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 room..to recoup before the next event.

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

 

 

Seen at KBIS 2013 in NOLA

Of course, my trip to New Orleans for our fabulous BlogtourNOLA adventure was not just about touring the city and discovering its charms. We were invited to visit and report back from KBIS 2013, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. Many of our sponsors had fantastic new products and great booths to flaunt and I very much enjoyed my visit and learning about these. I should also mention the hospitable Press lounge hosted by the NKBA, thank God for their snack station and their inviting and gigantic white sofas and chairs!

For starters, I was extremely impressed by the Cosentino Group. Cosentino, a large Spanish Company, is famously know for its Silestone Brand, but I also discovered their Eco brand, and learned that they make sinks!

Through superior strength, incredible beauty and an unparalleled distribution network, Silestone is rapidly becoming the choice for discerning consumers. There are many advantages to using Silestone: since it is a surface that is manufactured from natural quartz, it’s highly resistant to stains and scratches, and has a low level of fluid absorption. Silestone comes in over 60 quartz colors for countertops, two textures (polished and suede) and several different formats, which make it extremely versatile, and can even be used in large pieces without requiring any joins. Silestone is perfect for use in a great many applications in the kitchen and bathroom.

I fell head over heels for the Nebula series:

Lyra in the Nebula series by Silestone. Photo via Cosentino.

I was surprised by how it closely resembles marble yet is extremely durable and resistant to liquids.

Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza.The latest Ismir pattern in the Nebula collection by Silestone. Note the discreet gold lines threaded throughout. Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch, Chez Elza.

We were lucky to meet with Silestone’s VP of Marketing, Lorenzo Marquez, who took the time to answer questions and present upcoming top secret creations. All I can say is “Wow!”

Integrated sink made of White Zeus:

Integrity One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of Integrity sink by Silestone courtesy Cosentino Group.

Integrity sinks gives you the sensation of unity, of perfect integration with the rest of the elements of your worktop.

This most innovative product launch boasts all the remarkable characteristics of Silestone that make it the premier product on the market. These features include: high scratch resistance, durability and of course the highest performance in terms of design and guaranteed bacteriostatic protection.

An example of Silestone in the bathroom for the sink:

TOTO toilets are world class. We all know someone who needs a new toilet. “Mine won’t, hum, (whisper) f-l-u-s-h what it’s supposed to!” “I am tired of craning my neck to clean all the nooks and curves of my toilet pedestal!” Shhh…But really, guess what? We hear this time over and again, and TOTO has truly a response to every toilet dilemma!

Consider the wall mounted (extremely popular with designers and home owners alike):

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaThe tag is self explanatory and showcases the advantages to a wall mount. No more huffing and puffing with your hair brushing the toilet lid (eek!) as you bend over and attempt to take out dirt from the sinewy pedestal…Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Then there’s the one piece toilet. A cleaning dream!

Chez ElzaThe Legato One piece toilet by TOTO. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

TOTO is unabashedly in love with its products, and they are perfectly justified in being so! Imagine a company whose commitment to environmental sustainability goes “beyond compliance.” Their high-efficiency toilets, faucets and showers lead the industry in water savings, and their expert engineering results in first-rate performance, reliability and customer satisfaction. I loved that they have a People First policy as their core principle, the people are central in their innovations.

TOTO also creates beautiful sinks and bathroom products such as this little favorite of mine:

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaThe Maris semi-recessed vessel sink by TOTO. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

I have to share a snapshot of local Cape Cod based designer Linda Merrill under an umbrella, testing one of TOTO’s pulsating shower heads!

Linda 's dashing smile. Photo Barbara Elza HirschDashing smile on designer Linda Merrill. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Other impressive products I noted at KBIS 2013 were the trendy free standing tub fillers by Brizo:

Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch-Chez ElzaOr the mother company Delta:

Chez ElzaAnd the frenzy over stand alone tubs…such sculptural elements :

Chez ElzaChez ElzaTwo beauties by Fleurco line Aria, Vivace and Adagio. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

I could not resist this pièce de resistance, a miniature wall exhibit of Aria tubs:

Chez Elza

And my pet peeve, exceptionally built shower doors:

 Kinetic In-Line KS by Fleurco . Stunning shower door systems. Photo courtesy Fleurco.

Well, it’s time for me to renovate my bathroom, folks! When I do, I promise to document the redo here and share with my readers!

In the meantime, it is time to bid you farewell. A bientôt!

 

 

Bare Toes to Gourmet Cooking | A Brizo Adventure

I almost missed going to the Brizo Event. I received an email on a Sunday, which I cast aside for later and did not open. Thankfully, I was called early in the week by the Brizo team, and had to have them repeat what I was hearing:

Me: “Um, excuse me, did you just say I was invited to learn about your products and to see the Jason Wu Fashion Show, all fees included? Hotel and trip?”

The rest is history. I breathlessly figured out logistics to escape my clients and family life, and then shopped desperately for New York worthy outfits.

D Day started with bare toes in the sunshine, driving back home with sticky nails, and imploring my husband to drive me to the airport:

Brizo FW-2013 129He said yes, Whew! And, no, for the record, I’ve never bared my toes in 35 degree temperature before. This was an “EMERGENCY”! Photo Elza B. Design.

I landed to New York and was pleasantly picked up by a chauffeur and zoomed to the Eventi Hotel (read more about the hotel here)

This is what my room looked like when I first came in:

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A glamorous little nest for sure. Photo Elza B. Design.

Drinks followed with the Brizo team that evening and we all got to mingle:

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Brian Nobbe, Brizo Marketing Director with fellow bloggers Todd Vendituoli and Marilyn Russell. Photo Elza B. Design.

Brizo FW-2013 158.editedFrom left to right: Fellow designers and bloggers Marilyn Russell, Yvonne Blacker, Adele Young and the one and only, Judd Lord, director of Industrial Design for Brizo. Photo Elza B. Design.

Bright and early the next day we attended a presentation of the Brizo lines:

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The lovely Laura Brooks, Senior Brand Manager for Brizo. Photo courtesy Jayme Thornton.

 

Designers and bloggers hard at work. Obviously good students, seeing from the level of participation! Photo courtesy Jayme Thornton.

Later that day we went on a tour of the Hearst Tower and attended a presentation by  ELLE DECOR‘s editor Amy Preiser:

Brizo FW-2013 226Sorry for the fuzzy photo, Amy. You were extremely charming and bubbly. Note to self: take photos with a regular camera once in a while. I-Phone not always optimum.

Beautiful Hearst Tower view:

Brizo FW-2013 218Photo Elza B. Design.

Did you know the Hearst tower is not not only the heart of numerous famous magazines, it also hosts the Good Housekeeping Institute Office!

Brizo FW-2013 239Famous Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval is delivered here, in the heart of New York city! Photo Elza B. Design.

The tower offers an ideally sound proofed auditorium, its own Cafe, an art gallery space, a sculpted water fountain, and a 70 feet high fresco hand painted by artist Richard Long with mud and water.

Brizo FW-2013 229Fabulous architecture inside the building. Photo Elza B. Design.

But what I found most fascinating about the tower’s recent addition is its exemplary environmentally conscious and breathtaking diagonal grid construction. Designed by British architect Norman Foster, it features among many things: the fastest elevators of New York, high efficient glass construction, rain water collection and recycling, and it is made of 90% recycled steel. Click here to view a video and learn more.

The day was topped off with a fast speed and mouth watering cooking class at Sur La Table with the Brizo team and guests. We cooked three main courses and then sat down to eat

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My fabulous teammates, Brian Nobbe and Judd Lord of Brizo and designer and cooking buddy Susan Jamieson. Photo credit Jayme Thornton for Brizo.

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The art of folding pasta…Photo courtesy Jayme Thornton.

Brizo FW-2013 278 copy edited

My teammates and I made this pasta!!! I love this photo. It makes me happy! Photo Elza B. Design.

The whole Brizo group before dinner:

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Above and directly below, photos courtesy Jayme Thornton for Brizo._H1U7233.JPGBrizo FW-2013 288.copyOne of our delicious creations, fresh tomato pappardelle with ground beef and scallions. Photo Elza B. Design.

I will share the Jason Wu Fashion Show later this week. In the meantime, I leave you with this telling photo of how everything came to an end:

Brizo FW-2013 125Landing at Boston Logan Airport with Yvonne Blacker, we had to come back to reality! Hello, Nemo! Goodbye fairytale!

Crushing on the Eventi Hotel Design in New York

When Brizo invited a bunch of designers and bloggers for Fashion Week, they chose to lodge us in a hotel they have grown fond of over the years: the Eventi Hotel in Chelsea.

I can see why. As soon as you arrive, you know this is an unusual space. Glorious and over the top decor surprises you in the shared spaces of the hotel, part of the Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group. In 1981, Bill Kimpton pioneered the boutique hotel concept in the United States. His idea was to create welcoming and stylish spaces for guests. Thus was born the Kimpton Concept.

Without further ado, let me present the brilliant Eventi Hotel:

Photo courtesy Jayme Thornton.

The lobby’s dramatic entrance with velvet drapes revealing a hidden painting. Eventi Hotel photo Elza B. Design.

Brizo FW-2013 073Lobby photographed by Elza B. Design. Eventi Hotel.

 Brizo FW-2013 016Lobby photographed by Elza B. Design. Eventi Hotel.

Allow me to walk you to the 2nd floor, home to the lounge and dining area, a 60’s/70’s  inspired space with over-sized lighting and a disco vibe :

Brizo FW-2013 046.copyLounge area Eventi Hotel. Photo Elza B. Design.

Brizo FW-2013 042Heron statues greet you in the lounge area. One of the dining area hostesses thought I was crazy photographing all the spaces. They are sooo ugly, said she

Brizo FW-2013 031Lounge area abuts the heated patio. Photo Elza B. Design.

Brizo FW-2013 114Heated patio. Photos Elza B. Design.

Brizo FW-2013 347Brizo FW-2013 0924th floor common area with art by Barbara Nessim. Elza B. Design photo.

4th floor meeting area . Elza B. Design photo.

Glorious view of New York from top floor of Eventi. Photo Elza B. Design.

I am curious what you take away from this post. Did you enjoy the spaces? They are not for everyone, however, I found them well suited for the Chelsea neighborhood vibe. Would I decorate my house this way? No. But who wants a stay away that looks like home? Hotel spaces are unique. They are meant to intrigue and transport you.

I am not ready to forget this fabulous hotel design. Eventi’s sense of scale, color and grandiosity nurtured me and left me feeling inspired and energized.

I left New York with a big smile and creative sparks popping inside my coat pockets…