For the third annual Kohler Design Affair, the theme of Modernism took center stage. Co-hosted by Kohler and Interior Design, designers from all fields traveled from around the world to the village of Kohler, Wisconsin, for three days of speakers and activities focused on designing the modern world.
Stimulating speakers such as food futurist Dr. Irwin Adam, artist Marc Fornes, and Joni Saylor, Director IBM Design Thinking Practice, invited attendees to venture beyond their comfort zones. “It was a moment to think about something slightly different,” says Pascal Wensick of EPR Architects. The interplay of art as architecture and designing food as an experience encouraged the group to think creatively about how design impacts everyday life and how different creative fields inform one another.
Kohler's rich history as a design leader also took center stage as chairman Herb Kohler Jr. reaffirmed the company’s commitment to staying on the forefront of innovation. “We have 80 global designers from all over the world,” explained Larry Yuen, group president of kitchen & bath at Kohler, “we want to learn from them to see how we can grow as a company.”
Experience was another central theme of the three-day event. Kohler offered attendees the opportunity to explore the company’s WasteLab to learn about sustainability and effective reuse of manufacturing waste. Designers crafted their own tiles using sustainable materials and will see their work produced into real tile samples by Kohler. Exploration of Kohler, WI, ensued, featuring lunch at the River Wildlife dining club and such afternoon activities as trap shooting, wine tasting, and yoga, and a dinner party at the Riverside governor’s mansion.
Chairman Herb Kohler Jr. encapsulated the idea of an international community coming together to learn from each other and design a better future succinctly, stating “at Kohler, we firmly believe that design can improve lives.”