledge I’ve gained about where the markets could be heading and what’s on its way across the ocean. I think you’ll be eager for these products "

Germany is ready for Blue Responsibility. Are you?

First Impressions

They’ve told me it’s big. I didn’t think they’d lie, but Wow! This is how a biennial event should be. World economy in the toilet? It sure is! And the toilet’s at the show! Traffic is heavy and people walk with a purpose.

First things first: No, I don’t speak a lick of German. I’m a natural busy-body, so not being able to overhear people’s conversations about business and money and market strategies is really bugging me. But from what I can tell, like the U.S., not many are focusing on new construction anymore. They’re in the thick of retrofit/remodel "

These 10 Trends will shape the plumbing fixtures market.

Pop Up The Bathroom

In the Messe Frankfurt-sponsored press hall, I picked up a 2009 Trends Dossier: Pop Up The Bathroom. This booklet was filled with interviews of plumbing designers, and stated the 10 most important trends in the bathroom. I’ll list them below. Let’s see if you Americans agree …
  • Soft Bathroom
  • Green Bathroom
  • Fashion Bathroom
  • Easy Bathroom
  • Design for a Better Bath
  • Private Spa
  • Water Love
  • Homing
  • Techness
  • Interior Concepts
Now that’s a list! I’m sure you’ll notice a good portion is already here. But I am eager to see where the United States will take the “soft” bath (“In a room where people spend much of the time naked, they should encounter as few hard edges and corners as possible”) and the “fashion” bath (“The bathroom is becoming just as much an indication of its user’s personal tastes as the kitchen or living room”).

I saw plenty of products on the show floor illustrating “water love”. Manufacturers are doing creative things with the flow of water. The dossier says people are experiencing water “emotionally,” and it comes in the form of soaking, showering, hand-washing, and even toilet flushing.

Americans have been “homing” (or nesting) for a few years already. You all know the new buzzword “staycation” (where you don’t physically travel anywhere "

End Of Day One

With the travel and time change (plus throw daylight savings onto it!) I didn’t spend much time at ISH on Tuesday. But I forged a plan-of-attack for my next few days. I hope you don’t mind: I will separate the blogs the way ISH separates its halls "

Traveler's Notes:
What Katie Should've Brought To Germany

  • A computer mouse. Typing up these blogs and uploading my myriad photos on my laptop is hard to do with just my fingertips.

  • A lighter suitcase. I know I’m in trouble when I’ve already filled a showfloor bag with goodies on the first day.

  • More money. The exchange rate is dismal, in my opinion. Poor U.S. dollar!

  • A watch. I know, I know. Who travels without a watch, right? I thought I could get away with using my cell phone as I normally do, but all it currently says is “Searching For Signal” and no time. Live and learn.

  • A friend. “Everyone speaks English,” they told me. Sure "

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