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Mark Bickerstaffe on Bathroom Trends

At the Kohler Design Community Evening recently, Kohler’s design leader and director of New Product Development, Kitchen & Bath, Europe Mark Bickerstaffe discussed the latest European design trends and Kohler’s vision for the future in Kitchens and Bathrooms. We hear the report.


Mark Bickerstaffe: We see five leading trends which we call Wellbeing, Enhanced Everyday, Community, Engaging and Classic Tech.

1. Wellbeing is about finding your balance. We see 2 strands leading new architecture and design:

– Contemplative wellbeing which prioritises emotional restoration and brings carefully curated natural material and structure into play to allow your body and kind to find calm. Mannered environments, careful selection of natural material texture colour arranged harmoniously. Expect natural finish, satin metals, linen, pale pastels and bleached naturals.

– Pro active wellbeing is humankind grasping its own destiny and applying energy to be the best version of yourself you can be. Building confidence in yourself thru physical and mental fitness and working and applying the latest newest understanding and tech to achieve this. This is being expressed thru modern purposeful design, hybrid forms, multi material usage and bold expressions of efficiency and intent. Expect polycarbonate tints and tones, stoneware, technical fabrics and the avant garde.

2. The Enhanced Everyday is as its name suggests more pragmatic. Less about “me” and more about “we”. It embraces new technology and solutions as ways to make life easier and better. It is the new mainstream and follows the same pattern in having 2 strands that align with the wellbeing trend.

– Seamless integrates intelligence, welcomes the latest but insists that it is embedded in the environment. Architecture is tech smart but not expressively so. It feels airy, warm and real. Expect oaks, light brushed steel, white on white and black.

– Overstated is conversely free of constraint and allows the intelligence to be visible and to become part of the identity. Proud of the new forms that technical innovation provides when designed to deliver its best. Expect walnut, raw concrete, tan leather, satin steel, biomimetic architecture and iridescence.

3. Our Community trend represents personal connection and is all about craft and its expression in the interiors we choose.

– Local curates our environs into our living spaces and feels authentic to the place and time. In many ways this is a traditional lifestyle where what is available within local reach is your happy constraint. Choosing to only live and work with this creates its own unique connected solutions. Expect local ply, concrete, black, blown smokey glass and smokey iridescence.

-DIY uses personal craft in the digital age. It is about modern making, using global know how to design and create efficient but local architecture. Resolutely modern and shamelessly, openly reprocessing, repurposing, redefining what living whilst respectful of local resource actually can be. Expect birch ply, paving, cork, terracotta, modularity and elevated mundane designs.

4. Engaging is new post-modernity. Boldly and confidently interpreting and expressing ones self thru your environment and consumption. This is the antidote to thoughtful, mindful living. It is not without respect, but it uses everything we have learnt, know how to do to enable personal gratification, individual expression. A worldly eclecticism. Expect warm wood grains, textured leathers, surrealism, pattern clashes and augmented 80’s influence.

5. And finally, classicism endures. Luxury rooted in the traditions of exclusivity, rarity, gloss and glamour is evolving. Classic-tech embraces the modern crafts of technology and embeds them within to create richly enhanced experiences. Expect polished metals and metallics, oily finishes, ebony and crafted leather.