KBB Show 2024 - The Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms Show

This March, Naomi, Cassie and Andrew all spent a day at the KBB show at the NEC Birmingham, while Andy did two days on behalf of the Worktop Fabricators Federation.

The show was very much as we expected – kitchen design trends that we first saw in Milan as long as six years ago and again more recently are now coming through in the UK market. Our tastes and trends follow where others lead – which is to be expected. But it was a significant show – as ever relationships with suppliers and potential customers are built up, and for the WFF it was the first KBB show where the Federation had its own dedicated stand.

kbb show 2024 Worktop Fabricators Federation Affordable Granite quartz worktops

Worktop Fabricators Federation at the KBB Show

The KBB show: a good opportunity for staff, sponsors and members of the Worktop Fabricators Federation to meet up.

The WFF stands for Quality and Health and Safety standards in the stone kitchen worktop industry. Top of the list of the challenges we face is crystalline silica in quartz – how we minimise, control and remove airborne dusk in the factories. That is of concern to all of us in the kitchen worktop industry – the manufacturers and suppliers of quartz as much as the fabricators who actually make the worktops. Tool-makers too have an interest; their machines create but also minimise and remove dust. The jobs of all of us in the industry depend on getting this right – if we can’t show that silica dust is controlled in our workplaces, we could face legislation that prevents us making quartz worktops.

Busy on the WFF stand at the KBB show 2024. Worktop fabricators federation.

Busy times on the WFF stand at KBB

Some WFF People

WFF Director Mark Mills of Stone Systems

WFF Director Mark Mills of Stone Systems

Newly appointed WFF Director Mark Londesbrough of Cambrian Granite

Newly appointed WFF Director Mark Londesbrough of Cambrian Granite

WFF Director Andy Philips of Affordable Granite

WFF Director Andy Philips of Affordable Granite

Chris Pateman WFF General Secretary

Chris Pateman: WFF General Secretary

KBB show 3 March 24 Emily King of Technistone 125127

Emily King: Area Sales Manager for Technistone, quartz manufacturer and an anchor sponsor of the WFF. Emily was effectively working for WFF at the show – big thanks are due. 

Daniel Clark Head of Marketing at Stonegate Precision tooling

Daniel Clark: Head of Marketing at Stonegate Precision Tooling – sponsors of WFF on the machinery side 

Marie Curtis, newly arrived full-time membership secretary and admin for the WFF

Marie Curtis: newly appointed full-time Membership Secretary and admin for the WFF

Dan Down, Dean Bell and Carl Starkey, three of the team from LPE Group, sponsors of the WFF

Dan Down, Dean Bell and Carl Sharkey, three of the team from LPE Group, sponsors of the WFF. LPE Group supply tooling and laser templating gear to the industry.

LPE and Stonegate (see Daniel Clark above) are direct competitors, but work together as colleagues in support of the WFF and our industry.

Stone Suppliers around the KBB Show

One reason why we go to the show is specifically to see materials from stone suppliers and manufacturers.  For me this year it was good to catch up with Cimstone and Quartzforms, and to get to know Xtone for the first time.

Other quartz and many ceramic manufacturers had stands at the show. I’m sorry I didn’t have more time to take in some of the companies I knew less well.

The Xtone stand at KBB 2024
Xtone are sponsors of the WFF.

The Quartzforms stand at the KBB Show
German manufacturers Quartzforms are not YET sponsors of the WFF but you can see that they feel they are facing the same issues – their new Ecotone materials are made with largely recycled minerals, bio-based resin, renewable energy and have less than 5% silica content. They are safer for fabricators as a result.

Cimstone are sponsors of the WFF, and it is always a pleasure to hang out on their spacious stand. A good display of their excellent marble-look materials – I am especially keen on the beautiful calcite marbling of the Cemento Matte. We sell tons (literally) of their Cortina, and more recently have seen Brittanica doing well also. 

Around the KBB Show

It is hard to see everything at a show like the KBB. I hardly notice the bedroom and bathroom stuff, and I guess there are bed and bath people who don’t see the kitchen stands. But each KBB I have a good wander, taking pics of things that attract me and trying to get my head round some of the new products out there. 

In 2022 I was wowed by the number of people and size of stand that Quooker brought to the show. They doubled it this year – two areas of stand with this demonstration area and a mahoosive team. Naomi is a huge fan of their knurled knobs. 

There will several stands which drew my attention having been the ones that attracted me at the last show. Whitebirk Sinks was one of them – a great display, with some striking new designs. I love their colours and commitment to the best in British craftsmanship. 

Another company whose stands always please the eye are Leyton Lighting. I love their flexible lighting strips, their backlit natural stone and funky pendants as shown here. 

Insinkerator had a good stand, with their market-leading waste disposal units, but also a strong showing of kettle taps.

I spent a long time on the Finsa stand – a totally different area to mine, with every kind of textured and coloured transformed wood and board

Andy and I hung around the InvisaCook invisible hob demonstration with Bill Archibald for some time, asking questions. Gimic or superb idea? I guess the market will tell us in the long haul, but the completely invisible hob and clean porcelain surface after use is very impressive. 

Anyone visiting the KBB show for the first time would be struck by the way China – the country – is a brand in its own right. Every kind of Chinese manufacturer is grouped together in the “China Pavilion”. It always seems the quietest part of the show – I think that many British kitchen people struggle with the sheer massed “foreignness”, but when you see people in earnest conversation here you have the feeling that the numbers involved may be very, very large. 

A quick round up of images from the show, many of them by Naomi and Cassie

We are Affordable Granite, the leading installer of granite and quartz worktops in Surrey, Sussex and across the South East. We try to keep abreast of what’s new and what’s coming over the horizon by visiting trade shows and fairs. For samplesquotes and any questions connected with any aspect of worktop installation or kitchen design, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01293 863992 or by email on sales@affordablegranite.co.uk/ .

Images copyright © Andrew King Photography, Naomi King and Cassie Barbasio

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