People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Bathroom BlogFest 2012: Insider Information

I recently had the chance to interview a friend on the sales side of the plumbing industry.  Working at one of the premier plumbing product showrooms in Manhattan, she shared her take on bathroom trends.

SS:Which country/region in your opinion make the best fixtures/toilets etc. & why are they the best?
JW: German products are the most efficient and well made in terms of how they are engineered.  Their products are beautiful and of good quality.
SS: What’s the best toilet you’ve seen and why?
JW: Combination toilet/bidets are very clean and can come with fancy extras like music.  Many people miss the point to these toilets because they are so expensive.  Our products are mainly geared for the wealthy market.  Companies design different products for different markets.  We just had a celebrity come in with her designer to look at a specific tub model we carried.  She was just looking for a tub to fill in an empty space in her bathroom.  It sounded like she never intends to use it.  There was another client who purchased two $8,000 French copper tubs that she was using as outdoor planters at her home.
SS: In your experience selling residential bathroom fixtures/toilets etc, are there any trends that you’ve noticed?
JW: More companies are starting to partner up with designers. For example, before he became famous for designing Michelle Obama’s dress, Jason Wu partnered up with Brizo to design bathroom products.  In the past, companies had engineers design a product that was solely based on function or companies took an old design that could be easily mass produced.  Now designers and engineers are creating cool and functional products without necessarily sacrificing engineering.  For example, Jason Wu designed a porcelain faucet with a curve that is actually better because porcelain cracks easier with a straight line than a curve.  Designers are also more likely to be ADA compliant.
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