Ambiente Report: Bright Future in Frankfurt

FRANKFURT, Germany--The Ambiente trade fair, which wraps up today here, made one thing clear: tabletop and housewares companies have made significant investment in the business and are positive about future prospects.

That was evident in both the number of product introductions here and in the stands themselves as companies constructed new booths that were bright, airy and welcoming in the substantially reconfigured exhibit space. For tabletop companies in particular, many of which left longstanding permanent space, the change was welcome and considered good for business. "[It] has caused every vendor to rethink how they want to look to customers and to the trade," said Michael Craig, group vice president, Americas, for Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton.

Spirits were high despite the bad weather in the eastern United States and parts of Europe last week that wreaked havoc with travel. Those that made the trip seemed glad they did as vendors said business is on a definite upswing.

"It's been phenomenal. We've been very busy," said Brenda Bennett, vice president of consumer marketing at Libbey. "People are focused on product, focused on 2010."

Craig said his company has seen more American and Canadian customers here in Frankfurt than it has in the past three years. "Our traffic is way up," he said.

Introductions were plentiful. There were no major shifts in trend direction from the past several months. Inspiration from nature was a central theme here, carried out through the use of singular birds on branches, butterflies and the application of less well-known plants and herbs. Decoration was light, almost ethereal, and easy to live with. The color palette was soft; pale robin's egg blue, spring green and shades of violet were the predominant colorways.

Dinner plates have taken on a thin profile; glassware tends to be straight-sided. Specialty drinkware continues to be a focus, and barware that caters to various distinctions in liquor and beer, such as Villeroy & Boch's new whiskey collection or Schott Zwiesel's Basic Bar Selection by mixologist Charles Schumann, has followed a movement that began with varietal-specific stemware. Special cups and saucers designed for tea and hot chocolate drinkers were also offered.

HFN Staff | News & Commentary

HFN provides detailed information on the key home classifications: Housewares, Tabletop, Floor Covering & Rugs, Furniture, Home Textiles, Lighting, Home Decor, Mattresses & Bedding, Gifts, Major Appliances and Consumer Electronics as well as Business, Finance and Retail.


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