Thursday, February 21, 2013

Brizo + Wu: “A departure from the ordinary”

from the Jason Wu 2013 Fall Ready-to-Wear Collection // Vuelo by Brizo
runway photo credit: Filippo Fior // other photos via Brizo

“With every hard edge there’s a softness.
– Jason Wu, fashion designer on his 2013 Fall collection

“Vuelo was a sculptural swan given a purpose. The original sketches consisted of curved, expressive lines that only hint at the swan form – that’s what was so intriguing to us.”
– Judd Lord, industrial designer for Brizo

{My Trip to Brizo-land and Back}

After spending five days in New York with the Brizo team and my #blogger19 pals, it has taken me awhile to get acclimated back into my real life. From day one, it was first-class treatment. All my travel arrangements were made and taken care of by Brizo. The worst part of the trip was the new pair of shoes that I noticed were extremely hard to walk in as I hurried to keep up with the very tall driver with his extra long strides that met me at the airport. We had to walk what felt like a mile (why is parking for Arrivals so far away from the baggage claim area??) to the town car they had waiting for me. Finally I could relax, and in luxury seating no less! The driver, Bernard, loaded my luggage, turned on some tunes, and chatted about New York as we made our way to the Eventi Hotel where I would be staying for what was supposed to be three days, but turned into five since Boston got hit with a blizzard causing my flight to be cancelled twice. What a shame! Brizo handled all of the flight changes for me, while I took in the city on my extra day and sipped prosecco cocktails with a few other bloggers who had not left to go home yet. But I am getting ahead of the story ...

When I arrived, I still had a few hours before our first meet-and-greet was scheduled. This was my room. Kind of tight quarters compared to home (only two drawers for my clothes and I could barely fit the seven pairs of shoes that I brought in the closet) but it was very pretty, neat, and SO quiet!! I did not turn on the TV once. Not to hear video games in the background or have to play referee for five days was a complete bonus (although I missed my children terribly ; )

My bathroom was MY OWN! I realize I work for a bath showroom and am surrounded by pretty fixtures all day, but at home we are currently down to one bathroom for six people while we renovate, so to have this all to myself was simply joyful! Only drawback was that I prefer having my shower completely closed off as opposed to the walk-in version (it was completely open on the left without a door to shut, allowing a lot of the warm steam to escape). But it was very beautiful. And cleaned each day by someone else. Another bonus.

At 7pm I headed downstairs to meet the Brizo team and the other invited bloggers. Fortunately, I had connected on twitter with a number of the bloggers before arriving, and I actually knew two fairly well having met them at Boston design events. One of the Brizo team members, Laura Brooks, happens to be my media contact when I plan my Designer Bath print ads, so I was looking forward to meeting her in person as well. I knew it was going to be fun whether I knew people or not, after hearing from a couple of Boston design blogger friends (Michelle and Linda specifically, but there have been many) that this trip is the BEST. TIME. EVER. And you know what? It was.  

Just some of Team Brizo: Judd Lord, Jordan Bahler, Paula Warner,
Kristen Baum, Sarah Schlifke, Katie Feltz, Sarah Sinetean

After the first hour, I finally took out my camera: Adele Young, Judd Lord,
Barbara Elza Hirsch (my Boston bestie!) and Marilyn Russell

Of course, I didn’t hesitate to interrogate their marketing and advertising team.
(I just love their ads so much!!) Agency of record is Young & Laramore.
Nick Prihoda Y&L, Brian Nobbe of Brizo, Trevor Williams Y&L

We even had guests from as far as Dubai: designer Laura Bielecki on the left and Gizem Imer, Middle East Business Development Manager for Brizo, on the right. In the middle are Jai Massela and THE Laura Brooks, both of Brizo (finally we meet!)

A group of us worked up an appetite after all that meeting and greeting so we sat down for a late-night meal: Todd Venditouli (who is carving out a niche for himself as the go-to guy for covering design related events, near or far. He splits his time between Vermont and the Bahamas and has even attended an event at Designer Bath). Adele Young (originally from South Africa now living in Chicago and current Ambassador for #IntDesignerChat on twitter), Judd Lord (rock star Brizo product designer who can talk about faucets in a way that is completely fascinating!), Marilyn Russell (a smart and funny Orlando interior designer who grew up in Boston and took probably as many photos as I did), Barbara Elza Hirsch et moi (Barbara speaks fluent French and even studied fashion in Paris. She is a frequent contributor on Houzz.)

{Day Two}

photo credit: Jayme Thornton 

9am ...  Brizo Marketing Director Brian Nobbe welcoming the “Blogger19 as the group has been affectionately called since the first design blogger combined with New York fashion week event was held back in 2010. There are about 130 Brizo Fashion Week Alum at this point (on average there are about 19 who attend each session).

My new friend Donna Hall of Savvy Interior Design 
photo credit: Jayme Thornton

It is truly an honor to be included in such a diversely talented group of design influencers! After a round of introductions (note to self: must practice my elevator speech!) we learned what makes up the pillars of the Brizo brand: distinctive design, inventive technologies, and care in how it’s built. 

photo credit: Jayme Thornton

Next we were entertained by lead industrial designer, Judd Lord, who shared the behind-the-scenes stories of what really goes into each Brizo faucet. I loved that they have an in-house design lab that has shelves filled with items to spark creativity: from organic objects to chain metal swatches to fake vomit (???) Whatever they are doing, it’s working, because their designs are definitely inspired ...

Our meeting room was filled with Brizo product lines displayed along with mood boards featuring the visual inspiration behind each model. Architecture, nature, and fashion are common themes, along with how water itself flows.

photo credit: Jayme Thornton 

It’s obvious that the Brizo folk take their jobs quite seriously, working tirelessly to come up with product innovations that offer high performance and designer style, but apparently they still know how to have fun.

photo credit: Jayme Thornton 

Brizo designer Seth Fritz explaining the mechanics of a lever from one of his Scandinavian influenced designs.

“If I had to sum up Odin in one phrase it would be ‘addition by subtraction. My time spent studying Scandinavian furniture made me appreciate the value of reducing something to its essential lines and getting rid of everything else.” – Seth Fritz

photo credit: Jayme Thornton 

Barbara taking her job as a #blogger19 guest very seriously.

I wrote an entire post about the origins of the Jason Wu and Brizo collaboration for the blog that I pen at Designer Bath. It has additional photos from Fashion Week, so please visit it after you finish up here : )

I am leaning towards installing a matte black Solna faucet in my new kitchen, and including a Jason Wu faucet in the adjoining powder room. Won’t they look great together??
PS Thank you, Brizo!

photo credit: Jayme Thornton 

A classic photo bomb ... well played Jai!

with Katrina Strombo, Nick Prihoda, and Ellen Cheever at Hearst Towers

Later in the day, we headed to Hearst Tower for a tour of this Platinum certified LEED property that was built from the ground up to be environmentally efficient. It was actually declared the first green office building in New York City history. It also houses a lot of amazing pieces of art and some of my favorite design publications including Elle Decor, Veranda, House Beautiful, O Magazine .... the list goes on and on!

Bloggers arriving at Hearst Tower

Inside and out the Hearst Tower makes dramatic use of light and space. The soaring three-story atrium – filled with the sound of cascading water – creates a sense of calm on a grand scale.” – from the Hearst Tower brochure

Todd Venditouli, Greg Tankersley, Faith Sheridan, Susan Jamieson

Stylishly awaiting our design blogger tour:
Elizabeth McGann, Marilyn Russell, Lisa Peck

Newell Turner, editor-in-chief at House Beautiful, with Greg Tankersley, the sole architect in our blogger group who just happens to be long-time friends with Turner (his work has been published by him, too!) Newell was nice enough to ask me about my blog. Seriously. He really asked : )

Tweeting and Instagramming the stellar views at Hearst Tower

with editor Amy Preiser

We were given a funny and informative presentation by the voice behind Elle Decor online, editor Amy Preiser. She discussed best practices when blogging about images borrowed from Elle Decor (please credit the source, the photographer, link back, etc.) and admitted that they LOVE when we do so! They also really love fan photos. Visit their Pinterest board and pin a pic of your Elle Decor issue somewhere in your home (or on vacation, or on a NY getaway like I just did).

Something to read in my room at the Eventi

Next we got a guided tour of the various magazine hot spots in the building. We stopped by Good Housekeeping which was an in-real-life reminder that this magazine has spent more than a century helping women and families to know which products live up to their promises. We even saw their actual test kitchen and other product testing chambers. It was all very scientific – these people really mean business! It made me feel good to know that dozens of people make it their job to test the safety of a product so that we consumers don’t waste our hard earned money or get burned (flammable princess costumes???)

Traditional furnishings in the Good Housekeeping area

More contemporary setting in a House Beautiful sitting area

Alpha Barbie Donna Schulz, Midwest Director for Elle Decor
with Brizo Senior Brand Manager Laura Brooks

According to our tour guide, the Hearst Tower building is staffed with “Alpha Barbies.” What does this mean exactly? Women who have achieved a level of professional recognition doing what they love as it relates to “A day in a woman’s life.” 

Poster at Hearst Tower: “A day in a woman’s life.” This image reminded me
of how many blogs begin with the chronicles of a woman’s day at home.

I realize this has been a VERY long post, and I am hoping you are still with me because I have more to share ...


Hopefully I can wrap it up tomorrow in one post : )


  1. Sounds like you had a great time. And bummer about being able to stay in a luxury hotel while riding out the storm! ;-/

  2. It looks like they selected another great group and put on a fabulous trip.

  3. What a great post Yvonne and what a great time we all had. Great choice on the faucet selections - You have to post pics after the install. xoxo. Can't wait to see you again!!


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