Last week, I attended the International Woodworking Fair (IWF)… and am pleased to report that the show was alive with thousands of innovative new products and palpable channel confidence.
The woodworking industry most definitely didn’t pause during the past two years – as significant cabinetry and organized living introductions took center stage – showcased in more than 900 exhibits and experienced by some 45,000 attendees.
Several important themes emerged, including the need for clever ways to optimize storage and convenience space within living environments… especially as families continue to spend more time at home and are re-evaluating the efficiency of their floorplans. If the products being showcased were any indication, it’s clear that consumers are on the lookout for attractive, high-performance organization solutions that help to maximize space in kitchens, bathrooms and closets.
Solutions targeting the work-from-home trend – and need for multitasking areas – were also prominent. Several brands highlighted products that make it easy to convert existing surfaces to desks or craft tables, and then "hide away" those workspaces when not being used.
My "Best of Show" award for IWF 2022 goes to Richelieu. The brand certainly lived up to its promise: The market leader in specialty hardware products with an on-trend selection of solutions.
Richelieu’s Libero 3.0 Smart Door Opener featured easy opening by a foot-activated laser sensor or by voice activation through Alexa Smart Home for hands-free access to waste receptacles and recycling bins. I was also impressed by their Qanto Corner Solution, which makes it easy to utilize hard-to-reach areas – including corner kitchen cabinets and island end cabinets – by means of two storage trays that are silently lifted up and down… all at the push of a button. Holding up to 55 pounds, the Qanto Corner Solution is an ideal space-saving solution for heavy mixers and other countertop appliances. Also on display in the Richelieu booth was a comprehensive line of designer and functional solutions for closets, designed to organize even the most challenging spaces.
"Where have you been all my life?" was overheard at many of Richelieu’s experiences, and I welcomed the elegant simplicity of this innovative and smart brand.
As a longtime industry veteran, it was great to be back at IWF. Despite challenges, the industry continues to move forward… and the demand for new products and solutions that address the needs of evolving lifestyles will only grow from here.
Qanto Corner Solution
Libero 3.0 Smart Door Opening System
Steve Kleber, President, Kleber & Associates