I just read a post from the great Saxon Henry about her experience visiting American Standard. So eloquent and witty, she said exactly what I felt and thought about our recent tour of American Standard’s Design Center, but the difference is she has the writers knack and I do not. I will sum it up ever so clumsy by nodding my head and agreeing, “Yup, what she said.”
Last week, I was pleased to be one of six invited guests of American Standard for a tour of the American Standard Design Center in Piscataway, New Jersey.
The design and marketing team at American Standard Brands provided a great presentation highlighting the current trends in designer faucets, fixtures, furniture, sinks & tubs. As a designer, I look forward to attending factory tours because you get to see firsthand the level of detail, craftsmanship and service that goes into your decorative fixtures. Gray Uhl, Director of Design at American Standards, stated it most eloquently, “When you don’t think about my product, we’ve done a good job.” Maybe more important than style, durability and reliability is what you first come to expect from your fixtures.
So the question on everyone’s mind lately is what does the consumer expect from their decorative plumbing fixtures? Are we looking at the end of excess or is luxury back? The answer may be a little of both. The American consumer is very savvy and the demand for quality products is a very important factor in deciding which brand to buy.
Contemporary styles are still on the rise. You have to wonder how many ways can a faucet be redesigned? You would be surprised! The design department is always trying out new shapes and ideas, (and I will have to tell you about the 3-D copier in a minute), but some of the most popular shapes that get a thumbs up with test groups are contemporary or transitional styles with more sculptural shapes.
Bathing is sinking and showers dominate. Say it isn’t so! But yes, as building styles adapt to a smaller footprint, so it goes with a shift in reducing the size of tubs to accommodate a walk in shower or showers with zero thresholds.
You won’t see tubs disappear entirely; instead tubs are being designed smarter. Watch for modular combinations in whirlpool tubs and eco silent tubs. A quiet whirlpool tub? Yes, it is possible!
Watch for an increase in freestanding tubs as well.
Bathroom collections will continue to have a furniture quality. Toilets have the look of furniture with higher seats, consciously mimicking furniture.
Re-purposing design details from the 1920’s with modern performance and ergonomics is a classic that will continue to be popular.
If you are a computer nerd like me, you will enjoy hearing about the 3-D copiers. The engineers can draw the shape of a faucet in CAD and send it to the 3-D copier to produce a prototype made out of ABS plastic. I was surprised to see fishing wire is utilized in these high priced copiers. Yes, fishing wire! Of course there is a lot of other high priced gadgetry involved in a 3-D copier. If you were looking to pick one up, be prepared to shell out over $40,000 for one of these machines.
Mad scientist skills and sworn to secrecy policy:
Part of the fun of touring manufacturing facilities is that you get to see what they are working on that might be top secret. Since I have been sworn to secrecy there are some things I cannot tell you about. Let me just say, these engineers and designers really have a cool gig and toilet humor aside, they really flush out all the details to ensure your bathroom toilets, faucets and fixtures provide durable and lasting performance. You have no idea the level of detail and technological advancement that goes into design and product development and as Gray Uhl said, “When you don’t think about my product, we’ve done a good job.”
ABOUT AMERICAN STANDARD BRANDS
American Standard Brands is a leading North American manufacturer of a wide range of high-quality building products, including faucets, fixtures, furniture, vitreous china fixtures, cast iron sinks, whirlpool tubs and other wellness products for the bath and kitchen as well as decorative panels. The company currently offers total project solutions for residential and commercial customers; employs more than 5,000 people in the United States, Canada and Mexico; and markets products under well-known and respected brands, such as American Standard®, Jado®, Porcher®, Safety Tubs®, Crane®, Eljer®, Fiat® and Decorative Panels International®. American Standard Brands is an affiliated portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners. For more information, visit www.americanstandard.com
Do you remember the last time you were at a spa and felt truly relaxed, your mind and body completely at ease? Wouldn’t you love to recreate that experience in your own bathroom? I saw this working tub on display in a showroom, and literally wanted to kick everyone out, lock the doors and experience the tub for myself. Ok, well maybe not go that extent. But the idea of being fully immersed in a warm bath, lulled by sound and vibrations, short of installing one now in my home, I would be willing to travel to a spa that had one just so I could experience this relaxing tub.
It’s not often that a tub captures my interest but this one does. The Vibracoustic Bath is manufactured by Kohler. It’s called the Fountainhead®. Let me tell you about this tub. Chromatherapy alone doesn’t grab my attention. Jetted tubs are too noisy for true relaxation, but give the tub a deep bathing well, soothing vibrations and hypnotic sounds, now this makes for an interesting tub! Just thinking about this tub is relaxing. The Kohler website states: Soothing instrumental compositions play above water while acoustic vibrations sweep through the water and around the body. Let’s say you get tired of the preset music, no worries, program tunes from your Ipod, and enjoy the music coming from your tub. No speakers are visible, a beautiful thing.
21″ deep bathing well to overflow.
Note the clever location of the Overflow in corner. Water overflows into horizontal drain for maximum bathing depth.
Preset, original music, composed in collaboration with a renowned sound therapist, engages and awakens the mind
Sound vibration envelops the body and encourages your breath and heart rate to synchronize with a slower rhythm
Chromatherapy, a repeating sequence of soothing colored lights, choreographed with music provides a holistic approach to profound relaxations
Generous, ergonomic bathing well allows you to float freely while feeling safe and secure
Contoured head pocket allows bather to comfortably rest his or her neck
Two Massaging pulse experience provides a more intensive physical vibration massage that can be varied to the desired level
Coordinates with the Fountainhead Suite
Organic shape complements simple, spa aesthetic
Exposed-deck installation creates a semi-raised appearance