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.
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.
A small exhibit on Danny Thomas is hosted inside the Arabic inspired cupola. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch
Thomas was of Lebanese origin and Lebanon was extremely supportive of his project. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch
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:
A colorful playground- Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch
Art tables await much anticipated artistic expressions.
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:
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.
An outdoor common area at St Jude’s. Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch.
The Shawn White Family Room. Photo credit : Barbara Elza 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.