Shower Power

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!

A shout out to Nora DePalma and Wendy Silverstein for treating us so well and making sure we had everything we needed to bring our “takes” on the products and design advancements we saw to you.

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!

 

  • jb @BuildingMoxie

    I think this is the first time I have ever showed up as a tag. and oh… it feels good. wanna echo everything saxon says here… esp. in regards to American Standard’s hospitality — the experience felt as much like a marketing outing as a mud wrestling match (oh wait!) the point being — I came away with a new respect for Am. Stand –an organization that has a thoughtful sincerity only matched by its dedication to developing products that fit consumers needs.

  • Saxon Henry

    Tag, you’re it, JB! I agree. I had not honestly had American Standard on my radar for quite some time and I was pleased to learn about the sincerity as well! I do love it when a company is trying its best to conserve natural resources and I saw the excitement of that quest here, which made me want to get the word out! Getting to hang with you was just one more bonus!

  • jb @BuildingMoxie

    I guess I won’t say anything about your “Bring Back the Bath” twitter campaign. oh wait! I guess I save that for my blog. :~)

  • Saxon Henry

    Good idea: I’m being outnumbered by Shower slugs!

  • cabinetgal1

    Great post Saxon! This was a fun and memorable trip. This was an experience of Tiara’s, Toilets and Twitter. I came away with new found appreciation for American Standard. I loved the design team’s energy and enthusiasm for what they do. And of course, spending time with my fellow design enthusiasts is priceless! What a great group of passionate, funny, and creative group. Always a pleasure to be in your presence.

  • adroyt

    It was all about the T’s, wasn’t it Laurie! Loved how you nailed that! I agree; the entire trip was inspiring from soup to nuts. I feel so very fortunate to be able to come together with all of you guys, who relieve me from feeling like such a geek because you “get” how amazing it is to be “let in” on the design process! The fact that we laughed so much, ate such great food and were able to have a great time was an added treat!

  • ProfessorToilet

    Thank you for all the American Standard love. This will mean to lot to the many hard working folks you didn’t meet. We all knew we’d created a new company. Thank you for helping us tell that story. You’ll always remember your first miso test. Most sincerely, Professor Toilet.

  • Saxon Henry

    Yes, teach; I will definitely always remember that first miso test! Nothing like it, actually! It means a great deal to me to tell the stories that can give others a sense of pride in their work. Your crew there should have it in spades! Beautiful companies spring from beautiful people! Thanks for stopping in and taking the time to make a comment, and it was so great to meet you last week!

  • SketchThis

    Looks like an awesome trip! I met some of the American Standard folks at a co sponsored event at KBIS this year, good bunch of guys. It’s always cool to see the thought process behind these products.

  • Saxon Henry

    I agree! I always like to dig around behind the scenes. I had a great exchange with Gary about the psychology behind what they do, as the fixtures they produce involve some of the most intimate moments any of us ever have. Thanks so much for stopping in and taking the time to comment. Can’t believe I wasn’t following you on Twitter! Just remedied that (with a number of my accounts)!

  • adroyt

    It was a super trip on many levels. It's always the people that make the difference and American Standard has a stellar team on the ground, giving their best (and it shows in the results). Passion in the process can only take it to the next level. Thanks for checking in to the blog, Eric!

  • InteriorDesignPro

    Hi Saxon,All of these showers are beautiful. Very nice variety as well!We will be sure to share this on http://www.interiordesignpro.org

  • blueturtle68

    It’s been American Standard ever since. Their products and designs are always at the top against the competitions. They are way ahead in the market.