When Australia’s SJB Architects were invited to design the ‘bathroom of the future’ for Kohler’s flagship store in Shanghai, China they envisaged a luxurious cocoon of new age materials equipped with the very latest Kohler innovations.
SJB was one of only four leading architectural firms from around the world invited by Kohler to design a bathroom showcasing one of five themes: Chinese, contemporary, classic, transitional and futuristic.
The project was developed as a means of commemorating Kohler’s 140th anniversary as a global leader in the
field of bathroom design and technology.
Tristan Wong, the SJB architect who spearheaded the design, felt the bathroom of the future could be a global traveller’s retreat and as such located in the hull of a ship or fuselage of a jet.
Wong’s vision is of a seamless, folding cocoon of new-age materials – inspired by the highly sculpted, dynamic forms emerging in car and boat design – melding highly evolved technology with a tactile experience that imparts a feeling of invigoration and vitality to anyone entering the space.
Walls and ceiling fold and merge to conceal lighting, speakers and an exhaust fan, transporting what is essentially a highly practical multidisciplinary bathing space to an exciting and dynamic level. The yacht-style timber flooring provides warmth underfoot which complements the long, carbon fibre vanity that morphs into a day bed.
“We made an intentional shift away from the more traditional bathroom materials of tile and stone – that often have a cold, utilitarian feel – to the highly versatile Kerlite which is a kind of ceramic porcelain. We chose a combination of white Kerlite for a clean, bright feeling and a bronze champagne Kerlite to create warmth and contrast.
“Carbon fibre was the other material used extensively in the design. Chosen for its malleability, strength and waterproof qualities, it was the perfect choice for the vanity and day bed. It also has a great aesthetic, with the woven strands of filament visible through the resin,” Tristan says.
To complete the look is the multifunctional electronically controlled shower area, equipped with watertile overhead shower panels and wall mounted body sprays to create an all-enveloping, totally luxurious showering experience.