Kohler Co. in partnership with Sleeper Magazine hosted its first Design Forum in Singapore as part of the Singapore Design Week 2016 calendar. Based on the theme of ‘Delivering Sustainability as Standard’, the Design Forum offers a platform for the exchange of ideas revolving around sustainability, architecture and hospitality in Asia Pacific. Guest speakers leading the exchange include renowned industry thought leaders and leading architects Bill Bensley and Duangrit Bunnag, Guy Heywood, COO, Asia, Commune Hotels + Resorts, and Mark Bickerstaffe from Kohler.
With over 120 major hospitality and trade management in attendance at the prestigious Singapore National Design Centre, the key message of maximizing environmental sustainability through the means of design in today’s hospitality landscape was highlighted.
Mark Bickerstaffe, Kohler’s Director of New Product Development shared about the company’s commitment to sustainability. Dubbed ‘Net Zero 2035’, Kohler seeks to achieve the goal of a net-zero environmental footprint for both greenhouse gas emissions and net waste to landfill by 2035. In keeping with Kohler’s sustainable product development mindset, the brand constantly pushes the envelope on design and environmental impact to create gracious living experiences without compromising on design, functionality, hygiene standards and product life cycle. A good example of this is the ceramic filtration system, Kohler Clarity, which enables people in remote regions to access safe, reliable drinking water at an affordable price point.
Another project in the sustainability pipeline is Kohler’s closed-loop flush toilet systems, developed in collaboration with Caltech. Targeted at developing world locations without access to adequate sanitation, the toilet system includes a self-contained water purification and disinfection system that allows water to be reused and does not require wastewater disposal.
Helping to drive the conversation were presentations by leaders in hotel architecture, design and hospitality including:
Bill Bensley, renowned architect and landscape designer of exotic luxury resorts, gave an exclusive look into how architecture can minimize the disruption to both the environment and local communities. With his latest project, Shinta Mani Wild in Tmor Rung, Bensley creates a one-of-a-kind glamping experience for guests where wildlife co-exist alongside humans. Seeking to empower local community through education and employment as well as farming locally, Bensley’s vision for Shinta Mani Wild is to be a fully self-sustaining entity.
Duangrit Bunnag, leading Thai architect, spoke about how ecological and purposeful design reduces the impact on the environment. Through doing away with excess and utilizing only the bare essentials, he challenged the attendees to think about and reflect on the importance of sustainability not just within the domains of hospitality and design, but in the context of our day to day living.
To wrap up the forum, Guy Heywood, Chief Operating Officer, Asia, Commune Hotels + Resorts, joined the speakers for a panel discussion on the feasibility of striking a balance between investing in the environment for the benefit of the planet and the bottom line for businesses, particularly that of the hospitality industry.
Nothing sums up the Kohler Design forum as well as this quote from David Kohler, Kohler’s President and Chief Executive Officer, “Business success doesn’t matter much if we can’t say we left the world a better place than we found it”.
Check out the playlist of videos from KOHLER Design Forum in Singapore, including highlight video, full-length videos of each speaker and the panel discussion.