“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.
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
Referencing vintage hand pumps and precious metals PURIST, from global tapware specialist Kohler, is the essence of simplicity and authenticity. Brushed Bronze, Rose Gold, Polished Gold and Brushed Nickel are the beautiful finishes set to steal the limelight in a bathroom or powder room near you!
Hero of the range is the single lever mixer in both standard and tall – a single column topped with a slender cylindrical lever it is the epitome of intuitive functionality. Simply lift and turn the lever to adjust flow and temperature. The design taps into our ever-growing love for unadorned simplicity and effortless use, without the obsessive need to over-design and innovate.
Other models within the range, offering choice in terms of handle design (while maintaining the same mantra of purism and integrity), are the three-piece basin mixer sets with lever handles plus a wall-mounted option.
All basin taps are five star WELS rated using less than 6 litres of water a minute. There are also bath spouts and bath/shower mixers with and without diverter.
All of the Kohler tapware ‘precious’ metal finishes – Brushed Bronze, Polished Gold, Rose Gold and Brushed Nickel – are achieved by virtue of PVD technology (Physical Vapour Deposition). This is a customised finish system that vaporises the finish and molecularly bonds it to the chrome surface. This produces a finish that is both tarnish and corrosion resistant – in fact all Kohler finishes twice exceed the industry standard and carry a 15-year warranty.
Matching wastes, bottle traps and accessories available shortly which will include towel bars and ring, soap dish, tumbler and holder, robe hook and toilet tissue holder.
Introducing the new Mica Black basin from Kohler …
It’s true that black is having a major moment in bathrooms and the new, Mica super slim basin confirms the brand is again on-trend.
The beautifully elegant Mica black countertop vessel is an immediate show-stopper. The Mica is available in both a square and round format, bringing a very refined sense of style to any bathroom.
What makes Mica such a popular basin choice is that Kohler has developed a new super-ceramic whereby the walls of the basin are incredibly slim – just 6mm – giving the appearance of extreme delicacy and elegance. Yet the Mica basins are outstandingly durable and even harder than traditional vitreous china!
Each of the basins features Kohler’s CleanCoat™ finish that creates an invisible stain-resistant surface that ensures the basin retains its original glossy, pristine good looks after many years of use.
The Mica honed black countertop basins come in two designs – 393mm square and a 410mm diameter round version. There are also gloss white versions of the Mica available.