Friday, April 29, 2011

KBIS 2011: Day Two - Kohler

I have to admit. KBIS this year was smaller than shows I've attended in the past. The economic conditions have led to a number of manufacturers downsizing their marketing efforts ... a mistake in my opinion, but I'm not their CFO.  This year the show has seen a few companies return to the fold (Dacor is a great example), but display sizes and staffing efforts are definitely still down on average.

One company that always makes a big splash, year after year at KBIS, is Kohler.  While the booth this year wasn't as "over-the-top" as it was last time the show was in Las Vegas, it was still the most impressive display on the floor.  Kohler set the standard by introducing the NUMI toilet (which I reported on earlier this week) and their other new product lines, while still beautiful innovative really took second billing to the $6,500 toilet.

That's not to say I didn't go looking at anything while I was there.  In fact I spent about an hour being shown around the booth to look at all over Kohler's offerings, including the latest from Ann Sacks.

For me, Kohler has always been about being in touch with the design of the products, first and foremost.  This year's offerings continue that trend.

A single lever vanity faucet from the Toobi line.  Very clean lines with an organic, bamboo-like shape to it, the Toobi line features a colourful accent in the form of a rubber insert that contains the spout screen as well.  The inserts are easily removable for cleaning, and are available in black, white and green (shown).  Similar inserts are available for other items like the Toobi shower head.  I can think of some issues with those inserts, especially where kids are involved, but I love the flexibility of design that Toobi offers.

This is the DTV Prompt digital shower valve.  Digital thermostats are nothing new for Kohler.  But what makes the DTV unique is the price point.  The controller and electronic thermostatic valve assembly are available for around $1,000 list, which in the world of electronic controllers is a bargain.  The DTV allows you to control two sources (a rain shower head and a hand held shower for example) and is very simple to install.  

I'm not normally a big fan of glass vanity basins, but the colours available for the Whist sink were truly beautiful.  This picture really doesn't do the Dusk justice.  The colour is glazed on the underside which give the sink a beautiful sense of depth and movement.

As beautiful as the Whist is for it's colour, the Vox's beauty can be found in its simplicity and lack of colour.  Available in square (left), square with faucet deck (centre) and round (right) Vox is a classix example of minimalist geometry.  I'm not a fan of surface mounted vessels, but I might make an exception here.

I love big soaker tubs.  But make one with a contemporary flair and I'm all over it.  The Abrazo free standing tub is beautifully organic.  It's made from Lithocast™, Kohler's own solid-surface material.  The finish is matte  but feels warm to the touch. And being a solid surface material, it's easy to clean.

Finally, a collaboration between designer Nick de Giulio and Kohler company Kallista.  Nick de Giulio is one of the top kitchen designers in the world  and has created 3 new sinks for Kallista - the 45" Multiere (shown here), the 33" Soltiere and the Bacifore bar sink.  The kitchen sinks come with a series of accessories that work perfectly with the sink and with its user.  Everything has it's space and works perfectly together.  Even the sides of the kitchen sinks are curved in to minimize splashing.


Nick @ Cupboards said...

Excellent post, Arne- was great touring Kohler with you and Becky.

Raina Cox said...

I've just fallen in love with that glass sink. Serious and profound love.

Arne Salvesen said...

@Nick - The pleasure was all mine mate. Way better to see a show with a couple of like minded people than solo. Your company and feedback made the show for me.

@Raina - I saw her first.

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