An interview with the lead industrial designer for the Kohler London Design Studio helps to shed some light on what guides the design aesthetic that creates the bold look of Kohler.
Robert Stevenson joined Kohler at the London Design Studio, where he heads up an international team of designers. His design philosophy centres on the premise that every product is the component of an experience and, as such, must connect with customers in an emotional and meaningful way.
What is the process when it comes to designing the Kohler range, or suites, as you call them?
Kohler as a brand is very focused on leading-edge design. What that means to us as a design team is that the product should be beautiful, and it has to be better. So we’re always looking at what our competitors are doing, where the market is, and what the customer’s needs and demands are. Every time we design a product, we would like it to be tangibly better for the customer, our business and the environment. In order to do this, we need to be very sensitive to the market and the customer. There’s one unique aspect of Kohler: we aspire to be consistent in the way we portray ourselves globally, but at the same time we understand that there is uniqueness in the different regions, and we embrace that.
Collaboration are a big part of Kohler. What have been the most exciting collaborations for the brand?
A lot of internal collaboration takes place at the Design Studio, but most recently our Artists edition has allowed us to collaborate with external artists to create compelling fixtures.
What interesting projects from Kohler can we expect to hit South African shores in the near future?
We’re working on a project called Modern Life, which is our first global range. It was complex to manage, but I think we did a good job. It’s focused on the hospitality sector, which is the hotels and mass residential projects. It offers a variety of products which are simple, beautiful and contemporary.
Top bathroom trends for 2017?
White-on-white bathrooms; black bathrooms offer an unexpected depth and complexity which consumers are enjoying, and you can also expect a lot of playful patterns to feature.