In the midst of the Kitchen & Bath China trade show on Wednesday 6 June 2018, we took the time to bring our customers from around the world to an exceptional location in the center of Shanghai, China, for the annual international customers dinner. After visiting the trade show and seeing a wide variety of bathrooms and kitchens, accessories, furniture, lights, gadgets and more, customers and associates alike marveled at the event location near the Huangpu river that is considered the Mother River of Shanghai. Distributors, developers, architects, designers, and Kohler associates took a short walk from street level through the park up the hill to Sun Chateau on the Bund. The guests who were dressed in their best – in black or creative colors – were welcomed by a team of beautiful ladies at the entrance of the venue. This was the last stop before entering into a world of the future. The steep escalator carried everyone to a ‘Bold Future’ themed restaurant. Greeted by robots who were kind enough to serve some appetizers and a man from the moon who was more than happy to take selfies with everyone, the guests poured into the room.
The soft carpet, the background music and a few glasses of bubbly, white or red wine set a perfect stage for the international customers dinner to catch up with old friends and get to know new ones. When everyone was seated at the large tables that held ten persons and the first Cantonese dishes came out to be placed on the glass lazy Susans, the MCs welcomed David Kohler, President and CEO of Kohler Company, to the stage for the welcoming address. His speech was followed by Larry Yuen, President Kitchen & Bath Group and Angel Yang, President Kitchen & Bath Asia-Pacific.
The three of them invited the audience to celebrate the last 145 years of Kohler and have a long, curious look at the future that lays ahead. Throughout the year, the 145th anniversary is celebrated in different locations around the world and with lots of activities. However, the real interest lays in the future. With lots of smart technologies coming our way, the bathroom and kitchen space will be quite an exciting one to be. The launch of the Smart Home and the tour of the Smart Home apartment in The Bund House earlier in the week gave a glimpse of the things that lay in store. The top managements’ presentations made the listeners even more curious. Mark Bickerstaffe, Director of new product development, took the stage while even more delicious plates of Chinese food were served. The gave a brief history of the design of the latest intelligent toilet: Sensis. The highlight of the moment was the unveiling of Sensis that arrived with the symbolic fanfares and the parting of the big screen, Sensis rolled out on a little cart that resembled the Lunar Roving vehicle quite a bit without missing the little flag. Guests enjoyed the rest of the scrumptious food, Kohler wine, the entertaining dance, and the delicious desserts prepared by the two Michelin star chef Huang Boquan as well as the exceptional view over the river and across to the Bund. The photographer shot the memorable moments when friends were uniting, strangers met, and colleagues shared their latest insights and released them immediately to the audience. Everyone could get their best shot by scanning a QR code and downloading what they liked. Kohler Chocolates and a small gift were also waiting for the invitees when they were ready to wrap up the evening. Judging by the smiling faces around, the evening of the international customers dinner was a blasting success and will remain in people’s memories for a long while.