There is a tactile strand, an invitation to touch, that provides a unifying motif running through many different ranges. Tactile stimuli range from completely smooth to muted velvet and clearly-defined, almost rough surface textures, for which nature more or less serves as the model.
Colour is the second all-pervasive theme, along with the tactile effect. Colour combinations, which are already emerging as currents in the overall picture, are, this year, unequivocally a trend that spreads over many product groups. The powdery pastel shades of a retro style are now also to be found, for example, here and there, on cast iron or enamelled cookware.
Another colour to join the yellows, pinks and light greens and dominate in this colour segment is now a powerful mint green. In addition, the palette of intense colours has been extended and now covers almost the entire spectrum of the rainbow from red, orange and yellow to blue and lime green and, in individual instances, purple too.
A new feature is the increased use of copper or copper-like materials in the glassware and decoration sections. To go with this, there are also warm earth and smoky tones that are stamping their mark on the 'Dining' products.
The 'on the move' theme and the storage of food occupies an increasingly significant amount of space. A growing awareness of health and high levels of mobility play an important role here. Their design turns 'on the move' products into attractive lifestyle accessories, in which an urban lifestyle and a zeitgeist with a penchant for sport both find expression. Inspired by nature: porcelain and ceramics
Both surfaces and colours are played with here. Starting with clean-lined shapes and powerful rainbow colours and continuing to shapes and surfaces of plates and bowls that are inspired by nature, like, for instance, wood-grain imitations or leaf skeletons. Often the colours, with white, grey, nude or smoky blue, take second place to surfaces with relief patterns on them. And for decoration, too, nature is often the model. Classic patterns such as flowers and leaves are presented in a rather minimalistic manner. But there are also some humorous motifs offered to bring a twinkle to the eye. The functionality of the porcelain products is further extended beyond their use on the dining table, including storage and barbecue areas for instance. And in the living room, bedroom, and bathroom areas, porcelain serves to provide stylish accents with lamps, clocks, clothes hooks and other furnishing accessories.Glass: organic forms and tactile surfaces
Colour and surface texture play a major role in the field of glassware. Water is offered in monochrome glasses – from strong colours to earthy and smoky tones. Water glasses are either smooth, or with relief motifs on them. The shapes of the plain, uncoloured wine glasses, on the other hand are once again becoming more organic. Supersize is literally 'writ large'. There is an expressionist feel when it comes to decorative articles and gift items made of glass, with use of colourful figures.Variety of materials and colours
In terms of kitchen utensils, it is plastics and natural materials such as wood or fast-growing bamboo, as well as stainless steel, that are most used, often also in combinations, one with another. It is in this segment, especially, that we find an increasing instance of powder-pastel shades, natural tones such as terracotta-red or warm grey. Anything to do with baking is becoming increasingly prized, including among the younger target groups. The products play with the whole bandwidth of colourways at this year's Ambiente. With cutting implements it is, as always, their functionality that is of principal importance. Alternative sizes and shapes of blade and various styles of handle continue to differentiate the range of products on offer. Even in this segment, things are getting increasingly colourful.The kitchen as experience
The kitchen is a major living space within the home and its presence is becoming more visible in many areas. Saucepans and frying pans score highly for perfect functionality and simple design. Alongside stainless steel, cast iron in intense colours – and occasionally also in pastel shades – plays an important role, as do non-stick coatings. We are increasingly seeing stainless steel cooking vessels and casserole dishes in other materials equipped with non-stick surfaces. A frequently-used stone finish gives cookware a natural look. Storage of foodstuffs is turning into a design statement. Products are clean-lined in terms of form, aesthetically sensitive in their use of materials, multifunctional in terms of serving at table or for eating on the move, as well as being stackable to save space. Barbecues are now not just the preserve of men, they have become an everyday method for preparing food whenever a degree of flair is required. Barbecues and accessories are correspondingly diverse. And, of course, there are some sophisticated versions available for barbecuing 'on the move'.Multifunctional, mobile and brightly coloured
When it comes to small electrical appliances, it is the increase in high-end kitchen equipment, with a built-in cooking function, that is most notable. These are aimed particularly at a health-conscious and working target group, who would like to cook for themselves. On the other hand, preparing food this way has to be time-efficient and guarantee success. This range also includes the blenders and mixers designed for making smoothies, where the bowls are designed as portable containers. Colours are bright. If surfaces before have tended to be dominated by stainless steel and plastics in black or white, now the picture is characterised by strong colours, including anything from the mixer to the espresso machine.