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2011 Ambiente Trend Report Frankfurt,Germany



While we were in Frankfurt We visited the Ambiente Show (held February 11-15, 2011), where we absorbed all of the halls of the world’s largest trade fair for consumer goods. This report is based on trends we found there, and at the surrounding shopping areas in Frankfurt.

While we were in Frankfurt We got lost several times, enjoyed the local watering holes and learned to speak enough Deutsch to order dinner (sort of).

While we were in Frankfurt The world was celebrating with Egypt, as their leader of 30 years stepped down.


What Other’s Said About the Show ‘Similar to the trends exhibition at Heimtextil, a textile design trade fair at the same venue that I attended in January, the trends identified at Ambiente by Style Consultants bora.herek had a sense of looking at the past — be it toward craftsmanship, primitivism, or multi-cultural traditions — while also bringing those ideas toward the future through technology, sustainability, and a sense of playfulness.” - Sarah Rainwater of Apartment Therapy “This year’s event felt like a launching pad for the decade. With improvements taking hold in the economy, exhibitors showed not only optimism, but also enough new products to keep consumer interest in positive territory going forward. All facets of design moved ahead: color, texture, shape and pattern. This is in contrast to last year, when color carried most of the burden of newness. No wonder the show had a higher level of energy and excitement than in the recent past.” -The Trend Curve

Tech Points For those at Ambiente with a smart phone, and the appropriate application, a code could be read that would direct the phone to an online map of the show hall and give helpful information about the exhibit halls. This technology, using QR codes, is sure to catch on like wild fire with other trade shows. Beyond housewares, the electronics and technology area displayed every type of case, cover, carrier and accessory imaginable for items like Kindle and iPad. While listening to presentations it seemed every other visitor pulled out a mobile device or tablet to take notes on.

Style Points It was obvious that purple stood out at the show, thus why this report has it showcased. The 2011 color of the year begins to blend into a coral and peach mode for 2012, which is shown in the color portion of this report. 01

2011 Ambiente Trend Report CONTENTS



While We Were in Frankfurt Initial Notes and Points Make it Store it Serve it Drink it Collect it Oil it Season it Contain it Decorate it Texture it Lifestyle Collateral Color Notes

1-3 4-6 7-9 10-13 14 15 16 17 18-22 24 25 31-32 33-37

Make it

Opposites Attract TOP ROW: Kitchen Aid’s bold line up of mixers includes a variety of violets and indigos. Cast iron kitchen ware options grow and colors take on chameleon appearance. Silicone colander with purple hues. SECOND ROW: Enamelled cookware with eggplant inspired options. Ceramic cookware with Citrus and Eggplant options, with white interiors. A range of red/purple/orange/yellow lidded prep containers. BOTTOM IMAGE: Le Crueset with a aisle full of citrus cast iron wares.

Understand it


This contrasting color trend in prep and cook products has taken o. The colors are largely inspired by the process of cooking and the idea of creating bold and colorful experiences that create emotion around the product.

Make it

Slick Gadgetry TOP ROW: A wide variety of measuring sizes, including Grandmother inspired “pinch” and “dash” sizes. Award winning citrus squeezer is slim when closed and ultra modern. Nesting measuring spoons made of silicone make ingredient removal easier. SECOND ROW: Stainless steel and silicone tools take on a futuristic appeal. Colorful plastic utensils with modern shaping appeal to a wider variety of consumers. Nesting measure and pour tools are inspired by animal forms. BOTTOM IMAGE: This multi-tasking set doubles as mortar and pestle and prep pinch bowl and spoon.

Understand it

Kitchen gadgetry can easily become intense and overwhelming. This trend takes need and artfully combines it with clever humor. The element of surprise in each of these designs creates a wonderful moment with the consumer in which their first impression is companied with a smile or laugh.


Make it

Clean Sensibility TOP ROW: These clean white nesting mix and pour bowls have milk stool inspired feet and rounded “bellies” which gives them an animated quality. Small ceramic crocks in fresh hues of gray and butter. Steaming vessels with artistic patterned perforations. SECOND ROW: Simplicity creates focus on form. Cylindrical steam tower design allows for multi-tasking with non intrusive form. Mixing bowl with clean shape has a surprisingly ergonomic dent. BOTTOM IMAGE: Traditional shapes in white ceramic, make bold statements against modern kitchen decor.

Understand it


With all of today’s modern appliances and kitchen material selections these pieces become contrasting statement pieces. Stainless steel and dark granite become perfect mates to these crisp developments.

Store it

Keep it Stacked TOP ROW: Deep square stacking vessels with over moulded lids. Stacking containers in various sizes with snap closures and Lego-like stacking features. Stacking inside fit lids on stepped containers. SECOND ROW: Nesting rectangle containers in stormy hues and slim lids. Nesting rounds in Fiesta inspired colors. Softly tinted containers with heavy wide stacking lids. BOTTOM IMAGE: Stacking containers, some with pour spouts, with exterior fitment on bottom for double duty as lids.

Understand it

Nesting and stacking frees up space and makes travel easier. Creating multiple uses and allowing creativity in configuration becomes fun for the user and gives them a secondary reason beyond need to purchase. Using fitments in new ways is a great take-away from this trend.


Store it

for Lunch Tomorrow TOP ROW: Aladdin’s divided container is compact and supplies a secure seal. These institutionally inspired lids are for short term storage. Stackable containers in a vast selection of sizes. SECOND ROW: Containers in bright colors with easy store utensil. Rather than silicone or rubber, these stretchy soft fabric straps hold together a mixture of containers. BOTTOM IMAGE: Stanley brings an outdoor feel that is classic and heritage rich.

Understand it


This trend in take-along vessels is a direct trickle down of cost conscious buying. Although these items are typically a higher price than the standard fabric lunch box, they promise good seals, reusability, eco-friendly materials, and often lifetime warranties. Their characteristics are based on the lifestyle themes of the brand itself itself.

Store it

with Modernity TOP ROW: Slim cork lids on natural ceramic and glass containers. Silicone bands hold acrylic colorful containers securely. Ribbed vessel with tall minimalist handle is a dainty contemporary accessory. SECOND ROW: Matryoshka inspired container is playful and useful, with room for utensil. Retro inspired containers with less invasive handle. Inspired containers with small feet and stacking thin wooden lids. BOTTOM IMAGES: Nature inspired container holder, with donut-like vessel designs. Pod containers are easy to take along and are youthful and forward thinking.

Understand it

Ingenuity in materials and a visit to retro ideas gives us these exciting modern concepts. New ideas of display and storage and what is acceptable as a storage container are allowing designers to explore less typical forms and materials.


Serve it

from a Different Angle TOP ROW: Faceted origami inspired bowl. Crinkled mirrored surface on shallow bowls. Nesting angular bowls, pitchers and beverageware. SECOND ROW: Pinched stackable dishes are perfect for desserts and sides and create a unique table setting. A new spin on the divided dish or relish try. A literal twist on classic form. BOTTOM IMAGE: Stacking pyramid of serving vessels and drinkware.

Understand it


These angular designs create intrigue at the table. Their bold statements are deďŹ nite break from the classic appeal and traditional patterns that we’ve been seeing in the kitchen over the past several years. They are statements with uses and push the boundaries of contemporary kitchen forms.

Serve it

a Heavy Touch of Dainty TOP ROW: Intense application of classic embossed pattern, broken by a band of smooth porcelain. Sharp edges and stainless steel provide masculine contrast to the delicate patterning of these serving trays. Sharp cuts of floral pattern on metalware creates artwork on the table. SECOND ROW: Feminine color choices juxtaposed with graffiti inspired graphics on fine china. Bulky sweater patterns on ceramic surfaces. Victorian inspired forms exploded in size for use as napkin holders. BOTTOM IMAGE: Artistic use of classic patterns, fading them as if drowning in the porcelain ware, creates a powerful and surprising punch.

Understand it

Feminine forms applied in masculine volumes create a dynamic vision that is not standard in table ware. Emboldened versions of floral patterning performs less like a fine china and more like usable artwork.


Serve it

with Inspired Utensils

TOP ROW: Chopsticks like socks can often lose their better half, these will never have that problem. Slick silhouettes inspired by lotus shapes. Ingenious chopsticks are self containing, the wooden one held by the hollowed stainless steel of the pair. SECOND ROW: Ring ended utensils, possibly a new way to store atware. Thorny utensils cause the user to consider where they hold their fork. Nesting fork, knife and spoon are held together by small metal clip. BOTTOM IMAGE: Pinched ends provide just enough artful display to these mostly classic pieces.

Understand it


Taking the dinning experience to a new level by creating thought, laughter and conversation around the very fork you use, or chopstick set you pick up. These designs are witty yet most provide smart solutions to storage and loss prevention.

Drink it To Go

TOP ROW: A to-go container in every size, for every drink, for every family member. Smart loop accessory on the lid for hanging and carrying. Creating a steeping experience to-go. SECOND ROW: Italian-made designer coozie. Crowd sourced design for the masses. Urban inspired design from a usually khaki and forest green avored brand. BOTTOM IMAGE: Sigg continues to provide brand-right and well thought out designs.

Understand it

Whether it’s glass, stainless steel or plastic, these containers all speak volumes. They are bold statements of self expression. The best examples of these manage to create a lifestyle that the consumer can relate to, while still keeping their brand identity in tact.


Drink it Plain Jane

TOP ROW: Mugs and table accessories with matching slim line wooden lids. Reuleaux shaped saucers with crisp tea cups. Easy to hold mugs with at top handles. SECOND ROW: Pitcher and creamer with doubled up decorative handles. Heavily textured and void of color. Serene shapes and engineered ďŹ t. BOTTOM IMAGE: Slender and tall carafe with simplistic cap.

Understand it


Clear, clean and straight forward designs with undeniable intensions. These pieces are like yoga for your beverage. They provide a breathe of fresh air in a busy world.

Drink it Decanted

TOP ROW: This design is nestled by a rubber coated donut form. Decanter and stemless wine designed to mimic and blend in with a rainy, vino appropriate day. Bold and faceted this metallic coated glass decanter is sure to turn heads. SECOND ROW: Acrylic base adds a modern pop. Classic forms with helical wrapping. Decanter and stemless wine with sweeping etch designs. BOTTOM IMAGE: Balancing decanter with ice containing base.

Understand it

As wine education rises, so does the need for decanters. There is seemingly a decanter for every wine drinker. Whether your taste is classic or you prefer a punch of modernity, these designs allow you to experience wine just the way you want.


Drink it

Splashed with Color TOP ROW: Frosted color coated stems. Interior punches of color. Bold goldenrod mug sets. SECOND ROW: Stepped stacking glasses with color accent on lower half. Elegant sprays mimic the dancing forms of this beverageware. Flocked handles in a variety of colors. BOTTOM IMAGE: Stacks of brilliant colors on quirky ceramic mugs.

Understand it


Color creates associations, and a fast and easy way to create a quick makeover on a piece of drinkware is to add a clever hint of tint. By focusing color on one area we create an artist view of the ware.

Collect it with Impact

TOP ROW: These high gloss baskets are pocked with organically shaped holes. Flowering bowl made of ďŹ re engine red wire. A switch on Mediterranean patterns in cut metal. SECOND ROW: Faceted landscape in white ceramic. Fabric embellished stainless bowl. Gunmetal on a tall vented container. BOTTOM IMAGE: A hole punched platter creates a dramatic shadow.

Understand it

A world that pushes way beyond banana hangers and standard wire baskets, these object push boundaries of what we use to display our fresh fruits, breads and veggies. Playful spins on what typically is surrounding the kitchen, provides drastic contrast to fruit baskets of the past.


Oil it

and Be Bold TOP ROW: This oil and vinegar pair seem to cuddle on the counter. This double walled diffuser provides visual table interest. A family of table accessories with angular dimensions. SECOND ROW: Minimal cylindrical forms on oil and herb containers. Fresh forms accented by sharp and colorful lid/spout. Cork helps these bottles blend in around the wine bistro. BOTTOM IMAGE: A frosted touch makes for an elegant and icy appearance.

Understand it


The flavor filled kitchen craves new and exciting designs for the oil and herb food trend. Ideas on how these bottles look and seemingly act with each other and the rest of the kitchen, takes bottle design to a new level.

Season it with Flair

TOP ROW: Classic hand painted eclectic grinder. Straight from Brooklyn this slick stainless steel design allows for salt and pepper to be dashed in one product. A line up of containers in frosted glass. SECOND ROW: Stainless steel towering click button grinders with granite stand. Whimsical salt and pepper grinders with exaggerated handles. This red grinder is designed with ergonomics in mind. BOTTOM IMAGE: Nature inspires these grinders from Nuance.

Understand it

Taking the salt and pepper experience to a more entertaining level. The trend here is setting the mood of the meal before it starts. Notions of heritage, artful wit, and humor are all evident. Professionalism of course still remains prevalent in these products.


Contain it

with Intriguing Design TOP ROW: Paper towel holder surrounds entire roll. Tea ball designs that are more like pods and less like open cages. Compost bins continue to appear, more often in soft colors now than black and silver. SECOND ROW: Square jewelry boxes with tonal stains. Matryoshka from Russia appear more frequently as storage vessels around the house. Lids with multipurpose as spouts and secondary storage. BOTTOM IMAGE: This rubbery container is for ice and has a closure like the waist of a pair ir of sweatpants, it folds flat and holds temperature, perfect for tailgates or block parties.

Understand it


Although these object are all quite different from one another, they each provide new ways for us to enclose our belongings, our spices, our ice or our food waste. As we’ve seen even here in the States, there are containers for everything, even for that half of a bananaa you can’t eat the rest of of.

Decorate it with Candle Light

TOP ROW: Faceted crystal taper holders create prismatic eects. Simple wooden taper holders with garden inspired hues. Nature drives the shape of these pebble tea light holders. SECOND ROW: Heavy knit in ceramic supports glass cylinder pillar holders. Glass appears to be melting, while holding a votive. These modern and minimal candle holders are made of stainless steel and glass. BOTTOM IMAGE: Silicone taper holder catches wax and resists heat.

Understand it

Growing ever more popular are taper candles and dramatic candle displays. This trend often plays on nature coming indoors. It also creates interesting connections between traditional forms and contemporary materials.


Decorate it

with Fragrance

TOP ROW: Aromatic salts displayed in playful vessels. Classic minimal diffusers. Scent releasing steam bulbs. SECOND ROW: Mini brown apothecary shape on wooden carved coaster. Scent releasing steam cones. Fragrance eggs with artistic graphic appeal. BOTTOM IMAGE: Short diffuser bottle, with purple base and silver cap and controlled reed positioning.

Understand it


These products were less evident at the Ambiente show than in years past. However, they have become more diverse in their offering. Reeds have reverted back to plain, and are being placed in slots for an intentional display pattern. Objects for the kitchen and pharmacy are also being used to hold fragrant stones and salts.

Decorate it with Abstract Blooms

TOP ROW: Large faceted panels on a crisp ceramic vase. Cracked surface that takes on the appearance of a smashed hard boiled egg’s shell. Surrealist ideas come into play on these urn shapes. SECOND ROW: Diagonal striations on matte finish vases. Sharp grooves on a vase with slanted top. A slumped over bubble of glass creates a unique floral vessel. BOTTOM IMAGE: Balloons become inflated with water and bulge out of carefully placed openings in these white modern bud vases.

Understand it

These forms create interest and act as art without floral residents. They are a cause for conversation and certainly demand attention.


Decorate it

with HeavyTexture

TOP ROW: These denim, violet and cream colored sweater vases look to be fabric but are intricate ceramic vases. This tall vase has an uneven edge at the top and looks to be made of a white table linen. The vase takes on a new life when it’s neck is wrapped in heavy wool yarn. SECOND ROW: This popular cable knit texture is applied to a classic shape, teaching an old dog new tricks. A collection of circles is heavily embossed on this vessels clean white surface. These organic shapes seem to have been eaten away from the vases form. BOTTOM IMAGE: An off kilter form of thin porcelain is delicately covered in thick amounts of floral lattice work and opens up with a rim of eyelets.

Understand it


A variety of shapes adorned with fabric and nature inspired patterns, these vases provide subtle yet powerful character to any room.

Decorate it with Strong Intention

TOP ROW: These spiny bowls are for a single flower head. Deep gouges in metallic coated glass. Strangle bubbly forms seemingly protrude from these colorful bud vases. SECOND ROW: An explosion of metal rectangles climbs up the floral display. Single stems displayed in vases 12 wide by 4 high. An indoor garden on a tracked display. BOTTOM IMAGE: Elegant abstract vases with gold rims, suspended by hanging wire.

Understand it

Strong statements made through spiky, bubbly and exploding forms. These vases and displays all show off themselves, not just their contents. Each piece is surprising and takes on a life of its own, yet acts in sync with the florabunda.


It’s All in the Details.

Texture it

with Dynamic Inspiration TOP ROW: This texture looks to be naturally formed, possibly inspired by cave walls. Sand dune wavy debossments. Grid style architectural patterning. SECOND ROW: Texture created by wrapped cord creates a light ďŹ xture. Woven natural materials. Wrapped twine on furniture. BOTTOM IMAGE: Ribbed textures take on new life in metallics.

Understand it

Texture adds another level of design ingenuity. Some products are better left plain, but careful use of a smart pattern or texture can create a lasting impression.



Patterns in Stripes TOP ROW: Stripes of color on a corrugated lamp shade. Bold pop art inspired stripes reminiscent of 1980’s polo shirts. Tribal style neckwear made of bands of patterned textiles and beads. SECOND ROW: Horizontal stripes work in step with radiating stripes. Bold concentric red and white stripes on layers of red and white tableware. Stripes made of dot varieties adorn flattened ceramic plates. BOTTOM IMAGE: A collection of vintage textiles create a rainbow of patterns on this recovered vintage armchair.

Understand it


Stripes are always in trend. They never go away. But this year, they’re more intense, more vibrant and are smashed up against other patterns, other stripes and in a multitude of colors. Stripes made of patterns and textures are also wildly abound.


The Doodle Pad TOP ROW: Playful animal doodles bounce across white plates. Aladdin’s CAD work appears on the cover of their catalog. Sketches of human forms appear on beverageware. SECOND ROW: Vector art of product on Mebel’s catalog cover. Cute animal drawings on white surfaces. Whimsical and inspired artwork on velum from the inside cover of Mebel’s catalog. BOTTOM IMAGE: Messy scribbles on mugs, shown holding pencils.

Understand it

Sketches have the ability to set us free. Whatever is in your mind, can be released through the quick flick of a pen or pencil. This idea is being translated onto a variety of ware and was noticed in several catalogs, booths and displays. Several booths had large displays of original sketches, and inspiration boards. This is a celebration of the creative process.



Celebrating the Process

TOP ROW: A woman checking for quality. Women sorting through bushels of cork. Close up of sewing machine and artist’s hands. SECOND ROW: A topographic vision of hand quilting. Detail painting of Russian matryoshka dolls. Boring out cork. BOTTOM IMAGE: Black and white image of a worker shoveling.

Understand it


This trend is showing pride in the process. Giving just gratitude to the people who make it possible. Showing the hands, the machines, the eort and patience all tells a story of the brand and creates a connection that is more than product deep.

Lifestyle Picnic Patterns

TOP ROW: Plaid patterns decorate these glass and plastic mugs. Bubble gum plaid on large planters. A little bit of gingham goes a long way in creating a country picnic feel. SECOND ROW: Black and white checkers in a variety iety of patterns. Textile inspired etching on class beverageware. Tablecloth styled storage containers with lids. BOTTOM IMAGE: Uneven asymmetrical textile etchings on tall skinny glasses.

Understand it

These pieces bring a little bit of picnic feel whether your table cloth is red and white gingham or stark white. They are fun and sometimes kitschy but when done unevenly or in spurts they become artistic and abstract, creating a deďŹ nitive contrast from the everyday.



Triangular DeďŹ nitions

TOP ROW: Pillows in taupe, black, mustard and citrus. Knit blankets in navy, sky blue and gold. Organic variations of the triangle create easy to hold serving bowls. SECOND ROW: The triangular abstractions take on the appearance of stones or shells. Triangular patterns urry across table linens. Soft triangular shaped saucers. BOTTOM IMAGE: Angular and sharp forms on this pitcher are a severe derailment from standard lemonade pitchers.

Understand it


Triangular forms are bold and push beyond the exploration of square and round dinnerware. Using them in textiles allows us to play with the idea of them, but using them in serveware gives us a piece that catches attention.


NaturalTranslations TOP ROW: Leaf shaped utensils displayed as a growing article of wildlife. Laser cut paper strung from the ceiling looks like a flurry of snowflakes. These cocktail picks look like branches. SECOND ROW: Stemware that echoes nature. Lamps that look like lightning illuminated clouds. A topographically inspired serving tray. BOTTOM IMAGE: One of the stool legs grows like a branch acting as a minimalist back.

Understand it

Pulling from nature for design is always admired and cherished. This year’s ambiente show displayed a use more thought provoking and imagination filled than usually seen.



Showing Off Your Best Side

TOP ROW: Overlays of acrylic product made purple to show o this years trend colors for the company. Showing exploded views of complex products. A carabiner adorns this simple single page yer from Sigg. SECOND ROW: The butt of the joke. Dixy supplies a pencil for note taking. Dixy also provides a game in the shape of their favorite mug design. BOTTOM IMAGE: Telling the story right up front. This creates an instant impact and sets the tone for the entire catalog.

Understand it


Brand appropriate imagery, use of iconic humor and providing playful ways to keep the viewer engaged are all evident in these printed pieces.


Showing Off Your Best Side TOP ROW: A collection of Polaroid snapshots of product on the inside cover. Product takes up the entire front cover of this 6 fold brochure. Sketches utter throughout this catalog on velum inserts. SECOND ROW: A family of companies with opposing looks, have similar tabbed catalog designs. A page full of color options and a sample are included in this take-away folder. A lineup of Pantone color options inside of a plastic business card holder, in the 2011 color of the year. BOTTOM IMAGE: Using the same fabric strap to contain the brochure as used on the companies product.

Understand it

Creating collateral that inspires others and keeps them wanting more is what the companies on this page have done. Whether it’s a sample of material or a witty piece of humor or a designer’s sketch, they all provide a piece of themselves to be shared with the entire show audience.



Fresh Fuchsia and Fog

278 C

Understand it


112 C

255 C

239 C

877 C

Airy tones of blue and gray provide a calm ground for pops of purple, fuchsia and leafy green. These colors are playful yet adult as they steer away from traditional primary colors and black and white.


Whirling Whimsey

157 C

1225 C

1787 C

8021 C

4705 C

Understand it

Peachy corals, twig brown, umber, butter yellow and French gray provide a soft feminine palette without being overbearing.



Play with Your Food

Warm Red C 1795 C

Understand it 35

325 C

2935 C

370 C

Pepper rooted oranges and reds beside summery blues and greens. This palette is youthful and bold.


Blended Bold Shades

689 C

3165 C

124 C

7518 C

8321 C

Understand it

Jewel inspired shades of violet, indigo, gold, taupe and sea foam. These colors are inspired by industrial materials, oil spills and oceanic reections.



Thank you.



2011 Ambiente Trend Report  

This trend report was taken while I was visiting Frankfurt, Germany for the 2011 Ambiente Show. Ambiente is the worlds largest home decor/ h...

2011 Ambiente Trend Report  

This trend report was taken while I was visiting Frankfurt, Germany for the 2011 Ambiente Show. Ambiente is the worlds largest home decor/ h...