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Kohler booth at Design Shanghai 2020
Kohler booth at Design Shanghai 2020

At Kohler Co., we pride ourselves on forecasting trends and introducing inventive, human-centric technology — an enduring commitment to innovation and experience that we emphasized at the recent edition of Design Shanghai, which took place from  26 to 29 November 2020.

The seventh edition of the prestigious international trade and design event was a bustling scene at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center, with over 400 exhibitors hosted in a space almost double the size of the fair’s previous location. This reflected an eagerness for new experiences, knowledge and exchange, in spite of the year’s challenges. The “new normal” for such events saw Design Shanghai launch an inaugural digital version, with daily livestreaming and virtual tours.

Kohler booth at Design Shanghai 2020
Kohler booth at Design Shanghai 2020

This edition marked our fourth year of participating in the event, and our presence was strong across the show floor. Our perspective of the year, Dimensions of Wellbeing — a design-centered framework to discuss trends in global culture, business, and lifestyle — was particularly relevant. “Dimensions of Wellbeing addresses the multifaceted ways consumers today are taking greater care of their health beyond the physical and mental spheres. It is an apt response to the changes in our lives caused by the pandemic,” explains Cedric Ong, President of Kitchen & Bath, Kohler China. “Our focus has pivoted from how spaces affect our wellbeing to how consumers’ wellbeing is considered in every stage of the design process.”

KOHLER Design Forum
KOHLER Design Forum

We were the title sponsor of the fair’s talks program, which expanded on this with the theme “The Circular Economy.” As part of the KOHLER Design Forum, we invited interior designer Bangsheng Yang, designer and architect Patrick Fung of Wilson Associates, lighting designer Uno Lai, and our own Global Design Studio Manager Chia Ying Lee to each present a talk under the theme Dimensions of Wellbeing.

Lee’s poignant and uplifting talk elaborated on the various ways of considering and approaching wellbeing. While the impact of COVID-19 has been devastating, Lee highlighted how it has also brought out the best of humankind through acts of unity, kinship, and community bonding. She also spoke about the pandemic’s impact on the design of spaces and how biophilic design, fresh air, and natural light are more important than ever for our health and happiness. “How will we evolve our homes to facilitate hygiene and healthy habits while providing joy?” she asked, all the while stressing the potential for spaces both public and private to have positive effects on our wellbeing. 

Vibrant Moderne Brushed Gold bathroom suite
Vibrant Moderne Brushed Gold bathroom suite
Matte Black bathroom suite
Matte Black bathroom suite

At our booth, visitors could experience for themselves what wellbeing entails. Terrazzo, wood, ivory brushed plaster, bronze and velvet accents, curved elements, and a green wall came together to form a multisensory, calming, and elegant environment that was both educational and inspirational.  

Different settings within the booth showcased various product ranges, including the exceptionally durable and versatile new Matte Black finish, the modernism-inspired Brazen™ bathtub, and the hydrotherapy VibrAcoustic™ bath.

Numi 2.0 intelligent toilet
Numi 2.0 intelligent toilet

A resounding highlight was Numi™ 2.0 — launched in China in 2020 — which we showcased in the booth’s Smart Home room. Its predecessor (launched in 2011) offered a premium sensory bathroom experience, harnessing technology and taking cleanliness to exceptional levels with hands-free opening and closing, a touch-control remote, personalized water temperature, pressure, and spray options, and an integrated bidet, among other features.

The Numi 2.0 upgrades  these sensory experiences with integrated  voice control and combines sound, temperature, and light to mimic the spa experience, all controllable through voice command, the KOHLER® Konnect™ app, or remote control. The improved version also boasts a sleek design and personalized presets for each member of the household. At this year’s IDEAT Future Award, Numi 2.0 was announced the winner in the best innovative bath product category, taking its place among the judges’ selection of best designs in the world for the Chinese market.

“We are proud that Numi 2.0 received the IDEAT Future Award for the best bath product design in 2020,” says Ong. “Its updated usability and look reflect our commitment to creating high-quality products that align with trends and technologies of today — in this case, the Internet of Things and consumers’ desire for seamless living.”

Numi 2.0 intelligent toilet

Numi 2.0 intelligent toilet

To bring our message to a wider audience, we partnered with esteemed media brands such as ELLE DECORATION China, whose livestreamed program of events we hosted on a screen at our booth and who introduced the forum and Dimensions of Wellbeing theme, and Wallpaper* magazine, our official online media partner who produced digital and social content to share our activities over the weekend.

Overall, it was our commitment to human-centered solutions that was keenly felt at Design Shanghai. We hope our aspirational approach and innovative solutions continue to assure and inspire optimism even in uncertain times.

Kohler booth at Design Shanghai 2020
Kohler booth at Design Shanghai 2020
Kohler booth at Design Shanghai 2020