Founded in 1874 by John Michael Kohler- whose surname identifies both the company and its Wisconsin location-the well-known manufacturer of plumbing fixtures and faucets in 1985 opened the Kohler Design Center (designed by Richard Butler, FASID) as a separate entity of the multi-building headquarters complex. Housing in one half of the structure also assorted exhibits and a museum gallery, the 3,600-sq. -ft. Design Center devotes about two thirds of the space to professionally designed settings highlighting Kohler products. The displays are changed periodically, and seen by approxlmately 10,000 trade and consumer visitors each mon th. As illustrated here they show a partial represen tation of the current series involving the work of seven ASID West Central Region members . Others participating were Walter Koehnlein, Marilyn Rose, Harriet Weiss and Sallie Rowland.
Three design influences-derived from the southwest, the Orient and the Art Deco style-have been synthesized by Joseph G. Hamm, ASID, in his setting showcasing the lav and toilet from the “Cactus Cutter” Artist Editions group and Rapport whirlpool bath. Contained in a shallow 5-ft.-6-in. by 16-ft. space, the display scores with bold geometrics in black and white emphasized by the lines of post-and-beam construction. Lighting, dimmer-controlled and positioned to eliminate unflattering shadows, further unifies the setting, casting soft recessed spots on the tub area and creating a bright yet warm lantern- or rice paper-effect by shining through frosted acrylic panels.
Jan Bernson, ASID, makes the most of soft/hard contrasts by exhibiting gently-curved Kohler fixtures against sharply angled stone appointments. Further supporting the theme are strong-edge planters offset by foliage and suede-simulating wall covers. Pedestal lavatory, toilet and bidet from the Pillow Talk group plus Watersilk whirlpool-all in Kohler’s Black Black-and Taboret deck-mounted faucets in polished chrome are main Kohler products represented in the 9-ft.-6-in. by 12-ft. area.
In the setting by Virginia Phillips, ASID, the prime component projecting predominant Far East motifs comes from a Burmese temple carving above the Tea for Two tub. Supportive roles are played by gilt-finish moldings and wooden carvings. Wellesley Water-Guard toilet and Chablis lavatory basin are in Heron Blue; Flair faucets and Souris bath spout are of polished brass.