Editor’s Note: The Kohler Company recently had its annual Media Trends Summit at the company’s facilities in Kohler, Wis. One of our Editorial Advisory Board members, Toni Sabatino of Toni Sabatino Style, attended on behalf of KBB and shares her experience, as well as some new product trends.
Arriving at the American Club is a pretty magical experience. The beautiful historic building has been updated and outfitted to five-star glory; it is picturesque, comfy and includes both a world-class golf course and spa.
The Media Trends Summit experience included a look at new products, several presentations, a factory tour, some great lunches and dinners with members of the company and Kohler family and a choice of a world-class spa experience or golf lesson. I chose a spa treatment, Lavender Rain, a heavenly hour of exfoliation and hydrotherapy accompanied by relaxing music and aromatherapy.
The rooms at the American Club have unique decor items relating to historical figures, and the bathrooms in the guest rooms are full of luxury Kohler products. The charm of the brick buildings and furnishings is reminiscent of a bygone era of opulence, which is a perfect pairing with the hospitality of the Kohler Company and family.
Mr. Herbert Kohler V., Jr., current executive chairman, shared the history of the Kohler Company, the Kohler family and this area of Wisconsin with our group over cocktails and dinner at Riverbend, a restored Kohler family home converted to a private club. The Kohler commitment to quality is notable in every detail. The restorations of the buildings and farm-to-table food selections are both examples of the passion the Kohler family brings to all of its endeavors.
The new product offerings are no exception. The Veil toilet (above) is Kohler’s entry into the wall-hung hygienic toilet market. It features remote operation, washing and drying features, a self-clean system and heated seat all with the sleek attractive styling I have come to expect from Kohler. A new offering in the bathing category – a solid surface freestanding tub – comes in two sizes and at an excellent price point. Artifacts, the eclectic, artful faucet collection from Kohler boasts several new matte finishes. New entries to the lavatory sink market include tactile finishes that work perfectly with more artisanal and fashion-focused interior design. Shown below is Kohler’s Purist faucet, which offers clean lines and soft curves.
Mark Bickerstaffe, director of new product development, shared a presentation on marking the importance of softer whites, matte black and mixed metals, warm neutrals, shadowy tones, textural quality and personality pieces being of major factors in the interior design market place. “Sultry” is a word that comes to mind when thinking of the thought-provoking images presented during the presentation. It seems that super clean lines and crisp grays are being replaced by an eclectic mix of metals, light reflectivity, glamour and romance with a smoky dose of intrigue.
Artisanal products and finishes continue to be notable trends to watch for. I can confirm the emergence of warmth, matte metal and a host of soft, textured, eclectic finishes to be prevalent in the furnishings at the Highpoint Fall Market. I find the Kohler’s new entries to the market to be right on trend. I also find that in our global world, where we have access to everything, creating a unique, sultry, artisanal space that fits like good fashion is a trend that will be with us for a while.
– Toni Sabatino