Brizo in Memphis, A Fab Factory & Party!

In my last post, I wrote about my trip to Memphis with Brizo and our visit at St. Jude Children Research Hospital. In this chapter, I want to relay what I learned and saw at the Delta Faucet Company Factory, which produces Brizo faucets in Jackson, TN (Delta is the mother company of the Brizo brand).

There is something very exciting about meeting the hands and people behind products we install on our design projects. Designers are a manufacturer’s best audience: we are total nerds when it comes to how products are made! We love it when furnishings brands take the time to walk us around their factories! We ask lots of questions, and ooh and aah a lot. If we can clap, we do!

As far as I can remember, I have always loved understanding the behind the scenes of how things are made. I was in for a real treat in Jackson. We toured the factory, met the workers (who wore the coolest black Brizo T-Shirts to welcome us),  and learned that fascinating machines zap metal finishes on faucets using Physical Vapor Deposition technology (my absolute favorite part of the tour).

Photo credit: Brizo | Chez Elza

The PVD Chamber at the DELTA Faucet Company Plant. Incredible technology that bonds thin layers of metal through a rig developed by NASA in 2010. Photo credit: Brizo

Photo Credit: Brizo | Chez Elza

Plating station at the plant. Photo credit: Brizo

What was remarkable was to observe the workers at work: nothing is left to chance. Everything is measured, analyzed, checked by humans and machines, and has to pass inspection.

Photo credit: Brizo | Chez Elza

Gauging at the factory. Photo credit: Brizo

Chez Elza

Assembly inspection of products. Photo credit: Brizo

After the tour, we met with the technology engineers of Brizo and saw a fascinating experiment demonstrating the reliability of capacitive sensing in hands free SMART TOUCH sensing technology. My thoughts? Infra red is out. It just is not reliable enough, as the infra reds’ ability to read movement is affected by things as complex as colors and materials such as glass, which can alter the signal and sometimes obstruct it.

Many fantastic technologies are available to customers now, such as H2O Kinetic Technology (see my past blog post on this) which allows for a unique shower experience.

For a very reasonable cost, you can purchase a shower head equipped with H2O Kinetic Technology and improve the flow and texture of your water immensely. Imagine two garden hoses, with open spouts, being rotated manually as water pours out. Now, imagine these water curves intersecting and crossing each other, and you will have an idea of the power of this technology.

I have installed these at home and was amazed at the difference this technology can make…

Our trip would not have been complete without a good party:

Chez Elza

Boston designers posing for the photo booth: fun fun times! Laft to right: Designers Pamela Copeman, Leslie Fine, behind Leslie is Yvonne Blacker, I’m in front of Yvonne, on my right are Laurie Gorelick and Linda Merrill.

Chez Elza

Partying at the Peabody hotel and the Memphis Blues Club…All photos Barbara Elza Hirsch

Chez Elza

Chez Elza

Chez Elza

Thanks to our host, Brizo, for inviting us to share such fabulous times. I leave you with a sweet touch. What do you get if you cross the Peabody Hotel ‘s mascot with Brizo’s generosity and flair? You get a duck shaped cookie and bubbly delivered to your hotel recoup before the next event.

As we say in French, “C’est la classe”. Translation: It’s a class act :-)



Brizo In Memphis and a Powerful Partnership for Children

This summer I had the opportunity to gather with an extraordinary group of people, all “alumnis” of the Brizo Blogger19. As you may remember from my January and February blog posts, I had the fantastic opportunity to attend a workshop organized by Brizo-creators of stylish plumbing fixtures- in New York during Fashion Week, where we also discovered Jason Wu’s glorious designs. Since 2010, Brizo has been inviting an elite group of designers, architects and influencers, which has since grown to include nearly 130 leaders in their fields, and from all over the globe. While diverse in their aesthetic, the Blogger 19 are all united by a shared experience at New York Fashion Week, hosted by the premium faucet brand Brizo.

A primary sponsor of fashion designer Jason Wu, Brizo believes high-style applies not just to the clothes we wear but is a lifestyle that extends to our aesthetic at home. Hence their innovative creations in stylish plumbing!!!

It was quite moving to be reunited all together at once, and we met many peers we had only spoken to long distance, via social media. I cannot stress enough the importance of a community in the Design Industry. We help each other grow, learn, think, exchange, and everyone benefits.

Memphis, as seen from Peabody hotel | Chez Elza                

View of Memphis from my Peabody Hotel bedroom. Photo credit: Barbara Hirsch | Chez Elza

This trip was particularly meaningful to me.

We learned about Brizo’s ongoing partnership with Memphis’ St Jude’s Children Research Hospital : Since 2010, Brizo has been a national sponsor for the St Jude Dream Home Giveaway, donating more than 1 million dollars to date in furnishings and fundraising efforts.

We were invited by the Brizo management to visit the hospital on site.

A few notes about the hospital:
-St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® opened in 1962 and was
founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas.
Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza
A small exhibit on Danny Thomas is hosted inside the Arabic inspired cupola. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch
Photo Credit Barbara Hirsch | Chez Elza
Thomas was of Lebanese origin and Lebanon was extremely supportive of his project. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch
PhotPhoto credit: Barbara Hirsch | Chez Elza
Beautiful detail of the cupola where we listened to speakers and had breakfast before the tour. Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch 
-St Jude’s mission is to find cures for children with cancer and other deadly diseases through pioneering research and exceptional care.
-No family ever pays St. Jude for anything.
-In 1962, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer, was 4 percent. Today, the survival rate for this once deadly disease is94 percent, thanks to research and treatment.
-The daily operating cost for St. Jude is $1.7 million, which is primarily covered by public contributions
-St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world
-St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted to children.
-St. Jude researchers are published and cited more often in high impact publications than any other private pediatric oncology institution in America.

We spent a day visiting the hospital with Brizo managers and employees, touring the facilities, even meeting with patients and families.

It was hard. It was moving.

The hospital’s multidenominational chapel.

All of us have been touched by cancer directly or indirectly: to witness the spirit of St Jude’s daily battle and incredible tenacity and optimism is truly a gift. Nobody wants to hear about illness or dying, but the reality is, it’s part of life.

As a designer reporting about the hospital, I tried to also approach this visit from a design perspective. Color and architecture, space planning and art were central elements all around the hospital.

Some say design is superfluous. It’s not. It is a central element in our surroundings. Appealing and inviting spaces make us feel loved and comfortable.

I commend St. Jude hospital for designing facilities that make being sick a little less grey and scary:

Photo credit: Barbara Hirsch | Chez Elza

A colorful playgroundPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

rbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Art tables await much anticipated artistic expressions.

Photo credit: Barbara Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Hirsch | Chez Elza2013-07-17 11.29.53

Photo credit: Barbara Hirsch | Chez Elza                  

Above : Hallway exhibits, murals and messages abound at St Jude’s Children Research Hospital. Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch.

Below, common rooms and family apartments at Target House, where some of the families are lodged:

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Hirsch | Chez Elza

Above: The Brad Paisley common room. The artist donated the room and its decor. Like many artists, celebrities and sponsors, everyone becomes part of St Jude’s  community. For example, artists will come regularly and spend time with the children, or play music outdoors for the families.

Photo credit: Barbara Hirsch | Chez Elza

An outdoor common area at St Jude’s. Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch.

Photo credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

The Shawn White Family Room. Photo credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.

Photo credit: Barbara Hirsch | Chez Elza

Messages of hope abound at the Target  House. Photo credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Later, we were allowed to interact with some of the children patients and their families to work on an art project. Understandably, photos were not allowed to respect the families’ privacy.

This was truly a very awe inspiring visit and experience and I felt privileged to  have toured such a unique research hospital.

Thank you, Brizo, and thank you, St Jude.