14 June 2011

A visit with American Standard

As I mentioned here last week, American Standard had me in New York last week for  a day of product education and a tour of their research facility in nearby Piscataway. While there, American Standard put my fellow travelers JB Bartkowiak, Laurie Burke, Andie Day, Saxon Henry and Rich Holshuh in The Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District.

Photo via JB Bartkowiak

The Standard is the current center of the universe for all things hip and cool in Manhattan and it was fascinating to have a front row seat for all of it. Ordinarily, I'm an east side of Midtown guy and it was wild to see the worlds of fashion, art, music and money collide in the lobby of The Standard. It was fascinating surely, but I've never felt so old and irrelevant in my life. Hah! But man oh man, the view...

So my Wednesday last week was spent with the marketing and design folks at American Standard. I went into the whole experience with an open mind but I wasn't expecting to be wowed. I should have know better, there were industrial designers involved after all.

I love hearing the stories behind products and I love meeting the people who design the objects most of us take for granted. The amount of thought that goes into something as mundane as a toilet is inspiring frankly, and anybody who can figure out a way to re-engineer toilets and showers and faucets to use water more efficiently is OK in my book.

Any time I go on one of these sessions I'm always on the look out for that one break away innovation, that one thing that pushes an entire industry forward. I found a couple of them at American Standard but none of them comes close to what they're doing in their Outreach lavatory faucet.

At first glance, the Outreach looks like any other centerset lavatory faucet on the market. But if you look at it closely, notice the line at the bottom of the spout. This faucet does something utterly different.

It has a pull out, similar to what you'd expect from a kitchen faucet.

When I shave every morning I have a ritual where I splash water around my bathroom sink to get the shaving cream scum and beard crumblies down the drain. My ritual doesn't work very well and I probably use three times the amount of water I need to in order to clean my sink. A pull out sprayer would make sure of my (and every man's) morning dilemma. Great thinking American Standard.

And if an afternoon of innovation in Piscataway weren't enough, our whole crew went to dinner at Cookshop in Chelsea that night. Sitting a hair's breadth away was none other than Ron Howard. God I love New York. Thanks American Standard for getting me back there.

Photo via JB Bartkowiak

The number of reading glasses at that table speaks volumes about the median age of the typical design blogger. I love having peers!


  1. You’re right about the bathroom faucet pullout. I’ve not seen it before, and when I saw the picture before scrolling down, my first thought was, “THIS is spectacular?????” But the pullout really does take it to the next level. My business partner on our blog site teases me from time to time because I get so excited with the many products I review on our site, but the plain fact of the matter is that I find all of this endlessly fascinating. I like to think I’m a pretty sharp cookie, but I could sit in a room with a pad and pencil for the rest of my life and never come up with anything near as innovative as the many products that are being developed even as we speak.

    About the reading glasses. Don’t feel old, man. When you get to my age, THEN you can feel old!

  2. Oh, that IS brilliant. It would do wonders for the toothpaste spit, too!

    That JB is a travelin' man of late. I'll be seeing him next week in Louisville.

  3. Joseph: One of the best things about being a blogger is having a front row seat to all of these new innovations.

    Rain: You guys will have a blast and please tell everybody at Monogram I said hello.

  4. I LOVE that faucet pullout idea! Beard crumbles and toothpaste spit for sure. I also water my orchids in the bathroom sink. Dirt bits everywhere. what a great idea!

  5. The pull out faucet is such a great innovation! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I LOVE the name of your company Bill. Thanks for leaving a comment!


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