Designed by AB Concept Hong Kong, the four-storey Kohler Experience Centre Shanghai takes visitors on a journey that includes a secret garden, a Fifth Avenue-inspired floor, and an entertainment centre and spa.
March 26th, 2019
Kohler has opened its first Kohler Experience Centre (KEC) in China in Shanghai. Occupying a four-storey heritage shophouse on Nanjing Road, the Kohler Experience Centre Shanghai is designed by Hong Kong-based studio AB Concept. The KEC Shanghai us Kohler’s ninth KEC. The global bathroom brand has opened ten experience centres in major cities around the world, six of which are located in the Indo-Pacific region.
A KEC offers a full global offering of Kohler’s products showcased in galleries, interactive displays and spa experiences. Enriching the experience are Kohler’s art initiative, and its in-house Global Projects and Specification experts.
“Our Kohler Experience Centres build on the success of our Signature Stores. They provide a deeper immersion into our product offerings. Trade professionals source and select the best products for any project, wherever the KECs may be located in the world,” said president and CEO of Kohler Company David Kohler at the centre’s opening party.
“The idea for the Kohler Experience Centre stems from our awareness that the industry partners want and need to better understand and experience our products. Our goal with the KECs is to create a special environment for developers, designers, and consumers to meet their needs from procurement to solving various project challenges”, added Larry Yuen, president of Kohler Kitchen & Bath Group.
The interior design of KEC Shanghai takes the concept of ‘Journey of Water’, a narrative that flows through and connects the centre’s four levels.
“Each floor tells a different story while connecting with the other floors. The KEC product presentation is innovatively breaking away from the conventional kitchen and bathroom displays. From the first step into the KEC on the ground floor, customers feel surrounded by nature, design, and life,” shared AB Concept co-founder Ed Ng.
The ground floor displays Kohler Company’s 145-year legacy, articulated with a curated mix of objects, texts and installations. The second floor transports visitors to a secret garden populated with product ranges from Kohler Collection. Here they can experience the latest and greatest innovations from Kohler’s R&D team, including colour trends and sounds.
Explained Ng, “Entering deeper into the space and moving between the floors, visitors experience products as the core and centre of the space. The designs and displays facilitate listening, touching, and smelling – adding to the complete immersive experience.”
For the design of the third floor, Ng, AB Concept cofounder Terence Ngan and their team took inspiration from the Upper East Side of New York City, borrowing the blueprint from the iconic shopping stretches on Fifth Avenue. Products from Kohler luxury brand Kallista and Jacob Delafon are artfully arranged in boutique settings. An area dedicated for busimess meetings and coffee breaks rounds up the offering.
The fourth floor is dedicated to entertainment, relaxation and food. The area features a spa and a live kitchen. The latter will host cooking classes with famed chef and cocktail parties catered by world-class bartenders and the latter provide a real spa experience by appointment.
Artworks affiliated with Kohler Art Center’s Arts/Industry show Kohler Company’s commitment to the arts throughout the premise. The Arts/Industry is an art residency program started in 1974 in the US that sees artists work along with craftsmen in the manufacturing plant to produce unique pieces of art over the course of two to six months. To date, the programme has seen more than 500 artists working at the Kohler factory, pottery, and foundry in Wisconsin, USA.
KEC Shanghai also offers the Kohler global specification service that allows architects and designers working on international projects to have instant, hands-on access to all products across the brand’s entire products and services portfolio. A team of experts is available on-site to help source and assist in solving complex plumbing projects around the world. A video conferencing sessions with Kohler experts in other parts of the world is available by appointment.
“We recognized a tremendous industry need for deeper knowledge and insights on how our products work,” said Yuen. “For instance, from a plumbing perspective, products in a bathroom in Milan are acutely different from those in a hotel in Dubai. Our goal with the KECs and its services is to provide design professionals with a source and solution to all plumbing challenges globally from any KEC location.”
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