Kohler Co joins with Virginia Tech to win 2018 Solar Decathlon in Dubai

“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 Best Plants for Your Bathroom

The Best Plants for Your Bathroom

Lush green foliage is an excellent way to soften the hard, straight lines that so often proliferate in a bathroom – think tiles, vanities, mirrors, windows, shower recesses etc

Just a single plant, from a fern to a succulent, will introduce a pleasing, relaxing ambience to the bathing space – but there are other benefits to including living greenery in the bathroom.  Clean air and health!

Indoor air can be more polluted than the air outside, as bathrooms, by their very nature, contain many chemicals – from those emitted by surface materials to shampoos, soaps and chemical cleaners.

Plants are the perfect ‘green’ way of improving the quality of the air – they require little effort and negate the need for an expensive air purifier.

Experts at NASA have spent time identifying the best indoor plants for removing toxins – but make sure the plant you choose is also the best suited to your bathroom’s light conditions, temperatures and any draughts.

 


Here are six plants, recommended by NASA for removing air-borne toxins, that could be grown in the bathroom:

Snake Plant - Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash

SNAKE PLANT

(Sansevieria trifasciata)

Keep them fairly dry and grow in indirect light.  Fertilise during growing season.  One of the easiest indoor plants to grow.

 Golden Cane Palm - Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

GOLDEN CANE PALM

(Dypsis lutescens)

Requires plenty of light and a good balance of moisture, fertiliser and warmth.  Brings a tropical lushness to the bathroom.

Aloe Vera Photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash

ALOE VERA

(Aloe barbadensis mill)

Grow in indirect sunlight in a dry soil (like a cactus potting mix).  Water during growing period but never allow to stand in wet soil (ensure pot has plenty of drainage holes).  The leaves contain a gel that can be used on skin conditions and superficial cuts for its soothing, antimicrobial properties.

ENGLISH IVY - Photo by Manja Benic on Unsplash

ENGLISH IVY

(Hedera helix)

An easy plant to grow indoors and can be planted in hanging baskets to allow the leaves to cascade or can be trained to climb a stick or pole.  Can tolerate lower light and requires a cool environment and a reasonable amount of water.

Peace Lily - Photo by Mitch Lensink on Unsplash

PEACE LILY 

(Spathiphyllum mauna loa)

Grow in a warm spot away from direct sunlight – it will tolerate low levels of light.  Water regularly so that the potting mix is moist at all times.  Yellow leaves mean it is receiving too much light.

Spider Plant - Photo by Abel Y Costa on Unsplash

SPIDER PLANT

(Chlorophytum comosum)

Will tolerate low to bright light conditions but keep away from direct sunlight.  Requires minimal watering.  Very hardy plants that even enjoy being pot bound!

Just one plant will make a difference to both the ambience and the air purity in your bathroom – but think about groups of plants, perhaps in a corner of the floor, or suspended from the ceiling in baskets.

Be prepared for a little trial and error initially, while you work out the plants that are happiest in the conditions that prevail in your bathing space.

Building on a Lifetime of Passion

Building on a Lifetime of Passion

One of New Zealand’s North Shore residential developers has used a lifetime of experience and architectural passion to create his own family home in the lush rural countryside of the North Island’s Dairy Flat.

Calling on the expertise of architect Alistair Dodds and interior designer Shannon Pepper, the owner’s brief was to create a two-storey family home for the couple and their two children.  Key to his ‘dream home’ was a master bedroom with accompanying theatre room and a large, open-plan living area to take full advantage of a proposed water feature.

The owner’s favourite colour palette of black and white is in evidence throughout the home, as is his love of modernist, highly functional design.  The living space has six metre ceilings and full-length glass walls, while the swimming pool has been placed under the roof, to enable year round use.

There are four bathrooms in the home, each showcasing a black and white colour palette together with Kohler’s sleek award-winning* Avid tapware in a beautiful PVD Titanium finish.  A different look is achieved in each bathing space with the clever use of texture and pattern in tiles and finishes.

The Master Bathroom

The luxurious master bathroom exudes sybaritic indulgence – from the deeply relaxing hydrotherapy spa bath to the statuesque 1500mm Terrace vanity with double vitreous china basins and unique ‘FreeDrain’ waste system plus spacious natural oak integrated storage drawers.  The all black bathroom achieves plenty of light reflection with the clever mix of Crystal Glass Loft Black subway tiles in a combination of high gloss and textured finishes while the large scale black Mek Dark wall tiles are finished with white grout.

Products Featured

The Avid tapware is complemented with matching Avid bathroom accessories.

A second bathroom achieves a virtual reverse of the chosen colour palette with striking 1200mm x 600mm honed Calacatta marble wall and floor tiles featuring deep grey veining.  Again, the wall hung Veil Intelligent toilet offers a sculptural take on a traditionally utilitarian fixture.

The Veil, with its French curve heated seat, is richly featured with advanced bidet functions controlled by a one-touch remote control and a self-cleaning bidet wand.

Other features include the Bluetooth enabled Moxie showerhead together with the Exhale multifunction shower and the sleek, low profile ModernLife basin.

All pieces in the bathroom have been selected for their understated crisp, modern lines that together create a sense of privacy and tranquillity bathed in soft light.

*International Red Dot Design Award

FUTURE DESIGNER 2018 ANNOUNCED

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

Precious metals in the bathroom …

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!

Purist PVD

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.

Purist PVD
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.

Purist PVD

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.

Purist PVD

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.

Back to basics – Kohler releases Mica Black Basins

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.

Mica Black Basin

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.

Mica Black Basin

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.

Mica Black Basins

Mica Black Basins