The BKU Awards 2018 took place at London’s Tower Hotel on Thursday 21 June, and the very best from across the bathroom and kitchen sector enjoyed an evening of celebration and a well-deserved night on the tiles.
In the four years since its inception, the awards programme has secured its position as a key event on the industry calendar by being the only platform for recognition that is designed for the industry and decided by the industry.
Business director Carl Hearnden echoed this sentiment when opening the awards, saying: “We wanted winning a BKU Award to really mean something – and what could be more important than a stamp of approval from your industry peers?”
A clear indication of the value of the awards scheme is the keen participation of individuals from across the sector, as noted by Hearnden: “This year has been a record-breaker, with 513 entries and nominations and over 20,000 individual votes submitted.”
The reins were then handed over to the evening’s surprise host; comedian, actor and impressionist, Hugh Dennis, who commenced proceedings with the Bathroom Brand categories.
The first award of the evening, Best Shower Brand, went to Aqualisa. Roca was next up to the stage, coming out on top in the Best Sanitaryware Brand category, before VADO was presented with the award for Best Bathroom Tap Brand. In the Best Bathroom Furniture Brand category, Utopia Bathrooms beat out the competition to take home the trophy and HiB picked up the Best Bathroom Accessory Brand award.
The spotlight then moved to the incredible retailers operating in the bathroom and kitchen sector. APL Bathrooms picked up two awards on the evening, being recognised as the Independent Bathroom Retailer and Bathroom Showroom of the Year. Studio 10 Kitchens was honoured as the Independent Kitchen Retailer of the Year, while Tu Mewn Ltd picked up the award for Kitchen Showroom of the Year.
Snug Kitchens and Leonide Interiors were awarded the New Kitchen and New Bathroom Retailer of the Year accolades respectively, while Classic Interiors was honoured as the Omnichannel Kitchen Retailer of the Year and Stone & Chrome picked up the Omnichannel Bathroom Retailer of the Year accolade.
First up in the Kitchen Brand awards was the Best Appliances Brand category, which saw NEFF secure the top spot. The Best Work Surface Brand honour was awarded to Silestone by Consentino, followed by Quooker taking home the Best Kitchen Tap Brand accolade. Blum picked up Best Kitchen Component Brand, Franke was the winner in the Best Kitchen Sink Brand category and the coveted Best Overall Kitchen Brand accolade was awarded to Uform.
In the General Brand awards, Claygate was awarded the title of Best Distributor of the Year while Compusoft was recognised as the Best Software/CAD Brand. The Best Heating Brand accolade was presented to Vogue (UK) Ltd and RAK Ceramics secured its place as the Best Tiling Brand.
The awards presentation wrapped up with the categories designed to recognise the incredible efforts of individuals across the sector, beginning with a surprise accolade that recognised Paul Midgley of RAK Ceramics for his outstanding contributions to the industry.
John Fialdini of Masterclass Kitchens was recognised as the Best Sales Representative and Uform’s Mairead Wood received the award for Best Customer Service.
The concluding award of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award. The prestigious award was presented to a ‘true legend’ of the sector, Warren Ginsberg of HiB, who has served an outstanding 45 years in the industry.
Once all of the trophies were handed out, guests had the opportunity to give back in a charity fundraiser carried out on behalf of The Rainy Day Trust. The full amount raised will be announced on the BKU Awards website shortly.
The organisers of the BKU Awards would like to extend their thanks to this year’s incredible sponsors; BA Components, Blanco, British Ceramic Tile, Caesarstone, Claygate, Compusoft and EQ Software, Frontline, Häfele, Masterclass Kitchens, Montpellier, RAK Ceramics, Trojan, Uform, Used Kitchen Exchange, VADO and Virtual Worlds.