ANN SACKS® Collaborates With Kohler Wastelab on the Crackle Collection

New tile series sends a visual statement in support of Kohler Co. sustainability efforts
Feb 28, 2019 8:05 AM ET
Campaign: Sustainability

PORTLAND, Ore., February 28, 2019 /3BL Media/ – ANN SACKS has partnered with parent company, Kohler Co., to create The Crackle Collection by Kohler WasteLAB, an innovative tile series that employs Kohler’s unfired pottery cull as its medium, transforming the waste into a responsive tile body. Handcrafted in the WasteLAB located in the Kohler, Wis. enamel factory, the bespoke collection was one of the initiatives spun from the Kohler Innovation for Good program. Taking its cues from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the company sought out inventive solutions to recycle its factory waste, and true to the company’s heritage, the result would be in the form of beautiful and functional products. 

Taking an avant-garde approach to design is one of the spirited strengths that stand behind the Kohler and ANN SACKS product portfolios and woven throughout its collective histories. By viewing the challenges – and possibilities – through a creative lens and adopting a collaborative approach to explore potential results on a broader scale, the WasteLAB team has collectively brought a 21st century solution in its support to helping reverse Kohler’s ecological footprint. 

Inspired by her studies in natural sustainability, Theresa Millard, product manager-Sustainability and Stewardship, recognized the real potential in taking waste and reutilizing it. She presented her research ideas around repurposing pottery cull and factory sand and dust to company leadership. Armed with executive approval, Millard moved forward forming a dedicated team of associates from Kohler and Ann Sacks that began looking into ways to harness this waste by creating viable designs that met the company’s exacting standards.

“We started looking seriously at the materials and found that it was primarily ceramic in composition,” explained Millard. “With our research, we were able to identify the real potential of creating a tile from the landfill bound, pottery materials. After a lot of collective efforts by the team and through some stringent testing to ensure durability and adaptability, we came up with a recycled tile clay body that translated into a beautiful and ecologically thoughtful tile.” 

A multi-step process is used to achieve The Crackle Collection by Kohler WasteLAB designs. After the clay is pressed, WasteLAB artisans hand-cut each tile removing any excess clay around the edges. An interactive glaze is then applied, which has a unique composition designed to pool and break over the textured surface during firing. A resulting delicate crackle occurs after the firing that carries across the tile face adding to the dimensional quality and artful visual effect. Featuring a chic palette that resonates in deep, rich color, The Crackle Collection is currently offered in shades of Mahogany, Amber, Emerald, Bone, Turquoise, and Lake. 

The Crackle Collection by Kohler WasteLAB is available in 4”x4”, 4”x8”, 3”x12”, 6”x6” and 6”x12” field sizes and a 5” hexagon. The tiles are perfect for any vertical dry interior installations. To retain the tile’s pure color, it is not recommended for exposed wet areas as it will affect the crackled surface glaze. 

It was through this mutual appreciation of innovation and the art of handcraft that ANN SACKS found a kindred spirit in Kohler WasteLAB. ANN SACKS has long sought out the finest tile and stone on a global scale, its expansive portfolio built on collaborations with small craft shops and the gifted artisans behind them to higher profile guest designer relationships. From its inception in 1981, entrepreneurism continues to reign supreme at ANN SACKS – an ideal uniquely captured with this latest collection launch. 

“This collaboration between Kohler Co. and ANN SACKS was satisfying on so many levels,” said DeeDee Gundberg, director product development and design, ANN SACKS. “Working in this industry for over two decades, I know it is rare to be able to produce an almost 100 percent recycled body and even rarer to find a glaze that incorporates recyclable materials within its composition. The shades produced by WasteLAB are vibrant and pure. The saturated colorways will also appeal to the increasing desire by designers and consumers to incorporate brilliant color into interiors. We could not be more pleased with the result.”


About WasteLAB 

Founded in 2013 through Kohler Co.’s Innovation for Good (IfG) program, WasteLAB reuses unfired pottery cull, discarded enamel and other traditional manufacturing ‘waste’ streams to create products such as ceramic tiles, tabletops and things yet to be determined. With a mission to rethink and reshape the traditional manufacturing process through its consideration and use of  discarded materials WasteLAB contributes to Kohler’s adoption of the UNSD goals, specifically #12 regarding responsible consumption and production. To learn more and follow the WasteLAB journey, please visit 


Founded in 1981, ANN SACKS has built its reputation with inspiring designs in tile, stone, plumbing, lighting and accessories. Based in Portland, Ore., the company, along with sister brands, KALLISTA plumbing and Robern mirrored cabinetry and vanities, is a division of the Kohler Co. Decorative Products Group, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Kohler Co.

About KOHLER® 

Founded in 1873 and headquartered in Kohler, Wis., Kohler Co. is one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies. Kohler is a global leader in the manufacture of kitchen and bath products, engines and power generation systems, cabinetry, tile and home interiors, and international host to award-winning hospitality and world-class golf destinations. 

For additional information regarding the Crackle Collection or other ANN SACKS products, consumers can call toll-free 1-800-278-TILE or visit the ANN SACKS website at