New Delhi, Oct 5 (IANSlife) Many people regard the bathroom and kitchen to be a getaway, a place where they can spend as much “me” time as possible pampering themselves. According to Salil Sadanandan, a lot of people create or choose a house basis the bathroom and kitchen space. They are willing to have a lesser living area than they might have planned for but would be unwilling to compromise on bathroom and kitchen space. The bathroom is no longer just a functional area but a continuation of the bedroom where people see it as an area to rejuvenate.
“Bathrooms are the most intimate personal space for people, a space where people can cut off from the world and clear their minds and thoughts. These are the rooms where people let their guard down and are truly at one with themselves. Be it humming/singing in this space, feeling a sense of happiness as they immerse themselves in the creative abode of the kitchen area, or de-stress in the bath space. As a brand, we are cognizant of the need to have a personal sense of expression in the bathroom and have enabled this via our various colors and finishes which have played a magnificent role in adding to the sensibilities of personal aesthetics,” says Salil Sadanandan, President, Kitchen and Bath Kohler Brand K&B S. Asia, Middle East & SSA.
Salil Sadanandan speaks to IANSlife regarding the design, leadership, and innovation aspects of KOHLER Co. one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies with more than 30,000 associates.
What are the new customer expectations for design and innovation in 2022 and ahead?
Salil: Design and Technology are the two driving levers in the new product development process for Kohler. For discerning consumers, we keep on pushing our boundaries with special emphasis on innovative features to upgrade the consumer experience.
For instance – The new Anthem digital control from Kohler transforms the daily routine of showering into a blissful affair, giving users a fresh start to the day. The valves can control up to six outlets, allowing the user to personalize any combination of shower sprays, rain heads, showerheads, hand showers, and body sprays.
Vive faucets is another example of a very indigenous expressive design. Customers prefer styles that add character to the bathroom space and compliment their decor sensibilities. The finish is an important aspect, where customer preference is expanding from chrome to vibrant finishes (rose gold, matt black, French gold, brushed bronze). These finishes create a wow factor in the bath space.
The statement, a showering solution has various showerheads and rain heads to cater to the versatility of customer taste. Statement showering pairs thoughtfully crafted designs with signature spray experiences for wholly immersive environments that drench the body and relax the mind. Statement shower heads are getting launched in October. Together, Anthem and Statement combined is a Red Dot Design award winner.
How does your brand cater to the minimalist trend among millennials? What are your thoughts?
Salil: Kohler as a brand caters to multiple design sensibilities- Classical, Expressive, Minimalist, and Modern to name a few. There is something for everyone. The millennial preferences are catered to via these pillars-
Wellness – Solutions that contribute to a state of happiness by targeting the senses to produce an elevated state of mind
Smart – Simplified technology for intuitive usage
Sustainable – Products that help mindfully preserve water.
To cater to the minimalist trend, Kohler is going to launch the Brazn bathroom collection where every shape is a statement. The new Brazn water closet with sleek over-counter takes inspiration from the Modernist movement with pieces that combine the simplicity of minimalism with elegant, functional solutions. Brazn offers a refined, classic take on the bathroom suite while creating a striking centerpiece.
What effect does colour have on kitchen and bath products?
Salil: Kohler, as a brand, has always inspired consumers to upgrade from classical white or a run-of-the-mill polished chrome finish to different colours and finishes, in both fixtures as well as fittings. In fact, Kohler has a long-standing history with colour. In 1967, our Advertising Manager, Mr. Armond “Bud” Grube, developed the concept of boldly coloured products under the tagline “THE BOLD LOOK OF KOHLER”. This tagline and the feelings behind it are still alive and well applicable today.
Our colours take inspiration from across the globe in order to cater to different tastes and sensibilities. Be it for globally conscious consumers or consumers taking pride in their Indian heritage, we have something for every patron.
When it comes to designing interior spaces, people love to express themselves. Colour supports wider contexts of spatial design; people need to understand the complete set to have confidence in colour.
Kohler provides several designs in different colour palettes like Peacock, Indigo, Thunder Grey, Black in Ceramic and French Gold, Brushed Bronze, Matte Black, and Rose Gold in Fittings, to name a few, from which consumers can mix and match to create their own unique look for a modern and vibrant home.
Describe the idea for the artwork that was chosen for a select selection of the products on your website, such as the Quila vessel.
Salil: An ode to India’s artistic heritage, Quila is a celebration of miniature-style painting. Creatively imagined by Padma Shri Jai Prakash Lakhiwal, this masterpiece depicts the bustle of life inside a Rajput fort and the different life forms outside coming together during Vasant Ritu, in a playful composition.
Kohler has a very long history of being inspired by art and culture. In fact, we globally have a program of Artist Edition for upcoming and well-known artists who we tie up with. With India’s rich history in art, we finally thought it is time to introduce the Artist Edition in India and pay homage to Indian traditions and art. With this artist edition, we want to give tribute to the Indian artists and bring India’s rich heritage traditions through art in bathroom spaces. Our collaboration with Jai Prakash has been very special. Through Quila, we wish to create an exciting experience for our consumers in their bathroom spaces
How has the pandemic affected kitchen and bathroom design and production?
Salil: The pandemic saw a major slowdown in the industry; however, it bounced back quickly in 2021, and in 2022 the market is seeing a growth spurt due to pent-up demand. This year we are seeing the highest growth rate in the last 10 years.
Indian market is showing strong resilience in areas across- Residential, Commercial and Hospitality segments post the slowdown due to Covid.
There has been a shift towards increased interest in homes over the last few quarters where homes have become the new sanctuary and consumers are willing to invest. The on-ground demand suggests that several of our consumers are planning to move from apartments to individual houses or planning to renovate their house. This augurs well for us from a retail sales perspective.
(N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe can be contacted at email@example.com)