“FutureHAUS”, a unique solar home designed and built by Virginia Tech research university, with the support and technical input of Kohler Co, has won the international Solar Decathlon, held for the first time in Dubai.
Beating 27 other universities from 11 countries, the Virginia Tech team had just two weeks to build its prototype FutureHAUS house, that runs exclusively on solar power, in a public expo area next to the Mohammad Bin Rashid Solar Park. The goal of the competition was to create a high performing solar home – seen as the smart, sustainable housing of the future – able to function in the extreme climate conditions of the Middle East. A key requirement was that it had to be able to be mass produced in similar communities around the world.
Kohler worked with Virginia Tech for two years advising on design and technical attributes that could achieve high functioning, smart solutions for both kitchen and bathroom.
The winning FutureHAUS, that enabled Virginia Tech to take home the $250,000 first prize, utilised factory-built cartridges to create living spaces that adapt to their inhabitants.
Kohler provided technical advice and guidance on the water delivery system in the kitchen where metered amounts of water are delivered via voice control.
In the main bathroom the vanity top is 3D printed and utilises Kohler’s technological expertise to incorporate three sensors within the basin that employ the company’s Response touchless technology. Kohler has then coupled these sensors to three of its DTV digital showering systems.
Virginia Tech was the only team from the US to compete in this year’s Solar Decathlon. The prototype houses were judged on 10 criteria:
architecture, engineering and construction, energy management, comfort conditions, house functioning, sustainable transportation, sustainability, communications and innovation.
The Solar Decathlon, now in its 16th year, supports Dubai’s stated goal to have the smallest carbon footprint of any global city by 2050.
The release of Kohler’s Veil, in a wall faced design, is the ultimate pairing of pure, ergonomic design and customised personal cleansing, operated via a touchscreen LCD remote control.
Every aspect of the Veil toilet experience is hands free – including an auto, touch-less flush – with a focus on absolute comfort. The cover and ergonomically designed seat are motion-activated while the temperature of the heated seat can be adjusted for optimal comfort. And for total peace of mind, the bowl can be LED lit for night time visits.
Combining both a toilet and a modern-day bidet, the Veil Intelligent Toilet‘s advanced personal cleansing functions can be customised for water temperature; spray style, position and pressure; plus pulsate and oscillate functions.
The precision air dryer can also be adjusted to personal preferences for temperature. On sitting down, a fan is activated which draws air from the toilet bowl through a carbon filter to remove odours and help keep the bathroom fresh.
In line with the hands-free design of the Veil – which sports an uber-hygienic rimless bowl – the wand is self-cleaning, using UV light and electrolysed water systems to sanitise its surfaces.
The Veil wall faced intelligent toilet, by Kohler, is a compact, one-piece toilet with elongated bowl for added room and comfort. It features an in-wall fully concealed cistern with a 3/4.5L flush. The Veil is also available in a wall hung configuration.
A 29-year-old design student, from Auckland’s Unitec Institute of Technology, has won Kohler New Zealand’s inaugural Future Designer Award 2018.
Judged by Kohler’s UK-based director of new product development, Kitchen and Bathroom, Mark Bickerstaffe, the competition attracted entries from talented, forward-thinking design students.
Erin Bell, of Warkworth, took out the first prize of $5000, with her concept for The Bathroom Island, a futuristic, sculptural piece celebrating the body, its health and diversity. A sybaritic zone for cleansing, pampering, health analysis and beauty rituals the design pays homage to both the human body and the planet. Materials are natural and unadorned, technology brings a new level of sophistication to personal health while lighting and ergonomics are designed to complement individual bodies and skin tones.
Erin Bell. First Place Kohler Future Designer 2018
The Bathroom Island also recognises the growing urgency around environmental issues with all materials chosen for their sustainability and respect for the health of the planet. No plastics are used, electricity is generated from solar panels, towels have been replaced by integrated hand, face and body dryers and large windows create a light-filled space that is less reliant on electricity to illuminate and warm it.
“The Bathroom Island a retreat within the home holistically designed to support our health and well-being amidst our busy lives. I feel we have an opportunity and responsibility to design spaces now and into the future that is not just healthy to live in but is ethically and environmentally considered. The nude colour scheme compliments skin and body tones and reflects the natural raw state of how we are in the bathroom” said Erin
Erin Bells’ bathroom of the future concept, featuring the bathroom island.
In announcing the winner, Mark Bickerstaffe commented – “Erin’s design is a vision of the highest quality and very well done. Beautifully presented, it is seductive, sensitive and in tune with the bold and gracious life, we all hope to live in the future. The Bathroom Island subtly incorporates the connectivity and enhanced the experience that technology can delivery”.
Erin designed “an essential space for morning routines & evening rituals”. featuring a waterfall tap, wireless charging, an oasis mirror with a built-in camera, filters, daily self-affirmation, and more.
Runner-up was 22year old Connor Smith of Auckland University of Technology for his ‘barrage’ of ideas that explore the challenges of living graciously amidst urban densification – including adaptive facial recognition technology, vanity unit with concealed bath, auto-adjusting shower head and water infusion unit for body care products. The potential of the transformative bathroom was highlighted with the innovation challenge of accomplishing it simply, intuitively and with a better experience as a result. Connor took home a designer award trophy and $2,000 cash! AUT Industrial Design students did very well, taking up 6 places in the final top ten.
Converge – it’s the very latest in showering technology! This piece of ingenuity sees sleek design converge with space-saving smarts to create a truly multifunctional showerhead that features a cleverly integrated hand shower.
The 152mm diameter flat-faced showerhead is wall mounted and at first glance appears to be a simple, large format showerhead – but its exterior rim almost magically detaches from the magnetic docking station and becomes a very convenient, separate hand shower!
Converge, with its advanced spray engine, provides three powerful spray patterns while using only 9 litres of water a minute (WELS 3 star rated). The showerhead literally sculpts water!
Choose from the dense, luxurious Silk spray; or Infinity – three spray experiences in one (complete cleanse, refreshing massage and delicate rinse); or Full Coverage for a drenching, all-encompassing spray.
In sleek polished chrome, Converge features an easy clean spray face that simply wipes clean with a damp cloth, without any build-up of minerals. It also has Kohler’s premium finish to retain a long, enduring and unblemished polished chrome surface.
Converge, with its innovative 2-in-1 space-saving design is an exciting development for all those who love a luxurious, ultra-responsive shower but may have less space than they wish! The release of this product coincides with Kohler’s 145th anniversary – 145 years of ongoing revolutionary design and innovation for the bathroom.
Converge, with a recommended retail price of $199, is available nationally from major plumbing retailers. The shower arm is available separately at $79.
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!