Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Pablo Neruda, your guide to the Home + Housewares Show


     "Amo las cosas loca, locamente," Pablo Neruda writes. "I have a crazy, crazy love of things."     

     Me too. So I seldom miss the International Home + Housewares Show, which ended its four-day run at McCormick Place on Tuesday. No one tells me to go; I just do, for the joy of wandering around, checking on old favorites — Igloo is 70 years old, and now sells coolers lit from within by LED bulbs. Noticing new trends: everything is organic, or else silicone.
     The show is so vast — 2,200 exhibitors, 62,000 attendees — it helps to have a plan to approach all these sponges, buckets, hangers, trash baskets. The great Chilean poet's "Ode to Common Things," a series of 25 poems lauding commonplace objects, sounds as good as any. The Nobel laureate begins with a general "Ode to Things" and the line above, then gets specific, fast.

     "I like pliers...."

     "One of our best-sellers," said Perrine Giacomazzo, marketing director at Kikkerland, a company founded to market Dutch design (the name means "frogland"). She explained that putting wood on the seven-in-one multitool made it into a popular gift item.

     ". . . and scissors."

     "The popular one is this one," said Naomi Ogawa, secretary at B.H.P. Industries in Japan — half of the show's exhibitors are from overseas. She is referring to the "Almighty" titanium coated multi-purpose kitchen scissors. "The five-in-one. We have five functions, like can opener, driver thing, walnut cracker. This one is for peeling fish skin."

     "I love cups, rings, and bowls—"

     "Bowls are the new plates," said Nicole Ramos, sales manager at Denby USA, the American arm of the 200-year-old British dinnerware manufacturer. "A shift on how the millennials and people of today are eating and entertaining. People don't entertain like they used to, not these big family gatherings or formal dinners anymore. We've recognized that, and shifted our focus to people who just sit and eat dinner in front of the TV, and if you eat dinner in front of the TV it's safer out of a bowl than a plate."

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  1. That comment about how it's easier to eat in front of the TV from a bowl reminds me of a Simpsons episode where Marge complains that the family is dropping food all over the floor while they do so. (Cut to the baby fighting with the dog over a meatball.)

    Bart: "If you ask me, we should get one long bowl we could all eat from."

    Marge: "That's a trough. We're not going to eat out of a trough, Bart."

  2. The Art Institute has some really neat stuff presented as art but perfectly usable as various eating and drinking utensils. I think the stuff is in an art deco or 30s & 40s section.


  3. Neil, now I understand why you were fretting about not being able to equal last year's column about the Home & Housewares Show. It would be quite a feat to top this one. I remember reading it in the paper last year.


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