The kick-off event KOHLER Design Forum Singapore 2018 was the inaugural edition of KOHLER Design Forum series this year and a smashing success. 70 architects and designers from well-known architecture and design firms followed the invitation to the pre-evening event on 16 August at the Kohler Experience Center. Ahead of the KOHLER Design Forum Singapore 2018, guests had the chance to check out the latest products in the showroom, catch up with friends, and catch a moment or two with the four speakers before they were going on stage. Angel Yang, president K&B Asia Pacific, welcomed everyone to this year’s KOHLER Design Forum under the theme ‘All things connected’. She handed over the microphone to James Chambers, bureau chief of Monocle in Hong Kong who was the moderator and facilitator for the evening at the KOHLER Design Forum Singapore 2018. He introduced the expert speakers from various fields such as hospitality, academia, architecture, and Mark Bickerstaffe, our director new product development K&B, and led through the discussion at the end. The theme ‘All things connected’ opened the discourse on how technology is shaping the world, what changes we will likely see, and how it disrupts establishments. Professor Dr. Gerhard Schmitt from the Singapore-ETH Centre where he is the director brought the audience on a journey to smart cities. The term is popping up all over the world connecting cities and infrastructure to technology. He challenged the guests to think beyond ‘smart’ and coined the expression ‘responsive cities’. Responsive cities are centers where people take back responsibility from infrastructure automation and technology. Citizens put themselves in a leadership role and manage, construct, and plan the environment they are living in. He pointed out that this is particularly challenging as in the next 30 years more than two and a half billion people will be living in urban areas. For architects, designers, and urban planners as well as for the individual citizen this is a huge undertaking to create future cities that are more resilient, sustainable, and better managed. Steven Shaw, executive principal at Aedas Interiors, is a digital wizard who shared an interactive, action-packed presentation with the audience showcasing the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) in the architectural and design space. He stressed that everything is (or will be) connected and interplaying and affecting anyone’s life. Drawing from experience, seeking the moment, and looking ahead into the future are the building blocks to shape the environment we all live and work in. Michael Wang of Marriott International who previously spoke at the KOHLER Design Forum in Taiwan manages a huge number of projects in his current role where he and team look at design and innovation for all of the hotel brands in the portfolio. As a trained architect, he was in a great position to share Marriott’s initiatives in technology and design with the attentive audience. He was keen to interact with guests and collected opinions and insights that might build a basis for future ideas in his work of today, tomorrow, and the future. Mark Bickerstaffe emphasized the change in the bathroom environment. For a long time, the bathroom has been a functional space, it is changing into a true living space and becoming even more – a place where we like to spend time. Mark strives to elevate the most important room in the house by adding more value. By integrating technologies and innovations that address issues of safety and health but also ensure a greater ease of use, he and the team aim to provide more intensive life experiences and gracious moments for customers and users. From whole cities to architectural spaces and buildings to the hospitality industry and specifically bathroom designs, technology and innovation are disrupting processes and ways of thinking. The KOHLER Design Forum Singapore 2018 speakers did a splendid job of painting a picture of the near and changed future that is exciting and fast-moving. In the panel discussion, they addressed questions and concerns from the audience and elaborated on their unique expertise’s point of view. The next KOHLER Design Forum in on 19 September 2018 in London where the conversation about ‘All things connected’ continues with more experts from various fields.
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