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"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.

Guest Interview The Future City 5 MIN
The first-ever Little Tokyo Design Week, held last week, featured a "Pecha Kucha", or fast-paced presentation of ideas, for the "Future City." Greg Lynn, Bill Kleiman, Dana Cuff, Todd Gannon, Aaron Paley, and Rebecca Lowry were among the participants who presented their ideas for the future.
LTDW plaza
Films screen on Noguchi Plaza at Little Tokyo Design Week
Part of the PLAN C installation by Tim Durfee and Sean Donahue
Guest Interview The Battle for the Affluent Bottom 20 MIN

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. 

Neorest 550

The Neorest 550 by TOTO with its nightlight to welcome evening visitors

Neorest room

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.

NUMI house

The NUMI by Kohler features square, untoilet-like edges 

NUMI pool

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

Guest Interview A Few Summer Design Events 5 MIN

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


Frances Anderton

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