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During Singapore Design Week 2016, Kohler Co. partnered with Sleeper magazine to host the first KOHLER Design Forum. With more than 120 major hospitality and trade management experts in attendance, industry thought leaders and leading architects discussed ideas around “Delivering Sustainability as Standard.”

Guest speakers leading the exchange include renowned industry thought leaders and leading architects Bill Bensley and Duangrit Bunnag, Guy Heywood, COO, Asia, Commune Hotels + Resorts, and Mark Bickerstaffe from Kohler.

During the session, the speakers discussed how to maximize environmental sustainability through design in the hospitality landscape.


Mark Bickerstaffe, Kohler’s Director of New Product Development shared the company’s commitment to sustainability. Dubbed ‘Net Zero 2035’, Kohler seeks to achieve the goal of a net-zero environmental footprint for both greenhouse gas emissions and net waste to landfill by 2035.

Another project in the sustainability pipeline is Kohler’s closed-loop flush toilet systems, developed in collaboration with Caltech. Targeted at developing world locations without access to adequate sanitation, the toilet system includes a self-contained water purification and disinfection system that allows water to be reused and does not require waste-water disposal.

Bill Bensley, renowned architect and landscape designer of exotic luxury resorts, gave an insight into how architecture can minimize the disruption to both the environment and local communities. With his latest project, Shinta Mani Wild in Tmor Rung, Bensley creates a one-of-a-kind glamping experience for guests where wildlife co-exist alongside humans. Seeking to empower local community through education and employment as well as farming locally, Bensley’s vision for Shinta Mani Wild is to be a fully self-sustaining entity.

Duangrit Bunnag, leading Thai architect, spoke about how ecological and purposeful design reduces the impact on the environment. Through doing away with excess and utilising only the bare essentials, he challenged the attendees to think about and reflect on the importance of sustainability not just within the domains of hospitality and design, but in the context of our day to day living.

To wrap up the forum, Guy Heywood, Chief Operating Officer, Asia, Commune Hotels + Resorts, joined the speakers for a panel discussion on the feasibility of striking a balance between investing in the environment for the benefit of the planet and the bottom line for businesses, particularly that of the hospitality industry.

Nothing sums up the Kohler Design forum as well as this quote from David Kohler, Kohler’s President and Chief Executive Officer, “Business success doesn’t matter much if we can’t say we left the world a better place than we found it.”

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