Celebrating its 145th year of producing some of the world’s most fashion-forward bathroom fixtures, Kohler presented a celebration of modernism at this year’s Salone del Mobile (Milan Design Fair).
Transforming Milan’s famed Museo Bagatti Valsecchi, Kohler treated its audience to an experience that was both visually enticing and emotionally evocative.
Guests were taken on a journey through the entire spectrum of modernism – from minimalism to maximalism – via the lens of a series of artistic installations constructed from Kohler’s world wide products portfolio.
The ornate décor of the Museo Bagatti Valsecchi served as the perfect backdrop to a series of installations set in the grand rooms of the historic museum.
One of the highlights was the newly released ‘Dutchmaster’ sinks collection featuring bold embellishment in the form of large scale botanical patterns in a rich, dark, moody colour palette.
As a direct contrast the smart, sharp ‘Components’ tapware collection drew much attention. Exuding a strong, raw industrial aesthetic the taps feature a clean matte black finish. Other drawcards in the modernist oeuvre were the newly released Ombré finish and the DeStijl-inspired Kallista Grid tap. The latter is a feat of design and engineering, featuring a dramatic geometric silhouette created with cutting-edge 3D-printing technology.
A further element of Kohler’s visual feast was the very creative use of lighting to add a new and exciting dimension to a number of products. Its new Lighting Suite, for example, created for the organic Veil collection, magnified and enhanced the products – which included mirror, basin, vanity, bath and wall-hung vanity. Each piece was framed by an ambient glow that can change shade according to the user’s mood.
Curator of the exhibition, Mark Bickerstaffe, Kohler’s Director of New Product Development, Kitchen and Bath, said the installations demonstrated Kohler’s love and commitment to comprehensive and forward-thinking design. “From minimalism to maximalism, we love creativity in all its forms; and that has never been more apparent than with our new products”, said Bickerstaffe.
The way we live now, we produce almost more waste than products. Imagine turning our waste into something else!
Here at KOHLER we have committed to NetZero by 2035 in terms of greenhouse emissions and solid waste going to landfills. To fulfil this promise of reducing and eliminating them, we constantly think of new ways to approach this challenge. As a large manufacturer, solid waste is a byproduct of factory processes and brings with it a mountain of worry.
Kohler Co. Headquarters in Kohler, Wisconsin, USA
Born out of our Kohler employee initiative Innovation for Good, the idea of looking at industrial waste in a new way and as raw material first emerged in October 2013. The team developed solutions to keep clean manufacturing waste out of landfills, make it valuable again and turn it into innovative products.
Since then, Theresa Millard, an artist and bio-mimicry expert, and her team have experimented and tested ways of transforming how people look at waste. Millard knows that with a craftsman’s eye and the understanding of composition and characteristics, waste can be re-purposed as raw material for new, precious products that bring joy and a good feeling to the customers.
Artist and bio-mimicry expert Theresa Millard who has joined Kohler to help drive the success of the Waste Lab.
As a result, the Kohler Waste Lab was created and its team is charged with finding environmentally sustainable solutions and contributing to the circular economy by imitating nature and recycling, reusing and re-purposing factory byproducts.
The Waste Lab – located in a glass production building in a disused lab facility – is an innovative, cross-discipline team of engineers, industrial designers, waste specialists and artists who create something new, valuable and worthwhile with potential landfill material and with equipment that is no longer in use in the production plants.
Some of the byproducts we currently create include foundry dust, spent sand, green cull from the pottery and enamel powder and already our Waste Lab teams have magically transformed this ‘waste’ into decorative kitchen and bathroom tiles for our US tile company Ann Sacks.
Foundry dust and sand, green cull and enamel powder make kitchen and bathroom tiles!
This year, Kohler has successfully opened Kohler Experience Centers (KEC) in the US., U.K. and India and can now add Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand to the ever-growing list of experiential kitchen and bathroom showrooms.
TAIPEI KOHLER EXPERIENCE CENTER
On August 28, President and CEO, David Kohler, and Larry Yuen, Group President – Kitchen and Bath, opened the Taipei KEC (KECTPE)
The opening ceremony of the KEC Taipei was a dramatic and exciting event!
The design of the KEC Taipei was inspired by the arcs and angles of a book – like it was being flipped through – and the designers applied the aesthetics of these lines throughout the showroom.
The new KEC Taipei is reminiscent of pages flipping open in a book.
The rich, avant-garde displays of kitchen and bathroom suites included a range exciting new products, including the iconic TouchMe mirrors, Intelligent toilets, Moxie Wireless Bluetooth showerhead, live water zones and the signature Bold Art installation.
The suites include working displays and a range of innovative new products in bathroom settings.
The immersive opening ceremony experience was followed by a Kohler Design Forum, which Kohler partnered with the Chinese Society of Interior Designers (CSID) and was attended by architects, designers and industry guests.
CEO and President, David Kohler, addresses the audience
BANGKOK KOHLER EXPERIENCE CENTER
Just 24 hours after the Grand Opening of the KEC Taipei, David Kohler and the team raised their glasses to officially welcome in the KEC in Bangkok – the fifth KEC to open.
The Bangkok KEC opening also celebrated the 15th anniversary of Kohler in Thailand. The beautiful new retail space in Nobel Remix 2 Condo near the trendy Thong Lor Skytrain station sports a post-industrial, minimalist style.
The stunning new Bangkok experiential showroom.
The 700sqm space was designed by award-winning Bangkok based P49 and was developed with the concept of an industrial art gallery in mind. With hundreds of showrooms currently existing in Bangkok, the challenge was to create a truly unique space to showcase their iconic, award-winning kitchen and bathroom products.
The extensive showroom offers the latest innovations in intelligent toilets, PVD tapware displays and an Artist Edition basin gallery. Visitors can also experience working displays featuring the latest products and technologies.
The immersive display offers consumers and designers the opportunity to experience Kohler products.
Tapping into the growing popularity of collaborative working spaces, the KECBKK includes a co-working space and coffee bar for visitors and designers alike to meet and discuss their kitchen and bathroom projects.
The KEC BKK
Following the Industrial Art Gallery theme and blueprint of all KEC’s, visitors to Bangkok’s KEC are greeted by an art space featuring both local and international artists. Artwork will be rotated to continuously keep visitors intrigued and inspired.
The art installation at the KEC BKK.
SINGAPORE KOHLER EXPERIENCE CENTER
While Kohler products can be found in various showrooms around Singapore, the KEC is the first Kohler-exclusive location in this regional design and architectural hub.
KECSGP Guests were treated to an illuminated light show both internally, during the opening ceremony, and externally on the building front – a unique occasion in Singapore!
The opening of the KEC SGP featured a light show – both inside and out!
The 790sqm showroom is situated in the heart of Singapore’s downtown district in a traditional conservation space. The ground floor is divided into five distinct zones – Fashion; High Tech; Family; Classic and Black.
Some of the suites at the KEC SGP…
The art installations on opening are ‘Born in Taiwan’ by Taiwanese artist Wu Peishan and ‘time artifacts’ by Singaporean artist Thomas Cheong.
The KEC Singpore art installation was by Taiwanese artist Wu Peishan
Last week, Kohler opened the doors to their inaugural Kohler Experience Centre in New York’s Flatiron district. Designers lined up to attend the unveiling – the first of a series of new Kohler Experience Centres to open this year.
Designers line up outside the new Kohler Experience Centre in New York.
Occupying a 10,000 foot space, the global flagship is divided into a series of kitchen and bathroom vignettes, interactive displays allowing visitors to use and experience products, a private bathing space AND an art installation, demonstrating Kohler’s commitment to the arts and curated by Kohler’s John Michael Kohler Arts Centre.
More like an expansive home than a showroom, president and CEO David Kohler explained “The concept was created with both customer segments in mind to eliminate the chaos of choice and simplify what can otherwise be, at times, a challenging process.”
Interspersed with these product focused vignettes are cleverly presented displays of Kohler’s extensive bathroom product range where visitors can immerse themselves in the decision making experience; a tapware wheel – matching fixtures, finishes and colours; private showering spaces – where you can book your own appointment in the spa-like retreat to trial the showers and baths first-hand, the perfect ‘try before you buy’ bathroom.
One of the spa retreat bathrooms you can book and experience before you buy!
experience! And collections of complementary basins and products – side by side to provide plenty of bathroom design inspiration.
The colour wheel at KEC
As a global leading bathroom brand working closely with architects and designers internationally, the showroom also displays fixtures and fittings compliant with international standards, plus an on-site international bathing expert is on hand who can advise on plumbing regulations in different countries. The inclusion of video-conferencing technology to communicate with local Kohler associates around the globe ensures this is a truly international showroom.
“For the first time ever, design professionals will have hands-on access to Kohler’s global product suite,” David Kohler explained. “The beauty of this is twofold: We’re streamlining the specification process for design professionals working on projects around the world and also creating a design test lab where we can gather invaluable intel on which products from our global offering resonate in different markets, helping us stay at the forefront of design trends.”
The art exhibition includes select pieces from the John Michael KOhler Arts Centre in Kohler, Wisconsin, featuring elements from Babel by Alabama artist Jim Neel. Babel was created during Neel’s 2008 Arts/Industry residency at the Kohler Co. Pottery.
The Art installation at KEC NYC
New York is the first of nine KEC locations due to open this year in major cities including Bangkok, Hong Kong, New Delhi, London, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Singapore, and Taipei.