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 No plastics are used, electricity is generated from solar panels, towels have been replaced by integrated hand, face and body dryers and large windows create a light-filled space that is less reliant on electricity to illuminate and warm it.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.
Connor Smith. Runner-up Kohler Future Designer 2018
The top 10 entries, including the winners from Kohler’s inaugural Future Designers’ Award, can be seen on the website https://kohler.co.nz/designaward
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.
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.
KOHLER recently celebrated the extension of its Australian retail network into Tasmania with a series of launch events held in conjunction with Crisp Ikin Agencies – the official distribution partner for the state – and key retailers Elite Appliances (Hobart) and Becks Home Timber and Hardware (Launceston).
Darren Genner of Minosa (centre) with Crisp Ikin Agencies’ Colin Etter (left) and Tony Ikin (right).
Elite Appliances in Hobart will showcase KOHLER product and to celebrate the launch, the Crisp Ikin Agencies showroom played host to a KOHLER Design Evening which was was attended by members of the Architecture & Design community.
Guests at the Hobart KOHLER Design Evening listening to the presentation by Darren Genner.
Guest speaker for the evening was Darren Genner from Minosa Design in Sydney – KBDI Australian Bathroom Designer of the Year 2013/2014/2015; winner of the HIA Australian Bathroom Designer of the Year 2016 and HIA Australian Kitchen Designer of the Year 2016.
Darren delivered an extremely insightful and informative presentation on current design trends, sharing with the audience a slideshow of Minosa’s current kitchen and bathroom designs, along with favoured products and current trends.
Darren Genner enjoyed handing out gifts of KOHLER chocolates from KOHLER’s own chocolatier in Kohler, Wisconsin, USA.
KOHLER General Manager, Geoff Cope, provided a valuable insight into the history of KOHLER & KOHLER’s diverse portfolio of brands including Kitchen & Bathroom, Generators, Hospitality and Interiors.
Lean-To Kitchen provided catering for the event, providing a delicious array of finger-food & beverages enjoyed by all in attendance.
The following evening was a dual launch event held in Launceston at Becks Home Timber and Hardware where the KOHLER brand will feature alongside Kohler’s Englefield brand.
Kohler display at Becks Home Timber Hardware at Launceston.
This event was attended by a large contingent of VIP builders, plumbers and their wives who enjoyed a similar evening, with fabulous food and wine supplied by Matson Catering, Launceston.
The KOHLER Design Launch Event at Becks Home Timber Hardware in Launceston.
Crisp Ikin was founded in 1982 and is now Tasmania’s leading distribution agent for bathroom fixtures and furniture, including baths, showers, vanity units, toilets and tapware. The addition of the premium Kohler brand and trusted-value Englefield brand to its portfolio is seen as a natural extension to Crisp Ikin’s footprint in Tasmania.
Kohler featured at the recent Kitchen & Bath China 2016 event in Shanghai with this year marking the twentieth anniversary of Kohler’s entry into the Chinese market. Many of the Kohler family were present to celebrate and to showcase new products and designs, highlighting their “Living on the Leading Edge of Design and Technology” mantra.
On display at the Kohler booth was an extensive range of the latest and greatest in bathroom design and innovation. Displays were divided into various themes including intelligence, style, hygiene and clean, experience and sustainability.
Some of the key product suites Kohler launched at KBIS included the KOHLER Konnect, Modern Life and the Ming suites.
KOHLER Konnect offers the ultimate in bathroom connectivity. With a click of your mobile phone you can control all of your bathroom’s intelligent products through one handy mobile app. It’s one-touch control provides a complete smart bathroom solution and lays the foundation to develop and integrate further internet technologies into the bathroom. We can’t wait to find out more…
The Ming Suite
This stunning suite launches in recognition of Kohler’s twentieth year in China. A blend of East meets West whilst combining classic design with innovation, the Ming suite reflects the Chinese view of balance, harmony and peace.
The Ming Suite at the Kohler booth at KBIS.
Kohler’s Ming Suite
Modern Life Suite
With its refined, clean and comfortably simple design sensibilities and restrained colour, the Modern Life suite proves that less can be more.
The Modern Life Suite.
One of the Modern Life basin options.
Incorporating a full suite of products, from sanitary ware to furniture, Modern Life exudes modern innovative style.
More of Kohler on display …
Black basins on show at KBIS.
Composed 3 piece basin set with Carillon basin.
An Evening with Kohler
Click below for a snapshot of the Kohler event … An evening with Kohler.
During the course of the evening, Tom Casper was recognised for his 40th anniversary of working at Kohler. Tom is the first associate working in the Asia-Pacific region to hit this special milestone! Well done Tom. Read more here.