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There’s no material quite like glass. It can be hard and substantial, yet it can also mimic the soft appearance of undulating water or the diaphanous lightness of a cloud. And nothing else yields such variety of color, translucency and texture in the hands of the artisan. At Kohler, our exquisite one-of-a-kind bathroom sinks are inspired by generations of artisans who have crafted many of the sculptures and vessels found in the world’s great museums. The result is pure art in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and forms.
The first artist to make glass was Mother Nature herself. Out of the forge of volcanoes or created in an instant by a flash of summer lightning, the immense power of natural forces superheated and merged millions of grains of sand to create the first works in glass.
Eventually, humans learned to recreate this process, using creative design to form jewelry, vessels, and currency—in the ancient world, glass even rivaled gold in value.
Kohler collaborates with international artists on the designs for its glass sinks in a process that can last more than a year. The reasons behind the approval or rejection of a product design aren’t easy to articulate. In the end, the team moves forward with a product when it offers a lasting, innovative design that generates an emotional response.
From start to finish, Kohler makes the entire line of glass sinks on site at the Kohler factory in Kohler, WI. Kohler’s design team can walk right to the furnace to play and experiment whenever inspiration strikes. And keeping all stages of production in-house gives the design team more creative freedom and more control over the entire process.
In the ancient world, glass even rivaled gold in value.
The process of creating these pieces is extremely time-intensive, and time-sensitive. Due to the delicate nature of the work, not every sink meets Kohler’s exacting standards of excellence. Glass artisans ply their craft in very brief windows of opportunity, and if the timing and temperature is not precise, if they make the slightest misstep, then the piece goes back into the glass furnace.
The skilled glassmakers bring the material to temperatures as high as 2,200 degrees and manipulate the molten glass using one of many techniques. Then they allow it to cool in stages, sometimes for more than a day, creating a piece free of distortions, stress points or flaws.
The finished sinks are amazingly consistent with the original design, but the nature of the intricate process guarantees tiny variances that make every one unique. For example, in spun and cast glass sinks, the artisans allow the molten glass to move and settle in the mold, and then to cool down. As part of that natural process, the body of the glass captures minute bubbles, and the hardened surface forever retains the appearance of a gentle undulation, creating a portrait of movement frozen in glass.
Once the cooling process is complete, what emerges is a crystalline, beautiful, and surprisingly durable work of art that is ready to take its rightful place as the centerpiece of your bath.