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KBIS 2024’s DesignBites 10 Kitchen and Bath Innovators

KBIS 2024’s DesignBites 10 Kitchen and Bath Innovators

kitchen and bath innovators

The 9th annual DesignBites competition, held at KBIS 2024, spotlighted leading kitchen and bath innovators on the NEXTStage. Hosted by Michel Smith Boyd, founder of Smith Boyd Interiors and a member of the NKBA | KBIS Design Council, the event featured representatives from ten brands competing for the title of “Brand With the Biggest Bite.” The lively competition, often likened to “Shark Tank” for the kitchen and bath industry, drew an enthusiastic crowd and is available for rewatch today at 2 pm EST on NKBALive.

Jake Slatnick, CEO and Founder of FreePower, at KBIS 2024. Photo provided by Emerald/KBIS.kitchen and bath innovators
Jake Slatnick, CEO and Founder of FreePower, at KBIS 2024. Photo provided by Emerald/KBIS.

Judges for this year’s event included notable figures such as Danielle Blundell of Apartment Therapy Media and architects Sandra P. Diaz-Velasco and John McClain. A unique element of the competition is the People’s Pick award, allowing audience members, including the media and Designhounds Influencer Network, to participate in a live vote. This engaging format highlights the cutting-edge products and dynamic presentations that characterize today’s top kitchen and bath innovators.

10 Competing Kitchen and Bath Innovators

Empava

Jennifer Ramirez, Media Marketing Specialist at California-based EMPAVA, unveiled the Arianna Innovation Series 36-inch Induction Range, featuring the first 4,000W center heating zone for residential use.

New Arianna Innovation Series Induction Range

This high-power element, alongside 1,850-watt versatile burners and proprietary Magnibridge™ Technology, enables synchronized heat distribution and spacious griddle-style cooking, making it a standout in the market for its advanced capabilities.

Signature Kitchen Suite

Nick Richie, Executive Chef at Signature Kitchen Suite, introduced their new Professional Speed Oven, which uniquely combines convection, bake, broil, microwave, and air fry capabilities across 11 cooking modes, all without the need for preheating.

30-inch Combi Wall Oven
Signature Kitchen Suite

The oven boasts a 1.7 cu. ft capacity, features speed cook technology, and comes with picture-oriented presets for easy operation. Richie humorously noted the oven’s simplicity, suggesting even his three-year-old daughter could soon use it to cook a pork chop.

Forno

At the recent KBIS 2024, Jacques Houle, the founder of the Montreal-based appliance manufacturer Forno, unveiled the Safety Jack by Forno, an innovative device designed to enhance kitchen safety. This novel gadget alerts users to potential gas leaks, aiming to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Forno Safety Jack
Forno Safety Jack | Image from KBB

“My goal is to help save lives,” Houle stated, emphasizing the device’s importance. The Safety Jack will be included at no extra cost in all Forno gas ranges and ovens and will also be available for sale to other manufacturers and in retail, making it accessible for use on any range, regardless of the brand.

FreePower

Jake Slatnick, CEO and Founder of FreePower, introduced a revolutionary wireless charging technology at KBIS 2024. This Phoenix-based company has developed a system that seamlessly integrates into surfaces like countertops, allowing for inconspicuous and convenient charging. The technology includes a control feature to deactivate the charging indicator halo, enhancing aesthetic appeal.

Image from FreePower
Image from FreePower

Fabricators certified through FreePower’s learning portal can install the system, which is compatible with all phone models and most cases and comes with a five-year warranty. Slatnick emphasized the ease and ubiquity of charging in the future, saying, “You’ll never think about charging again.”

Neolith

Daniel Sánchez Mira, CEO of Neolith America and Group COO, highlighted the company’s commitment to healthier and environmentally friendly surfaces. Neolith offers silica-free surfaces, which are significant as silica dust can pose health risks during fabrication.

silica-free surfaces
Neolith silica-free surfaces

Unlike traditional materials such as quartzite, granite, porcelains, and marble, which contain higher percentages of silica, Neolith’s innovative surfaces boast minimal silica content. Additionally, these surfaces are carbon neutral, resin-free, and plastic-free, underscoring Neolith’s dedication to sustainability and worker safety.

Link Cutting Boards

At this year’s KBIS Kickstarter area, John Rowan, founder of Link Cutting Boards, introduced his innovative cutting board design. Citing the Washington Post, he highlighted its prevalence in 92 percent of U.S. kitchens.

kitchen and bath innovatorsLink Cutting Boards
Image from Link Cutting Boards

Rowan’s design includes a patent-pending mount that attaches to the kitchen sink for added stability and doesn’t hinder sink use. The system also features a built-in drain and vent, and offers interchangeable boards tailored for different culinary tasks. Installation is possible with both new and existing undermount sinks.

Moen

Jessica Birchfield, Director of Industrial Design at Moen, introduced the Smyth Collection, blending classic and contemporary styles. This faucet series, inspired by neoclassical design, features easily cleanable grooved details, a U-shaped spout, and a fluted rectangular lever.

Moen Smyth Collection
Moen Smyth Collection

The design adheres to the rule of thirds for aesthetic balance. Available in four finishes including the new Bronzed Gold, the Smyth Collection offers options like Smart Pulldown and MotionSense™ Wave Pulldown among others.

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FGI Industries

Barry Jacobs, Senior VP at FGI Industries, introduced the innovative Flush Guard Anti-Overflow Toilets at FGI’s latest event. The patented system prevents overflow by directing excess water through three holes and a separate tube, effectively bypassing any clogs. This feature, aimed at alleviating the fear of toilet overflows humorously termed “overflowbia,” promises mess-free operation.

New Flush Guard™ Anti-Overflow Toilets

Each flush also cleans out the overflow tube, ensuring hygiene. The toilet, which features standard plumbing, is straightforward to install and is now available in a two-piece Craft + Main model, with plans for a one-piece version.

LG Electronics

At a recent presentation, Sandro Ledesma, formerly a Senior Manager at LG Electronics, discussed a common laundry mishap—forgetting wet clothes in the machine. LG’s solution is the innovative WashCombo All-in-One Washer/Dryer, featuring a 5-cubic foot capacity with Inverter Heat Pump Technology.

LG WM6998HBA All-In-One Washer Dryer Combo front view
Image from LG.com

This appliance offers a quick two-hour wash and dry cycle, boasts a ventless design for flexible installation, and is energy efficient, using up to 60 percent less energy per load.

Keeler Brass Company

Knikki Kennedy Grantham, Creative Director at Belwith Keeler Decor Solutions, introduced an innovative product kit from Keeler Brass Company at a recent event. This kit, designed to enhance the interaction between designers and clients, features a blend of tactile and high-tech elements.

header-main-image
Image from Keeler Brass Company

It includes a traditional tool kit with brass fixture samples and leather accents from Keeler’s Anthology Series, paired with a tablet that allows designers to instantly present various finish and color combinations to clients. This combination offers practical benefits for both design professionals and their clients.

The 9th annual DesignBites competition at KBIS 2024 showcased an impressive array of innovative products from leading kitchen and bath innovators. With dynamic presentations and the involvement of a diverse audience in the judging process, the event highlighted cutting-edge designs and technologies that promise to redefine industry standards.

As these brands continue to push the boundaries with their creative solutions, they not only enhance the functionality and aesthetics of kitchen and bath spaces but also contribute significantly to the evolution of the industry.