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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

1/13: The challenge of building design teams in China with local staff and resources

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

2/13: Learnings from working at Dyson: knowing when to challenge boundaries

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

3/13: Kohler is a family business: the brand is the family

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

4/13: Design requires conflict between the conservative and radical individuals within a team

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

5/13: How to stay relevant to developing markets and local cultures

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

6/13: To innovate not just recreate: leadership requires the bravery to do something new

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

7/13: Breaking down the studio walls to immerse the marketing, design and engineering teams in the project

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

8/13: Why a design is the right design

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

9/13: Making lateral connections

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

10/13: How the lifespan of kitchen and bathroom products influence consumer habits

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

11/13: The fundamental importance of drawing and making models

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

12/13: The extensive phases of pre-production and design at Kohler

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Mark Bickerstaffe

Design Manager / Kohler

13/13: It's not easy to innovate and invent - but it's essential

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MarkBickerstaffe

Director of New Product Development at Kohler Co

Whilst design is often influenced by unstable market trends, bathroom and kitchen fixtures need to demonstrate a greater lifespan. This need for obduracy has resulted in a design culture that avoids risk - and as a result - often innovation.

The idea of bringing an emotional or aesthetic sensibility into the bathroom has been pushed forward by the designers at Kohler. Their approach breaks with the tradition that places the amenities of a house out of sight - for instance the term WC (Water Closet) suggesting secrecy rather than display.

At Kohler, under the team leadership of Mark Bickerstaffe, designers and product developers have pushed forward the idea of bringing an emotional or aesthetic sensibility into the bathroom through the logic of making for display.

Kohler's approach breaks with the tradition by which the amenities of a house are placed out of sight - consider, for instance, how the term WC (Water Closet) suggests secrecy. Kohler’s products aspire to proud display, signalling that the bathroom is becoming a space of leisure as well as utility. Bickerstaffe has helped introduce new materials and finishes into these normally predictable ‘wet’ areas.

Working to establish relationships with new markets overseas, Kohler is one of the first companies to establish a design studio in China using local staff. To make this innovative approach work, Bickerstaffe had to break a Chinese training methodology of only teaching design students drafting by computer, not hand. Whilst other industries can rely on computer modelling, Bickerstaffe emphasises that fixture and ceramic design require a hands on approach to design execution and management.

Inframe’s interview with Bickerstaffe is part of an ongoing focus on design leaders.

Thanks to Kohler

 

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