Boutique Design Events and Trade Fairs

On my way home from BDwest 2019 in Los Angeles, to London, I was invited to make a stop at the Le Sueur, Minnesota headquarters of Cambria, which transforms pure quartz sourced at its own Minnesotan mine into natural stone surfaces. While their design palette draws inspiration from Celtic regions, the products are 100% American-made and distributed from more than 32 facilities across the United States. The 19-year-old company spread its wings in 2016, with international distribution in the UK. Today, Cambria has a presence in 22 countries.

I sat down with Summer Kath, executive vice president of business development, to get her trend forecast for hospitality applications:

Summer Kath | headshot | Cambria Stone

Who are the influencers you look to to get a feel for what’s going to be the next hot design direction? 

I engage with the North American design community to get their read on what’s trending. We also talk about projects on their boards and how their needs will evolve based on their work. I visit some major European fairs in Paris and Milan to see what they’re showing in terms of forward-thinking design. Then all that intel gets distilled during discussions with our R&D team. 

Cambria Stone production facility

So, what should designers have on their radar?

1) High-contrast design, specifically with designers using black cabinets and white countertops. That will mean more products which complement that, such as a white marble with a high-contrast black vein formation across the slab. 

2) Back-lit surfaces, mainly in commercial, but some in residential/unique applications too. 

3) Matte finish. For years we’ve been asked to provide our product in a “honed” finish. A honed stone surface is not completely maintenance-free, so we set out to create our own proprietary “matte finish” that maintains all the performance properties of the gloss version.