It’s a brand that has long been known as an innovator in terms of both style and functionality. Its slogan, “The Bold Look of Kohler,” has rung true for designers and their clients for nearly three decades. But Kohler just stepped up its game when it presented an interesting new take on luxury at its first-ever Design Forum in the Philippines.
Held last Oct. 29 at The Fifth at Rockwell, the Kohler Design Forum was an event that brought the local architecture and design industries up to date with the latest innovations and ideas in the field. It also served as a venue for the sharing of ideas and information among design professionals. Speakers at the event included sisters Ivy and Cynthia Almario of Atelier Almario, architect Cathy Saldaña of PDP Architects, and Clint Nagata of Bangkok’s BLINK Design Group. The event was staged previously in Shanghai and Beijing, China; Johannesburg, South Africa; Vancouver, Canada; and Sao Paolo, Brazil.
The Philippine run of the event revolved around the concept of “Experiential Luxury.” Given the increasing number of technologies being applied to modern homes, architects and designers have expressed concern that spaces might become too utilitarian for comfort. Experiential luxury balances that out, as design professionals are encouraged to create richly dynamic environments that indulge the senses on multiple levels. In essence, it puts a warmer, more human aspect on innovations in order to make spaces more comfortable in the context of modern living. It would not be going too far to say that, with experiential luxury, Kohler is essentially democratizing comfort and elegance.
“We live at a time when luxury is no longer an experience exclusive to the elite,” Kohler Co. Kitchen and Bath, Asia-Pacific president Angel Yang says of the concept. “Kohler creates products that enable users to have rich experiences. We define luxury as a feeling, so we design products that enrich comfortable spaces, elevate the mood, and create a feeling that the experience has been customized for the individual user.”
Indeed, several of the products presented by Kohler at the Forum offer quite an experience for its customers. The Veil-lighted Bathroom Suite, for example, cleverly weaves together a clean modern aesthetic with connectivity and a lighting system that can be customized based on the end-user’s needs. The sleek look of the spouts and handles of the Components Collection adds an understated elegance to a modern bath, while the bright metallic glow of the Vibrant Ombre Collection adds a luxe nuance to washing up. Another item, the Eir Intelligent Toilet, has its own water purifying system, a self-cleaning mechanism, and uses considerably less water than most conventional water closets. This unique aspect of the Eir’s design can be seen as a reflection of Kohler’s current stand regarding water conservation and environmental responsibility.
According to Adam Quek, general manager and commercial director of East Asia Kohler’s Kitchen and Bath Group, luxury does not have to mean wasting resources. Indeed, over the years, the brand has developed numerous systems for water filtration and for regulating water pressure as a way of lessening water usage.
“Our commitment to water conservation is a water-saving system that performs beyond expectations,” he says. It is something that is applied across the board to all of the brand’s products. “Every product that we launch must be environmentally friendly in terms of both manufacturing and end-usage.”
This way of thinking is one of the reasons why, even after nearly a century and a half, Kohler continues to be the brand of choice for many people. Bringing together bold, forward-thinking designs and sustainability with the latest in technology, it is a brand has helped create spaces that exude both comfort and elegance for a growing number of satisfied users across the globe.