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 No plastics are used, electricity is generated from solar panels, towels have been replaced by integrated hand, face and body dryers and large windows create a light-filled space that is less reliant on electricity to illuminate and warm it.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.
Launched to great acclaim and garnering international accolades, Kohler’s ModernLife toilet suite has been recognised for its revolutionary approach to hygiene and ease of cleaning with the prestigious international Red Dot Design Award.
The key feature of the ModernLife back to wall toilet is its truly rimless bowl – a first in the New Zealand market. In taking rimless technology to the next level, Kohler has introduced a beautifully engineered pan featuring a bevelled and chamfered edge. This bevelled edge is finished with Kohler’s patented CleanCoat™ technology.
The ground-breaking combination of the rim’s inward-sloping design and the finish of the edge means any liquid hitting this area will form small beads of liquid that will roll easily into the toilet bowl. In addition, the Vertical Quick Release seat means the seat can be removed with just a gentle pull (when vertical) making thorough cleaning both fast and easy.
It is these innovative features that create the new level of hygiene and easy cleaning that Kohler is introducing with the ModernLife collection.The smooth, sleek interior also means there are no ridges or channels in which germs or dirt can hide. And its 360˚ dynamic flush flow ensures the bowl is rinsed thoroughly.
In another first, Kohler has included an optional Elite Seat. This introduces new levels of comfort and convenience in the form of a subtle LED pinstripe light – to subtly light the seating area when dark, without creating too much light – and a fragrance sachet to gently perfume the air. Both are operated by two AAA, easily replaceable batteries. The ultra-streamlined Elite Seat has an easy fit invisible hinge (easy to install and quick to release for thorough cleaning) plus quiet close seat and lid.
The timeless form of ModernLife’s design is the essence of simplicity with the slight overhang of the lid creating a seamless look.
The ModernLife Back to Wall Toilet suite also features optimal water-saving technology with a mere 4.5/3L water consumption (4 star WELS rating).
The ModernLife toilet suite – with the option of the Elite Seat – is complemented by the ModernLife vessel basins (with and without tap hole) that emulate the simplicity of form and sleek profile of the toilet.
Congratulations to our very own Tom Casper who has just clocked up 40 years with Kohler. What’s more, Tom is the first associate working in the Asia-Pacific region to hit this special milestone! Well done Tom.
Tom was recently in Shanghai at the Kitchen and Bath International Show (KBIS) where his Kohler Asia Pacific associates surprised him with a celebratory honour during a Kohler event.
Tom was sitting in the audience watching speakers introduce the latest in Kohler design, whether that was a new product, insight into business strategy or charitable efforts. And then, unexpectedly, the agenda shifted to service awards and Tom was asked to come to the stage.
Tom Casper 40 years at Kohler with the ANZ team.
On a big screen, photos of Tom began to stream like a live scrapbook of his career: awards he won, events he attended and special moments with colleagues. Then Geoff Cope, Managing Director – Kitchen & Bath New Zealand and Australia – stepped up to the microphone to share the long list of Tom’s career accomplishments.
It was quite a list. After all, he’s been with Kohler for 40 years.
Tom Casper being congratulated by KOHLER ANZ Managing Director Geoff Cope
Tom’s colleagues from Auckland, New Zealand, who couldn’t be there for the ceremony, sent him a congratulatory photo.
The KOHLER NZ team sending anniversary best wishes.
A native of Kiel, Wisconsin, Tom started working at Kohler Co. on the factory floor on June 2, 1976, in the enamel shop in Kohler, Wisconsin and then moved to Brownwood, Texas, to assist in the start-up of KOHLER leisure products manufacturing and assembly. In the early 1980s, he worked in plumbing engineering before joining the customer service and sales team in 1984, a position that would lead him to Australia.
“I arrived in Australia on October 1993 after working on the start-up project for entry into Australia since July 1989. The tenure was supposed to be for a few years, so in August 1997, I moved back to Kohler and took on another role as the international product training manager,” discussed Tom.
Among his many sales, distribution and project awards, Tom said his biggest accomplishment was his induction into the Kohler Co. Quarter Century Club, which honors associates with 25 years of service.
“My mother was in the audience, and I gave tribute to her on that day in my speech. She is the reason I was at Kohler for 25 years, let alone 40 years today. When I told her 40 years ago that I was not happy in my job, she said, ‘Give it another day.’ Here I am 40 years later,” he said.
At the distributor event, Geoff Cope; Larry Yuen, President – K&B Asia Pacific and EMEA; and David Kohler, President & CEO, presented Tom, who had tears in his eyes, with his 40-year anniversary gift.
Tom receiving his award from KOHLER President and CEO David Kohler.
Tom replied, “My induction into the Quarter Century Club on Dec. 1, 2001, was the most memorable in my career, but I must say, Friday night receiving my 40-year service award from David Kohler and my colleagues tops that event.”
Ironically, on the anniversary of his 40th year at Kohler, Tom was touring the cast iron and enamel plant in Shanghai, China. It was in the cast iron and enamel plant in Wisconsin that Tom spent his first day at Kohler 40 years prior. He said, “It felt like I have gone full circle.”