Kohler explores the spectrum of modernism at Milan Design week
Once a small Wisconsin-based foundry, Kohler has become a world-leader in the manufacture of kitchen and bathroom elements. Nearly 150 years after its creation, the global brand presents ‘MAXIMIN’, an immersive experience in Milan’s Museo Bagatti Valsecchi, one of Europe’s best preserved 19th-century palaces – and, incidentally, the first home to install a shower in Milan.
‘Milan Design Week is the ultimate celebration of innovation and creativity, and this energy makes it the perfect place to introduce our thinking on modernism and how we design for a spectrum of expression,’ explains Mark Bickerstaffe, Kohler’s director of new product development. The ornate decor of the museum will help bring this energy to life, giving a contrasting perspective on the designs.
Visitors will be able to take a journey through Kohler’s latest output with a series of installations set in the grand rooms of the historic museum, which trace Kohler’s view on modernity. The exhibition design will also incorporate bright neon lights, accentuating the sculptural quality of many of the products on show.
These new global offerings include everything from the dramatic ‘Dutchmaster’ sinks, embellished with bold botanical patterns in a dark colour palette, to the smart and sharp ‘Components’ tap, which exude an industrial aesthetic with a clean matt black finish, the new Ombré finish and the De Stijl-inspired ‘Kallista Grid’ faucet, which boasts a geometric silhouette created using cutting-edge 3D-printing technology.
‘In this Modern context, we pursue timelessness, that intuitive sense of rightness when things are beautiful and work together in harmony,’ says Bickerstaffe. ‘And that harmony can be rich and dense and layered and complex. Or it can be elegant and empty and Zen-like in its simplicity.’
Kohler also uses lighting to further ignite some of its creations. For example, its new Lighting Suite for the organic ‘Veil’ collection magnifies products (including a mirror, sink, vanity, bath and wall-hung toilet) by framing and enhancing them with an ambient glow, which can change shade according to the customer’s mood.
As made apparent by the diversity of its offering, Kohler prides itself on its comprehensive and forward-thinking designs. ‘From minimalism to maximalism – we love creativity in all its forms; and that has never been more apparent than with our new products,’ says Bickerstaffe. ‘We’ve always held strongly to the notion we’re liberating customers’ creativity by providing choice.’
Kohler’s insight into the spectrum of modernism carves a path for customers to find their own design language – whether this is minimalist, pared-back and clean, or expressionist with colour and pattern at the forefront.
Kohler brings this to life through a series of exhibitions
‘MAXIMIN’ by Kohler, 17-21 April 2018, Museo Bagatti Valsecchi, via Gesù 5, Milan
International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), 20-23 May 2018, New York City