"Is the world ready for a toilet with its own foot warmer, heated seat, bidet washlet and built-in music system, all controlled by a touch-screen remote?" That's the question being asked by American company Kohler as it launches its Numi luxury toilet on a market dominated by Japan's TOTO. We talk about the PR blitz to woo affluent customers away from the analog loo, and hear how this fits into visions of the Future City at Little Tokyo Design Week.
FROM THIS EPISODE
The sponsor for the "Future City" Pecha Kucha was the Japanese bath manufacturer TOTO, who displayed its new Neorest 550, a high-tech luxury toilet which includes features like an automatic lid, remote control, duel flush, and bidet. Frances hears from TOTO's Allan Dallatore on the company's strategy, then visits with Little Tokyo Design Week co-creator Hitoshi Abe on why the fancy toilet is so prized in Japanese culture.
The Neorest 550 by TOTO with its nightlight to welcome evening visitors
The Neorest's sculptural profile
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin-based company Kohler has created its own luxury toilet, the NUMI, which debuted last month at a party in West Hollywood. Kohler product manager Michael Marbach and executive creative director Tristan Butterfield explain the NUMI's features, while Frances hears some first reactions from party guests Cameron Silver, the owner of the vintage shop Decades, and Frances's daughter, Summer.
The NUMI by Kohler features square, untoilet-like edges
Ads for the NUMI were photographed at the iconic Pierre Koenig-designed Stahl House
Allan Dallatorre, Senior Coordinator for TOTO
Hitoshi Abe, University of California, Los Angeles
Michael Marbach, Product Manager, Toilets and Bidets, Kohler
Cameron Silver, Decades
Tristan Butterfield, Executive Creative Director, Kohler
With Carmageddon behind us, and many people now on vacation, it's a great time to get out and explore the many design events happening across Los Angeles. Frances speaks to brand consultant Sean Yashar to find out his picks for what to see in L.A., from architect John Lautner's 100th birthday to an upcoming exhibition that reimagines Los Angeles without cars. View all Yashar's picks over at the DnA calendar.
Sean Yashar, Brand Consultant
More From Design and Architecture
Will SB 827 smash local control?, Boyle Heights artists A proposed state law could radically change California’s residential neighborhoods. Supporters hope the bill will create much-needed housing in the state’s growing cities. Critics say it will ruin their communities. And, Boyle Heights art galleries have been the target of an anti-gentrification campaign by artist-activists. One gallery owner offers to shut down to symbolically “acknowledge their practice.”
The challenge of building new housing in density-resistant Los Angeles A has a massive housing problem. There are a number of initiatives to resolve the homeless crisis and the creation of more affordable housing. But, do any of these solve the basic problem in LA, which is resistance to the construction of new housing?
Zuckerberg Testifies, House of Dust, Bombay Beach Biennale Facebook has tweaked its design to give users clearer control over their information. Can these changes help the social media giant become “friends” again with its users? The Bombay Beach Biennale has come to the Salton Sea. How do the locals feel about the influx of art and opera? And CalArts marks the 50th anniversary of the “House of Dust,” a house inspired by a computer-generated poem.
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Boyle Heights gallery MaRS offers protesters “symbolic and actual” closure Boyle Heights art galleries have been the target of an anti-gentrification campaign by artist-activists. One gallery owner has offered to shut down, saying he has begun to “unpack the symbolism of the white cube.” Read More