David Kohler, executive vice president of Kohler, talks to Commercial Interior Design about the key trends currently dominating the commercial bathroom sector.
What are the current trends when it comes bathroom design?
One trend that I think is very important globally is the integration of technology into the business and product categories. We think that design is the perfect blend of form and function - technology should be there to create convenience and enhance the experience.
One of our guiding principals is to stay at the leading edge of both design and technology. The great thing about Kohler is that we go from high technology to high artistry.
Unique, and exclusive to the high end of bathroom technology, is our DTV shower and VibrAcoustic bath. Meanwhile, our Artist collection plays with materials such as ceramics, cast iron, glass, and stainless steel, as well as colours and textures.
How important is sustainability and water conservation in your designs?
Water conservation is a big issue globally, but particularly in this region, since there is the real concern for water availability. There is an increasing need not to sacrifice performance or functionality, but also to conserve water, and this requires the right products and technology.
We don't believe in compromising and that's the challenge. Design is about solving problems, so the challenge before us now is how to create incredible aesthetic designs in a manufacturing method that does not harm the environment.
What design challenges have you had to overcome in the past?
Every design is a challenge but you always have to stay fresh and different. I don't think we look at it as a challenge, it's just something we love and are passionate about. Every product or problem we want to solve is a challenge, it's how do we do it in the best way for the market?
So, we may have a beautiful design idea but the question is how do I make it? How do we make it cost effective? How do we make the technology work?
What do you believe a designer looks for in a Kohler product?
Depending on the property, you can do anything. At the highest end of suites, the sky is the limit, it's ultimately down to the interior designers to decide what they want.
We like the hospitality sector - you can do some fabulous things with bathing and showering. Hotels are essentially a bedroom and a bathroom, so the bathing area is very important.
What's the main difference between trends in the Middle East, Europe and the US?
As I go around the world there are more similarities than differences in what designers, architects and consumers want in terms of design and technology.
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