Mark Bick­er­staff, di­rec­tor of new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment for kitchen and bath at Kohler, dis­cusses how tech­nol­ogy is trans­form­ing the bath­room ex­pe­ri­ence

Singapore Tatler Homes - - STYLE -

How has tech­nol­ogy trans­formed your de­sign process?

I’m a true be­liever that tech­nol­ogy can make the whole ex­pe­ri­ence bet­ter. The Kohler Kon­nect sys­tem con­nects and brings to­gether ev­ery­thing from the toi­let to the smart mir­ror. It al­lows the bath­room to re­spond to the way you’re us­ing it, that eases your jour­ney through the bath­room. That to me, is the true power of tech­nol­ogy—we don’t want to in­clude tech­nol­ogy for the sake of it, we want to in­clude it to make your life eas­ier, bet­ter, safer and more de­light­ful.

What’s your start­ing point for the de­vel­op­ment of a new prod­uct?

It can start in a num­ber of ways—we can iden­tify themes so as to de­liver a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence in the bath­room. A great ex­am­ple is Sen­sis, a new in­tel­li­gent toi­let tar­geted at Asian women with a de­sire to look after them­selves. So Sen­sis was de­signed to de­liver things that they cared about, such as wa­ter qual­ity, hy­giene and the over­all aes­thetic. It’s a beau­ti­ful, un­der­stated ob­ject that looks like a cos­metic con­tainer. An­other way can be by pure chance. An im­por­tant part of creativ­ity is to have struc­tured pro­cesses, but also have room for the happy ac­ci­dents. The Real rain shower sys­tem came about when one of our de­sign­ers was caught in a sum­mer rain­storm. He thought, ‘Why can’t I have a shower that feels as great as this?’ He went on a per­sonal quest to find the dif­fer­ence, which turned out to be that rain­drops come in dif­fer­ent sizes and fall at ran­dom. By un­der­stand­ing that, we were able to de­velop an amaz­ing shower ex­pe­ri­ence that feels like sum­mer rain.

What are the key bath­room trends to watch?

Tech­nol­ogy will con­tinue to be in­te­grated into the bath­room. Light­ing will be one area to see a lot of big changes and it’s an op­por­tu­nity to in­te­grate it bet­ter into our prod­ucts. Bath­tubs are now com­ing back into the bath­room, with the bath­tub as a cen­tre­piece and a beau­ti­ful ob­ject. It’s also an in­vest­ment in per­sonal time that’s a demon­stra­tion of lux­ury—to have bath­rooms that are more ex­pe­ri­en­tial with op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­lax and un­wind.

What are your goals for fu­ture col­lec­tions?

We want to de­sign bath­rooms that are good for any age and to do it in beau­ti­ful ways. I think tech­nol­ogy can help in many ways through voice con­trols and im­prov­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity in the bath­room. Sus­tain­abil­ity will be a big is­sue, es­pe­cially with the con­sump­tion of wa­ter, elec­tric­ity and clean­ing chem­i­cals. By look­ing deeper into the whole life cy­cle of each prod­uct, we can cre­ate prod­ucts that take us closer to the goal of sus­tain­able liv­ing.

LEFT TO RIGHT Mark Bick­er­staff, Kohler di­rec­tor of new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment for kitchen and bath; the Real rain shower sys­tem; the Mica col­lec­tion of coun­ter­top basins; the Verdera smart mir­ror

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