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Kohler puts skin in experience game

Kohler wants you to get naked in their new store.

The bathroom fixture giant just opened a new store in Flatiron that lets visitors take a shower or a bath to try out its products.

The 10,000 s/f flagship space at 6 West 22nd Street has an “experience room” that visitors can book in advance.
When booking an appointment at the Kohler Experience Center (KEC), visitors can choose from rain head showers, a digitally-controlled shower with a screen that lets you change the temperature, adjust the lighting, and even play music. And there’s a bathtub, too.

The company called the full-functioning products a “first for the industry.”

“We’ve been working on the KEC concept for about two years, recognizing a tremendous need across the industry for deeper knowledge and insight into how our products work,” said president and CEO David Kohler in a statement to Real Estate Weekly.

“Taking this need for global specification, broader product knowledge and gracious hospitality the KEC was designed to be an approachable and leading edge retail-centric experience that allows — for the first time — guests to try some of Kohler’s luminary products.”

“Manhattan is a global mecca of design, fashion, and culture that many visionaries call home. There is a fast-growing segment of architects and designers working on projects both in the U.S. and across the globe — many of whom are right here in New York City. We knew it had to be the first location for our KEC launch. The Flatiron District in particular is the destination for many world class design brands, so we’re in great company.”

Indeed, Flatiron has become a magnet for luxury design brands. Japanese brand Toto recently opened a showroom on the same block as Kohler at 20 West 22nd Street, while high-end tile brands Jac Elan, The Tile Spark, and Mosaic House are also located on the same stretch of 22nd Street.

Kohler plans to rollout a total of nine KECs over the next year. Following NYC’s store will be London, along with Los Angeles, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, New Delhi and Taipei opening later in the year.

The Flatiron store is open seven days a week and welcomes walk-ins from both consumers and trade professionals. It is operated in a partnership with Best Plumbing Supply, a Kohler plumbing distributor in the Northeast.

“Our partnership with Kohler Co. spans nearly 50 years,” says Kymberly Weiner, New York City sales and development manager of Best Plumbing Supply in a press release. “It’s a tremendous honor to elevate our collaboration to one that will best inspire and serve consumers and design professionals through a shopping experience rooted in Kohler’s spirit of gracious living.”

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