Blog: Lots of Launches in Frankfurt

Ambiente, The ShowFRANKFURT, Germany--The Ambiente fair continues its run through tomorrow, offering plenty of new product in tabletop and housewares and a backdrop for the launch (or relaunch) of brands here in Frankfurt.

Some brands made their debut here, such as Nude, a new division of Turkish glass company Pasabache, which is offering contemporary, design-oriented pieces and will partner with Guzzini on the glass version of Guzzini's Belle Epoque collection. Some brands made a comeback, like Lalique, which has returned to Ambiente after an 11-year absence and unveiled a new collection with architect Zaha Hadid. Richard Ginori, acquired by Gucci last year, showcased several dinnerware patterns that highlight its craftsmanship and play homage to the Italian landscape.

Royal Crown Derby, now owned by Steelite, has reinvented itself as a brand. It introduced seven collections that are a complete departure from what the brand has been known for and yet retains bits of its brand heritage in patterns such as Steampunk, Tulips and Equis. Prouna parent Hankook will launch a new brand in the U.S. in April, called Hankook, a shape-based, mostly whiteware collection, and Twig N.Y., a youth-oriented casual bone china line. Both were previewed here.

Companies continue to explore ways to extend their brand image. Villeroy & Boch is entering the bath category with both an accessory line and linens. Many upstairs tabletop companies, including Lladro, Rosenthal, Waterford and others, are exploring new ways to present age-old materials like porcelain and crystal. They have pushed into lighting, decorative accessories, furniture and jewelry. Rosenthal displayed stereo speakers and watch faces made from porcelain. In housewares, Henckels will launch Zwilling Beauty, a personal care line done in collaboration with its Tweezerman division, and a sommelier series of high-end barware tools. Bisbell is delving more into hanging storage with gift sets that include magnetic knife racks, storage items and knives which it is now offering under its own brand name. Fissler has introduced the Q line of stainless-steel, multi-functional kitchen tools.

In terms of trend, classic forms are getting a reboot; black and white pen-and-ink drawings are emerging; blue is big; lace designs are still popular; cooling products are big in barware; tea products and accessories continue to grow; plants and herbs play a role in product development, whether they are in planters, terrariums or herb-specific grinders; water bottles or water bottle shapes are important in glassware; and horse figures and themes celebrate the Chinese Year of the Horse. -Allison Zisko