Faucet Focus: How One Brand Continues to Transform the Tap

Kohler is a longtime power player in the wonderful world of faucets.

Sydney Franklin Sydney Franklin

Each week, Architizer is highlighting a different building product and how to specify it. This week’s topic is faucets. If you’re looking for the perfect faucet for your next project, search for it on Architizer’s new network marketplace for building-products. Click here to join our waitlist. It’s free for architects.

Let’s talk shop about faucets for a minute.

And by that I mean to say that, literally, shopping for faucets is really overwhelming. There are a staggering number of products out there to choose from and countless brands to suggest for your next project. That’s why indicating the type of performance you need rather than the brand itself can prove the best way to go when creating specification docs. Sure, aesthetics are supremely important when it comes to designing a kitchen or bathroom. At the end of the day, though, a faucet is a tool, which makes functionality crucial.

A business like Kohler Co. — arguably one of the most powerful private companies in the United States — understands this better than most and has built up a killer portfolio of quality faucets as a result. They have maintained an unwavering presence as one of the country’s leading plumbing-product manufacturers for 144 years and recently received the 2017 US Water Prize for their water conservation efforts. Kohler’s vast line of products, from kitchen and bathroom hardware to tiles and cabinets, can be found in homes and office buildings across America, making them an indispensable part of everyday life.

Image via Kohler

Apart from the fact that Kohler has built a massive $9.1 billion empire on the ever-prevalent plumbing industry, they’ve revolutionized the way we think about good design. Good, in this case, means functional, long-lasting and pretty to look at. Because Americans spend countless hours hovering over the kitchen sink or getting ready for the day in the comfort of their own bathrooms, why should the products associated with mundane daily rituals be less than stellar to stare at, touch and ultimately use? Can these items help us live our lives with more efficiency and ease?

Architizer spoke with Kohler’s Faucet Product Analyst Kyle Cayemberg about Kohler’s most recent innovations and why the brand continues to one up their own creations. Cayemberg explained the company’s focus on water conservation, the longevity of their most popular products and why it’s all about building for the busy kitchen and bathroom.

Sydney Franklin: Kohler is committed to saving the planet. “Every drop counts in the kitchen” is one of your mantras. Because most of your products deal directly with water, what are some ways in which you’re innovating designs in terms of sustainability and water conservation?

Kyle Cayemberg: Some of our products actually go below code for water-saving requirements like our Artifacts pull-down faucet and the Tournant semi-pro faucet. But these designs are also able to maintain superior functionality through our Sweep and BerrySoft spray for any type of cleaning or food prepping. In 2016, Kohler changed all faucets from 2.2 to 1.8 gpm (gallons per minute), and now, we’re in the process to bring that down to 1.5 gpm.

The Tournant pull-down faucet is one of Kohler’s most popular faucets; image via Kohler.

In what other ways are Kohler leading the game in faucet design and technology?

We consider the details in all of our faucet designs by offering a breadth of product within each design aesthetic — traditional, transitional, contemporary — as well as hiding screws and sensors so the clean lines or traditional-style ridges can take the spotlight. All of this is enhanced by our beautiful durable finishes. The company’s spray offerings of faucets and side sprays, as well as our Touchless Response technology, is leading the way in faucets.

Kohler’s Touchless Response products respond to movement in 20 milliseconds; image via Kohler.

Also, our new Aquifer Filtration System eases water quality concerns and is an eco-friendly solution for reducing impurities and ensuring safe potable water. A recycling program also gives consumers an easy way to dispose of the used materials. The filter comes with postage-paid packaging that can be used to ship it to a third party, which uses the materials to make concrete aggregate for building roads.

The Aquifer Filtration System reduces contaminants like lead, mercury, chlorine and pharmaceuticals through a filter made of ground-up, biodegradable coconut shells; GIF via Kohler.

What is your most popular faucet sold to date?

Pull downs are our most popular faucet types because their multifunction spray heads make work in the kitchen easier and faster. The Docknetik magnetic docking system and Masterclean spray face prevent any build-up on the spray face. There are a multitude of benefits including generous spout heights, spray options, the elimination of the need for side-spray and a touchless option for some pull-downs.

What is the most popular finish on faucets?

Our most popular finishes are vibrant stainless and polished chrome, but we’re seeing increased requests for darker hues such as matte blacks, dark grays and golds.

Purist Single-Handle Pullout Spray Kitchen Sink Faucet in matte black by Kohler; image via Kohler

Companies like Kohler take into account the importance of technological advancement within something as seemingly simple as a faucet. Even their toilets are next-level in terms of cleaning power. When it comes to picking out the perfect faucet, sometimes it’s less about the look — after all, a faucet will always look like a faucet — and more about performance.

Having a nightmare specifying the ideal faucets for your latest project? Save time, money and your sanity by searching on Architizer’s new online marketplace for building-products. Click here to sign up for the waitlist now.

Banner image: the Elliston Faucet by Kohler; image via DigThisDesign

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