There are a number of thrills that come with having built a reputation as a quality journalist/ blogger and social media zealot, one of which is the opportunity to see how products are designed and made. Last week, American Standard ferried a group of us—Andie Day, JB Bartkowiak, Paul Anater, Laurie Burke, Richard Holschuh and myself (design enthusiasts all)—to their facilities in Piscataway for a day of poking around behind the scenes to learn what subjects and ideas fascinate and enthrall their design team, which includes Gary Uhl and Carter Thomas.
There was inspiration aplenty, not just in the design activities going on in American Standard’s studios and laboratories but in the dedication the designers and engineers have to water conservation. I don’t often cover serious subjects that impact the environment here because the tone of Roaming by Design tends to be a bit more kicky and fun. Let me just promise I was having plenty of fun when the subject of water conservation came up, as Gary Uhl, who was taking us on the tour, was one of the most entertaining individuals I’ve ever met on a design tour. In fact, I think American Standard should hire him out to show other manufactures how it’s done!
See, I’ve gotten off track already: focus, Saxon, focus! Pointing out the sustainable attributes of the showroom at the facilities, Uhl noted the bamboo floor and movable display units that prevent them from having to reconstruct the area when new products are released. About the variety of freestanding tubs on display, Uhl remarks they use less water than whirlpool tubs, adding, “Performance and demand for water conservation is growing so quickly that the industry is changing like it never has.”
There was a running joke during the daylong trip that I am one of the few beleaguered souls who still prefers baths to showers because the industry is putting its muscle into what’s most in demand—the shower. It’s a fact: I’m a bathaholic and I crave big, roomy tubs in which to luxuriate. Now that I’ve gotten past the TMI, I will say something for the company’s advancement in showerhead technology: it rocks! The FloWise® Showerhead and Hand Shower Collection is now included in 21 of their design profiles. They use up to 40 percent less water than a standard showerhead. Now that’s a glass-half-full scenario!
The company is also blazing new trails where toilets are concerned. Uhl couldn’t contain his excitement at the new design ideas coming out of the engineering department, which will mean a further decrease in water usage even though their standards are already some of the top in the industry. See a fab little video by JB here. We even experienced the “down and dirty” testing facilities, coming away with a new appreciation for flush technology. Did someone say, “Pass the Miso?” Don’t ask!
Andie Day’s Lifestyle Blog
Building Moxie by JB Bartkowiak
Thanks to American Standard for the great hospitality, including room and board, during the two-day excursion. Comps were taken but that did not influence the tone or content of this article. We at RBD take integrity very seriously!