Dwell On This: Top Trends from the 2014 Dwell on Design Expo

A modern kitchen showing a series of well-designed and furnished grayish-brown ovens manufactured by Miele Company.

iPhone-inspired appliances are a hot trend — touchscreens and all — like this oven setup from German appliance manufacturer Miele.

Dwell on Design is unique among industry trade shows

Unlike most that designers, architects, builders and contractors include on their must-attend events, this one is also open to the public. 

It’s unique in another way, too. Besides featuring some of the top global brands on the show floor, it also showcases up-and-coming designers and creative locals. 

That makes for an interesting blend of emerging talent and trends
 from established leaders like Sub-Zero Wolf, Miele, Toto, Kohler, GE Monogram, Cosentino, Dornbracht, Hansgrohe and many more. The massive annual design fest, produced by Dwell Magazine at the Los Angeles Convention Center every June, has become a top spot for seeing what matters in the design world and how it’s being interpreted for home and landscape. 

These were some of the top trends on display at Dwell on Design this year — trends that have been developing for some time now and that you will see more of in the coming years:

Digital Integration

We love our smart phones and tablets and we don’t set them aside when we come home. Manufacturers have taken note and are incorporating, integrating or just accommodating their features into a wide array of home products.

For instance, GE Monogram’s newest oven can be turned on from an iPhone. By February 2015, all of GE’s Monogram and Cafe ovens will have that same capability. Dacor also has a range and oven that tie into smartphones. It’s likely that other 
appliance makers, both American and European, will add such features to theirs. Many have already adopted similar touchscreen controls and sleek glass fronts, as German appliance manufacturer Miele showed off at Dwell with its M Touch Convection Ovens.

Similarly, lighting control systems company Lutron has made it possible for you to automate your existing home lighting without an expensive consultant or remodel with its new Caseta system.

Luxury and Industrial Meet

In addition to the sleek, glossy iPhone-inspired styles on display, there was also a strong retro vibe at Dwell on Design. American Standard’s new luxury bath and kitchen products line, DXV, (right) embodied that trend on the warm, classic end.

German faucet and fixture manufacturer Hansgrohe took it steam punk-industrial with its Nendo Lamp Shower, coming to the United States in 2015. (Multi-tasking is yet another strong design trend.)

Sustainability Still Rules

Green design will continue to dominate the industry as more regions face water shortages, brown outs and other resource challenges. Energy-efficient LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are showing up in appliance interiors and gorgeous lighting fixtures by brands like Cerno Group. 

Shower systems by brands like Brizo are blending air with water to deliver lush jets and rain heads with luxury, performance and conservation. Fixture makers Toto, Kohler and Geberit are producing toilets that require less water — some even use less than one gallon per flush.

New materials are emerging from recycled ones, like porcelain tiles with antimicrobial protection (another hot trend)
 from sustainable stone and tile manufacturer Crossville and intriguing wall coverings made from paper, fabric and agricultural waste from a Nebraska firm called Iris Industries.

Bottom line: Today’s sustainability doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style, quality or performance to save resources.

What was most evident at Dwell on Design was that manufacturers are getting smart about how we live and developing products that fit our tastes, needs and technologies. That’s a trend that works for all of us!

Jamie Gold is a certified kitchen designer in San Diego and the author of New Kitchen Ideas That Work (Taunton Press). She is currently writing the New Bathroom Idea Book.

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