KOHLER Experience Center Singapore is located at 52/56 Peck Seah Street, Tanjong Pagar


First KOHLER Experience Center in Southeast Asia

The typical showroom experience can be overwhelming. KOHLER hopes to be instantly inspiring.

  • September 27, 2017

  • Written by Judith Torres

  • Photos courtesy of KOHLER

Singapore, 31 Aug 2017  — What can one experience at a Kohler Experience Center? Well, for one, you can actually bathe in the fully functioning displays—a first for the Kohler brand and the industry. Not that any of the guests or press at the launch of the Kohler Experience Center in Singapore actually got in a shower stall to try, for example, Real Rain. Real Rain, I was told, is “a remarkable showering experience that has the power to transport the bather to the center of a summer rainstorm.”

I sadly also didn’t try the DTV+ digital showering system. How could I, when I had a press kit tucked in my armpit, a gift bag in one hand, and a glass of wine in the other, and no place to put them down?

The Kohler Experience Center was packed, and Kohler staff were diligently shepherding groups of guests from one display to the next. Resisting the shuffling herd, I picked the displays with attendants who were unoccupied so they might answer questions to my satisfaction. These attendants were exceptionally long-legged, exotic looking, and dressed in bathrobes, but they couldn’t offer any product information, just canapés, which, it turns out, was their job for the evening.

READ MORE: The WOHA-designed the annex building of Maybank Kim Eng Properties in Singapore’s Chinatown

INTERACT WITH DISPLAYS

One stall had steamy water spraying out of the showerhead. As I moved closer to check out the touchscreen interface, a regular-sized lady materialized out of nowhere to inform me the touchscreen could control lights, music, temperature, flow rate, and flow pattern to create a genuine multi-sensory showering experience.

The Konnect Suite. The digital thermostatic valve (DTV+) is Kohler’s most advanced showering system. It controls water delivery–from targeted body sprays to warm drenching of a rainhead, and a range of sprays with a multifunctional showerhead or handshower. SoundTile speakers for music, a steam generator, and a WaterTile Ambient Rain shower panel for chromatherapy complete the experience.

She had to raise her voice quite a bit to be heard over the din of dozens of people ooh-ing and ah-ing. When she mimed opening the door, presumably for me to partake even just a little of the multi-sensory experience, I mimed back that I wasn’t that crazy and maybe the demonstration would be better suited to the exotic woman in the bathrobe across the room.

GET WILD, WILD WET

If it’s immersive experiences you want, the Kohler Experience Center offers them, literally. Like the VibrAcoustic hydrotherapy, a unique, state-of-the-art bathtub that blends music vibrations with water for a bathing experience like no other. Check this out:

 

TAKE EXPERT ADVICE

One of the most valuable things you can do at a Kohler Experience Center.

“From a plumbing perspective, what works in Milan is acutely different from what would work in Dubai or Shanghai,” says Larry Yuen, Kohler Co. president of the global Kitchen & Bath Group. He adds: “Navigating codes and standards for different global markets can be a challenging process, but our on-site Kohler global experts will be able to guide customers through the process.”

The Live Shower Area

Kohler does have a dedicated sales force in each market to support architects, designers, and building owners throughout the specification process. The Kohler Experience Center provides a home base for one-on-one consultations with Kohler experts.

Larry Yuen, Group President – Kitchen & Bath

Our goal with the KEC is to provide design professionals with both the ability to source and resolve all plumbing needs on a global scale from any KEC location,” says Yuen.

The Kallista suite. Introduced in 1979, Kallista combines timeless aesthetics with superb craftsmanship to create kitchen and bath collections second to none. Exquisite details express a singular elegance that works in harmony with today’s sophisticated interiors.

COLLABORATE

Designers are always on the go, so each Kohler Experience Center is equipped with workspace, meeting rooms, video conferencing, and multiple screen projection. Designers can collaborate one on one with Kohler product experts anywhere in the world and conference with colleagues and clients.

One of the sitting areas for KEC visitors

ACCESS KOHLER’S GLOBAL OFFERING

TheKohler Experience Center provides access to the full range for Kohler’s global core offering. Now that can be intimidating because Kohler never gets rid of a collection or design. Products that Kohler offered 10 or 20 years ago—or even in the 1950s, are still in their inventory in the quaint little town of Kohler in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA!

RESEARCH

You can check all those designs out at the state-of-the-art library in each Kohler Experience Center.

Gallery space that discloses Kohler’s brand history through interactive digital media walls and glass display cases with original castings

ELIMINATE THE CHAOS OF CHOICE

With access to the full breadth of Kohler’s global products, the multitude of choices can be overwhelming. TheKohler Experience Center streamlines the shopping and specification experience for both consumers and design professionals with a new Kohler global specification service.

Black Suite, highlighting the Reve Freestanding Bath in Glossy Black.

BE INSPIRED

A roomy gallery space anchors the entrance area with a series of photographs, interactive media walls, and artifacts depicting Kohler’s history.

The laser-cut batik panels and Peranakan-inspired floor tiles at the Singapore Kohler Experience Center are faithful to its context and contribute to the showroom’s sense of place. The same principle of “sense of place” applies across all KECs, with Indian textiles and patterns used in the New Delhi KEC, as another example.

The themed displays help clients decide what they want. At the Kohler Experience Center in Singapore, five suites reflect the following themes: fashion, high-technology, family, classic, and shades of black.

Jacob Delafon suite. For over 120 years, Jacob Delafon has been a bathroom leader, renowned for craftsmanship. Quality and environment have been core concerns for Jacob Delafon over the decades. Jacob Delafon’s environmental initiatives focus on water-efficient products for the home, such as flow control taps and water-saving toilets.

The High-Tech Suite includes the Karess 1.8m Drop-In Whirlpool, “a new therapy massage system providing irresistible massage experience”

ENJOY ART

Kohler is actually known in art circles for its artist-in-residence program. Every year, the company sponsors the residence and stipend of artists in the town of Kohler in Wisconsin. The artists are free to experiment with Kohler factory equipment, such as steel forges and ceramic kilns, to create art. The company asks only one thing of the artists: that they donate one work of art to Kohler’s growing collection.

Each Kohler Experience Center will exhibit art pieces and sculptures from the permanent collection of Kohler Co.

Guests admiring the Artist Editions collections. With decorated and textured surfaces, the pieces handcrafted by Kohler artisans inspire creativity and make it easy to achieve a personalized, coordinated look.

THE LAUNCH

Truth to tell, when I visited the Kohler Experience Center Singapore on the morning of its opening, I didn’t think they would make it on time. The 795-square meter KEC is housed in a historical three-storey shophouse on Peck Seah Street in Tanjong Pagar. Because Kohler chose a shophouse listed for conservation, the designers, LTW Designworks, were constrained by numerous guidelines intended to safeguard the integrity of the structure and its heritage design.

When I dropped by the shophouse, open crates and packaging material littered the floor, the noise of carpentry work was everywhere, and I could smell varnish. Marketing and Sales bosses and staff from Kohler Philippines who had flown in to do strat-planning with their counterparts in the region were all in work clothes, apparently helping the Singapore team mount the displays. Marketing and sales teams from other countries were helping out as well.

Amazingly, they finished the showroom with time to spare after changing into dapper suits and ties for the evening. Everything was in its proper place, with nary a knob askew.

Teo Su Seam, Partner at LTW DesignWorks: “From getting to know the wide range of high quality products from Kohler’s various lines, our team was very excited to work on such a unique interior project that was ultimately a lot of fun for us.”

The highlight of the event was a two-minute light projection show. All the guests were asked to come outside the shophouse, onto which the Kohler team projected moving images telling the brand’s story.

Here’s what it looked like:

 

ONE LAST THING

You can gawk at photos of dashing CEO David Kohler when he’s not around for you to gawk at in person. He’s been traveling a lot lately, visiting every Kohler Experience Center that opens.

David Kohler, President and Chief Executive Officer: “Our Kohler Experience Centers build upon the success of our Signature Stores and will provide a deeper immersion into our product offerings for trade professionals sourcing and selecting the best products for any project, wherever it may be in the world.”

The first three to open were in New York, London, and New Delhi, which launched earlier in 2017. KECs in Taipei, Bangkok, and Singapore followed in August. Opening soon are the KECs in Los Angeles, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Dubai. 

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