The New Face of Luxury
There is a difference between writing and hearing about innovative products and actually experiencing them. At the Kohler Editors Conference last week, I had a first-hand look at the glamour and invention behind some of these luxury kitchen and bathroom amenities.
As this was my first press conference and my first time to Wisconsin, I had little experience to draw on. I certainly did not expect to pull up to a historic hotel in a tiny, picturesque town and unlock the door to a gorgeous suite with an even more beautiful bathroom. Glass, above-counter Briolette vessels hovered above a dark, open-face vanity. Adjacent was a large, rather intimidating looking tub that I knew would get good use from me. And lastly, I found myself staring agog at the shower, which sported five different sprays, including a rainhead, which I had never actually used before.
Still overcome with glee, I used the spare hours I had the first afternoon to explore the town of Kohler.
Created in 1912 by the company, the little town looked like a live version of Monopoly complete with perfect lawns, a picturesque police and fire station and of
course, the massive and historic Kohler factory.
On our three-hour walking tour of the factory, I learned more than I could take in but took away a few key understandings. The factory, housed in several buildings, creates Kohler’s products in a systematic, sustainable and artistic manner. Time is of the essence, and there was no standing around for any worker. I saw the both the integration of robotic technology, as well as the prevailing usefulness of people.
My favorite part was visiting the Arts/Industry building, where Kohler commissions arts to spend several months creating art using the
materials and equipment Kohler provides. Artists are only then required to donate a piece of art to Kohler by the end of their residency, which I saw evidenced throughout the town. I got to try my own hand at making a ceramic pot, but I’m doubtful Kohler will be taking me on anytime soon.
I got immersed even more in the products I had seen being made at the Kohler Waters Spa. I received a Riverbath and massage, and even as I went into the treatment having no clue what a riverbath was, I wasn’t too surprised to see a much larger, more intricate version of the bathtub in my suite. In the treatment, I was of course instructed to relax and enjoy the various settings in the tub, which included everything from a waterfall, different jets, heating, and colored lights. Instead of sitting calmly in the huge bath, I turned back into my six-year-old self–changing the colors, playing with the jet combinations and seeing how many different things I could make the tub too. It was by far the most fun I’ve ever had taking a bath.