Kohler Celebrated Diversity and Culture in Art at Milan Design Week
Global brand’s immersive installation showcased new limited-edition global product collection with four culturally diverse artist collaborators
KOHLER, Wis., June 15, 2023 /3BL Media/ - The Creator’s Journey presented by Kohler during Milan Design Week featured the iconic brand partnering with four contemporary female artists from four different countries to create a limited-edition global collection of 12 new Artist Editions products for the bathroom. The company also highlighted a breathtaking aerial sculpture by prominent creator and Arts/Industry alum Janet Echelman, and a user-controlled design experience at Palazzo del Senato during Fuorisalone in Milan.
As part of Kohler’s 150th anniversary celebration, the global design leader partnered with four artists, each recognized for their boundary-breaking artistic practices. The talented creators were provided carte blanche to bring their visual expressions to Kohler’s products – the Numi 2.0 smart toilet, Brazn sink, and Brazn bathtub. Each product within the collection was offered in a quantity of 150, honoring Kohler’s anniversary year.
- Ananda Nahú (Brazil), widely recognized for her vibrant murals – KOHLER Artist Editions Flora Tropical
- Ziling Wang (China), known for her innovative use of paint, in particular a paint she invented that can be removed from a canvas and seen in three dimensions – KOHLER Artist Editions A World on Strings
- Pushpa Kumari (India), whose intricate line paintings have redefined India’s Mithila tradition – KOHLER Artist Editions Aranya
- Elle (United States), started with graffiti and now includes large scale projects in her global portfolio – KOHLER Artist Editions Falling Gently
“Kohler is dedicated to creating a space for the cross-section of artistry and craftsmanship in our industry,” says Laura Kohler, Chief Sustainability and Diversity Officer for Kohler Co. “This new Artist Editions collection celebrates women of exceptional talent and diverse backgrounds.”
Kohler’s Artist Editions products date back nearly four decades and bring beauty to everyday rituals – pushing boundaries of decorative processes and material sets, helping consumers express personal style in their spaces. Inspired by marrying visual art with manufacturing craftsmanship, Artist Editions sinks, bathtubs, and toilets are adorned with beautiful textures, intricate patterns, abstract illustrations, and picturesque landscapes. The offering also showcases Kohler’s innovative use of specialty glazes and noble materials.
Artist Janet Echelman presents Noli Timere at Palazzo del Senato
Suspended overhead was a monumental aerial sculpture entitled Noli Timere by acclaimed American sculptor and artist, Janet Echelman. She participated in Kohler’s Arts/Industry residency program more than two decades ago. Echelman also partnered with Kohler on an Artist Editions vessel sink entitled 18.02 that honors the dynamic nature of water (on display in Kohler’s exhibition).
Visitors to Kohler’s installation also embarked on their own “Creator” journey inside an immersive digital experience that allowed them to bring art to life through their movements in space. As colors, patterns and shapes surround guests in the Creator room, they had the chance to become artists themselves, manipulating the creative overlay on Kohler’s Numi smart toilet.
About Kohler Co.
Founded in 1873, Kohler Co. is a global leader in the design, innovation and manufacture of kitchen and bath products; luxury cabinetry, tile and lighting; engines, generators, and clean energy solutions; and owner/operator of two, five-star hospitality and golf resort destinations in Kohler, Wisconsin, and St. Andrews, Scotland. Kohler’s Whistling Straits golf course hosted the 43rd Ryder Cup in 2021. The company also develops solutions to address pressing issues, such as clean water and sanitation, for underserved communities around the world to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations.
For more details, please visit kohlercompany.com.
About the Artists
Janet Echelman sculpts at the scale of buildings and city blocks. Echelman’s work defies categorization, as it intersects Sculpture, Architecture, Urban Design, Material Science, Structural & Aeronautical Engineering, and Computer Science. Using unlikely materials from atomized water particles to engineered fiber fifteen times stronger than steel, Echelman combines ancient craft with computational design software to create artworks that have become focal points for urban life on five continents, from Singapore, Sydney, Shanghai, and Santiago, to Beijing, Boston, New York and London. She graduated from Harvard College, before completing separate graduate programs in Painting and in Psychology. A recipient of an honorary Doctorate from Tufts University, Echelman has taught at MIT, Harvard and Princeton Universities. Her TED talk "Taking Imagination Seriously" has been translated into 35 languages with more than two million views. For more information, please visit echelman.com/.
Elle is considered one of the world’s top street artists. Having started out as a graffiti artist, Elle’s work has been exhibited in the prestigious Saatchi Gallery in London, Urban Nation Museum in Berlin, and as a two-hundred-foot-tall projection onto the facade of the New Museum in New York. Her artwork has been published in dozens of books on street art and in global publications such as ELLE France and Vogue Australia. Elle has collaborated with and painted for various international brands including Reebok, Nike, Under Armour, Ralph Lauren, Samsung, and Toyota, among others. In 2020, Elle was commissioned by IntoAction to create a four-story high tribute painting to Ruth Bader Ginsberg in New York’s Lower East Side. She has a forthcoming commissioned project in Amsterdam at the STRAAT Museum. For more information, please visit ellestreetart.com/.
Pushpa Kumari visualizes a world energized by culture, heritage, observation, and intuitive sensitivity using only a pen and ink on paper. Throughout her life and career, Kumari has challenged India’s traditional cultural norms, choosing instead to focus on her craft. As a result, Pushpa has been able to develop a distinguished body of work, both in concept and expression, from her contemporaries. Kumari’s influences are purely Indian, drawing inspiration from religious and social lore. Despite being rooted in Indian tradition, her work has universal appeal and has reached an international audience. In 2016, her work was included in the prestigious Eighth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art. She has also participated in several museum exhibitions in the United Kingdom, including “Telling Tales,” a 2013 show at the National Museums Liverpool.
Ananda Nahú is a painter, muralist, and visual artist. Her style is distinguished by visual multiculturalism, making re-readings of artistic movements and bringing painting techniques of the past to the present. Nahú’s works present a strong cultural anthropological study of the human being, rescuing art history from the most diverse nationalities, and transforming old currents of thought for the artistic needs of today. Throughout her painting career, Nahú has actively participated in social-artistic projects at the United Nations, the European Union, and New York’s City Hall, among others. Nahú was a guest artist in advertising campaigns for multinational brands such as Nike, Gucci, and Bloomberg. In 2015, she was published by CNN Style and Phaidon as one of the most influential artists in Brazil. In 2016, Nahú broke records in the United States when she painted the largest mural in the state of Ohio, funded by the Cleveland Foundation. For more information, please visit anahu.com/.
Wang Ziling explores how humans perceive the structure of their external surroundings by reforming the spatial form of painting. Wang has invented a hardened acrylic paint that allows for the material to be suspended inside the frame without adhering to the canvas. The resulting “continuous painting” can be used to link floating images between two or three paintings, uniquely requiring viewers fill in the missing information within the extending images. Wang graduated with an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, University of the Arts, London, and BA in painting from the Academy of Art & Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing. Her works have been exhibited and collected by several museums, including Today Art Museum (Beijing), Guangdong Museum of Art (Guangzhou), and Copelouzos Family Art Museum (Athens). She completed an artist residency at the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art (Manchester). For more information, please visit wangziling.co.uk/.