“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.
According to one of the world’s leading trends forecasters, there is a move towards a deeper, bolder colour palette in bathroom design – the result of a significant cultural shift.
Li Edelkoort, renowned for her long-term global trends forecasts, delivered some shape-shifting insights into colour and texture in a highly anticipated workshop with Caesarstone quartz surfaces earlier this year (2018).
Illustrating the increasingly dramatic colours being used in bathrooms, Edelkoort explained that interior design is no longer a culture that tries to imitate nature but rather take inspiration from it.
Bathrooms, for example, will take their cue from carbon fibre, those materials that come naturally from fire and dust. “It’s a new way of looking at beauty,” said Ms Edelkoort. And dark, dramatic colours will be used in bathrooms to create a more sophisticated, hedonistic ambience. “Many bathrooms will include black, sometimes in combination with brass, to create a sense of luxury,” she said.
Caesarstone Black Noir
Kohler’s PVD tapware, including the modernist Purist and the vintage Artifacts collections, are the perfect fit for this look. Each is available in a range of ‘precious metals’ including brushed bronze, polished gold and rose gold. Purist, while inspired by vintage hand pumps, is the essence of simplicity and authenticity – a timeless design in either a single lever mixer or three piece basin set.
Artifacts is the antithesis of this – a collection of tapware that references the form and ornamentation of the Edwardian period, available in the deep, rich textures of oil-rubbed and vibrant brushed bronze. Each collection has matching accessories.
Dramatic stone or quartz surfaces in deepest black, bold charcoal or midnight grey will feature on benchtops, splashbacks, walls and floors, some in solid colour and others with sweeping, bold pattern and veining or smaller, homogeneous chips. Each will create a sense of visual daring and bold statement.
In keeping with this bold design are Kohler’s Petaline and Mica jet black basins – each a statement piece to provide perfect balance with the dramatic dark tones of the Caesarstone finishes.
Petaline, inspired by a single petal, is a feat of engineering mastery in cast iron with black enamel finish. The 615mm long basin is counter-balanced to create a vision of elegance and seemingly impossible poise.
Mica, available in either square or round format, is a beautifully sophisticated and refined honed black countertop vessel with super slim walls – just 6mm – to give the appearance of extreme delicacy and understated style.
Edelkoort used some of Caesarstone’s quartz surfaces to demonstrate the look – such as Vanilla Noir, Piatra Grey and Night Sky – along with metal elements, such as brass, to further enhance the sense of luxury and indulgence that can be achieved.
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.
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