Big-brand no-shows may have tempered the buzz of this year’s Kitchen & Bath Industries Show, but the prevailing mood was surprisingly upbeat. Many manufacturers played it safe by expanding existing lines or reengineering them to improve water and energy efficiency, while others embraced superficiality: new finishes, textured surface treatments, and an emphasis on flush installations. — Jen Renzi

The shallow end
One of the largest European manufacturers of tubs and shower trays, Kaldewei collaborates with big-name talents like Studio Sottsass and Stuttgart’s Phoenix Design. The latter’s newest introduction is Bassino, a low-slung bathtub that’s only 14’’ deep. The shallow dimensions offer numerous advantages: the low profile is easy to step over (a boon for the physically challenged), doubles as a shower base, and supports the bather in a floating position that’s reputed to provide numerous health benefits. Bassino is made from .14’’-thick enameled steel with an easy-to-clean, acid-resistant finish that’s also slip resistant. Kaldewei, Indianapolis.

[Reader Service: July 2009 #222]


Most unseamly
Affluence Seamless Sink proves that the tiniest details can have a major impact. The 18-gauge stainless-steel troughs feature a minimalist design that’s both clean-lined and easy-to-clean, courtesy of a seamless transition between the sink bottom and drain hole. The integrated design should appeal to germophobes and contractors alike: smooth, continuous surfaces and fewer components leave nowhere for dirt and debris to hide—and make for a much speedier install. Available in single and double-bowl versions, both offered in undermount or top-mount drop-in styles. Affluence Seamless Sinks, Cincinnati.

[Reader Service: July 2009 #223]


A star turn
Kitchen ventilation goes glam with the Elica Collection of range hoods. Among the Italian manufacturer’s wittily decorative designs are Star, which could be mistaken for a crystal chandelier. Covered in glass prisms, the spherical unit comes apart in three pieces that can be tossed in the dishwasher for cleaning, along with the anodized aluminum–mesh grease filter. (Reusable odor filters are washable, too, and need only be replaced every few years.) The three-speed hood incorporates a dimmable halogen fixture; both are operable by remote control or a touch-sensitive steel wand. Elica also unveiled a series of high-performance—if more traditionally styled—chimney and undercabinet hoods for more function-intensive space. Elica, Chicago.

[Reader Service: July 2009 #224]


The jet set
Following its recent collaborations with Laura Kirar and Barbara Barry, Kallista taps another high-profile designer: architect Bill Sofield. The creative vision behind Gucci stores and high-end boutique hotels brings art-deco flair to the bath with Jeton, a comprehensive suite that includes basin and bath sets, showering systems, lighting, and accessories. The centerpiece is a stunning vanity whose honed-marble top—available in Statuary White or Nero Marquina—wraps down either side of a base cabinet fronted in hand-applied lacquer or Macassar ebony veneer. An octagonal sink mirrors the faceted form of the jewel-like fixtures. Finish options include Kallista’s new black nickel, a dark-hued metallic that patinates with use. Kallista, Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

[Reader Service: July 2009 #225]

Counter culture
Green leader Teragren introduces bamboo countertops in three styles: traditional, strand, and end-grain strand. Panels measuring 36’’ x 72’’ x 1.5’’ come either unfinished or treated with food-safe coating of mineral oil and beeswax. Naturally resistant to bacteria, the material is well suited to kitchen and bath applications and can also be used for furnishings. The strand version—which is 154-percent harder than oak—is made with a non-urea binder and, like all three options, contributes to LEED certification. Teragren oversees the harvesting of its mature bamboo, sustainably farmed in China’s Zhejiang province. Teragren Fine Bamboo Flooring, Panels & Veneer, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

[Reader Service: July 2009 #226]