This is our 378th ‘traditional’ Christmas, if the history books are correct. So what has changed? In 1642, Abel Tasman and his crew were believed to be the first to celebrate Christmas in New Zealand, and they did so by feasting on pork and extra rations of wine! Captain James Cook is the next notable to celebrate in the land of the long white cloud, and he did things slightly differently when, in 1769, he and his crew celebrated with a meal of ‘goose pye’ – made with gannet – for Christmas dinner! So what has changed since 1642?
Perhaps the two most iconic elements of a New Zealand Christmas today are the irresistible Pavlova, made with kiwi fruit, strawberries and cream plus the striking, and much-loved, Pohutukawa or NZ Christmas tree. Common to both are the vibrant and festive reds of the Pohutukawa and strawberries as well as the lush greens of the tree’s foliage and our very own Kiwi fruit! Both play a significant role in Kiwi Christmas celebrations throughout the land.
When decorating your home for the festivities, this colour scheme could, perhaps, form the basis of the rest of your colour scheme. In addition to the traditional Christmas tree, consider introducing fresh foliage or potted plants to living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms. Placing a few bushy potted plants in guest rooms and bathrooms – complete with minimal festive decorations, can ensure the celebratory spirit is felt throughout the home, for guests as well as family members.
Smell is just as much a part of our sensory perception as vision – candles, fresh flowers, ripe fruit and oven-baked cakes and tarts all contribute that magical aroma associated with celebration and festive good will.
While Christmas trees, turkey, prawns, pavlova, and Christmas crackers are the quintessential festive ingredients of a Kiwi Christmas, there is a relative newcomer to the scene. Our concern for our planet has cast a spotlight on sustainability – and retailers and consumers are both seeking out more sustainable decorations and Christmas crackers, opting for paper, timber or recycled materials instead of plastics.
“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