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NZ Future Designer 2019 - Kohler

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand’s Future Designer 2019 has been announced! Michaela Lawn, a 23-year-old industrial design student from Massey University’s Wellington School of Design, has taken out the prestigious award for her Bathroom of the Future, called Immerso Re-Connect.

The award, sponsored by Kohler New Zealand and now in its second year, seeks to recognise the country’s rising young design talent and explore its vision for the bathroom of the future.

Michaela’s submission is for a futuristic luxury bathroom, in a semi-high-density environment, for a family living in the year 2035.

The annual award, which attracted almost double the entries of the inaugural award last year, was supported by three of New Zealand’s leading design universities - AUT, Massey and Unitec. Judging was carried out by Bruno Chenesseau, Kohler’s Paris-based Studio Director Kitchen and Bath, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa).

Immerso Re-Connect, a private haven comprising numerous self-care spaces, exudes grace and beauty, featuring curved walls and large windows looking out through lush foliage to roof top gardens. Inherent in the design is sustainability - solar windows that power the bathroom; touch-free, sensor-activated toilet, shower doors and taps to increase the level of hygiene; and automatic recycling of all grey water to the home’s garden.

Thought has been given to the clever utilisation of what is a fairly tight space - this high-traffic family bathroom has been designed to function as a shared space, used by multiple people simultaneously.

Bruno Chenesseau said the choice of a winner was a difficult decision as there were a number of entries of an extremely high standard. Michaela Lawn’s project - Immerso Re-Connect - was a well-deserving winner due to its integrity and innovation.

"Michaela ensured no aspect of the project was overlooked. The configuration, dimensions, sustainability and technology are all totally relevant - but at the same time she ensured there was no compromise as far as aesthetics were concerned. I loved the simplicity of the project and her clever solution to a small space - large, open windows with a clear view of the horizon!" he said.

Runner up is Symone Robson with her high-tech family bathroom - Oasis. Also a third-year Massey University industrial design student, Symone designed a luxury environment that, while small, omitted none of the elements essential for an indulgent, self-care experience. Embedded technology creates an uncluttered environment and one that stores profiles of the individual family members so as to deliver an intuitive and targeted self-care and rejuvenation experience.

"Symone Robson developed a space that is focused on simplicity and minimalism while offering a luxury experience - and her use of sliding elements within the space delighted me!" said Bruno Chenesseau.

"The level of expertise and innovation shown in many of the entries was truly exciting and inspirational. I loved the diversity in terms of the students’ thinking, together with the extensive research carried out - it delivered a large number of solutions and concepts that I really liked," he said.

Michaela Lawn, New Zealand’s Future Designer 2019, receives a week-long trip to Kohler’s Shanghai Design Studio plus a cash prize. Symone Robson, the runner-up, also receives an all-expenses paid, week-long trip to the Shanghai Design Studio and will accompany Michaela.

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