Posts Tagged ‘design’
Throughout the New York Metropolitan area, AF New York (AFNY) – the select division of the AF Supply Corporation – is recognized as one of the premiere showrooms for kitchen and bath products, tile and architectural hardware. This past month at ICFF in New York, AFNY thrilled designers with its PURA VIDA book launch. PURA VIDA is a conceptual artistic endeavor – a photographic essay of human scars, tattoos and their stories as interpreted by photographer Tasja Keetman. We had the opportunity to speak to AFNY Principal, Bennett Friedman about AFNY and the book launch.
Bennett, AFNY is a landmark in New York’s design community. Tell us a little about growing up in this third generation family-owned business? “My grandfather had a solid vision when he founded AF Supply that included ethical, hard work – taking care of customers and business. Those things haven’t changed in 88 years. My dad is 91 and only semi-retired. He still keeps an eye on the business from his kitchen table. My brothers are also smart, passionate and caring. And not just about our customers – but about our vendors too. We treat vendors as true partners. Growing up, the warehouse was summer camp for us. We had all kinds of sports including washing bathrooms and shelving products. My father firmly believed we needed a background in business. We weren’t coddled. All of us had a stint in business through college and high school.”
How does AFNY differentiate itself? “AFNY is a brand – a culture that is about innovation, change, service and a philosophy to provide greater value to our customers through our extensive knowledge and selection. We offer value to clients in practical ways that differentiates us from traditional venues, ecommerce, home centers, etc. We are an SAP run company. Same as large multinational companies. But it’s not about using technology. It’s the culture. We are proactive in an industry that’s reactive. We employ over 200 people – but our family values haven’t changed.”
How did you become involved with the PURA VIDA project? “All year long we do events at the AFNY showroom including brand launches, CEU credit presentations and more. Over the past 7 or 8 years at ICFF, we’ve coordinated an outside event for designers that would be fun, cultural and a destination. Our AFNY brand and our image is a fusion of art and design that appeals to a more sophisticated customer. Events like the PURA VIDA launch extend our brand image, offer an opportunity to interact with our audience and make us a must-see stop on the ICFF event circuit.”
4. The PURA VIDA book is pure art. To describe it for our audience. Imagine a book of up close scar images. The embossed title is itself a scar on the cover. The binding is open with a visible, scar-like red thread running through. The pages are perforated together so you are forced to physically tear the book open to read it. Scarring your own personal copy of the book from inception. But the book is not meant to shock. It’s human stories told by the scar-bearers themselves. It is about healing and the spirit of renewal.
Bennett, tell us why projects like this are important to you and to AFNY. “PURA VIDA is about life. Scars are landmarks in our life. The ability to be injured, healed and to grow. Over 2,000 people volunteered to be photographed for the book including myself. We achieved over 1,500 images which were narrowed to 62. There’s no commercial message behind the book launch. PURA VIDA gives our clientele a view of our culture – it’s about innovation and design – about being perceived as on the leading edge. It’s not a typical book, just as we are not a typical company. It took nearly 4 years to complete this project and we have several more art and fashion projects in the making.”
Tell us a little about the BLANCO portfolio of products at AFNY. “I think BLANCO is recognized as an innovative company. We like to associate with companies like BLANCO where the quality of company is instilled in the culture and product ingenuity… and in the quality of their people.”
At BLANCO, we love to say, “it’s just a sink” in the same way “Picasso was just a painter.”
To the average homeowner – a sink or faucet may look like – well – just a sink or faucet. But there’s so much more to know. Here are a few quick tips from real kitchen design experts on what they look for when selecting a sink or faucet and what’s important.
Outstanding Trend Point: While you expect designers to go for “look” first, they really came out strong for durability, quality and material as the most important considerations. “Pay More!” seemed to be nearly an anthem. Trust the designers to know – they are the ones who get to replace lesser products that don’t last.
1. The Sink Fits The Project
“I want the sink to fit the project. I do not have a one-size-fits-all sink in mind when I design,” says Cheryl Kees Clendenon, owner/designer In Detail Kitchen and Bath, Pensacola, Florida. Cheryl likes the deeper 10” or more sinks. “I can tell you what I think is a ridiculous size, the sinks where you have the tiny bowl on one side that is quite shallow. I think this is nuts because people put their disposal on the shallow small side,” comments Clendenon.
According to designers, like Cheryl Kees Clendenon, sink grids for protecting stainless are a must!!
3. Pay a little more
“As far as product selections go, I think you truly get what you pay for when it comes to faucets,” states Nick Bajzek, The Product Guy (product editor for Professional Builder, Professional Remodeler and Custom Builder magazines). Spend a little extra and go for a higher-end model, one with a quality cartridge. You generally won’t have to worry about leaks or wearing out the knobs like you would with a cheap faucet.”
4. Material Matters
“What I look for when I’m specifying a sink is the material,” states Paul Anater, blogger and designer at http://www.kitchenandresidentialdesign.com/. “I have a strong preference for stainless steel, so that’s where I go first. Once I have a client sold on stainless I look for a single bowl, large sink. If I have the budget, I spec flat-bottomed sinks because I think they look better. If I can’t afford a flat bottom, I then look for the heaviest gauge steel I can find that will fit into my budget. Once I have my sink options narrowed down, I then look for other features such as accessories. Brand name doesn’t figure into it nearly as much as quality and I never shop by price. I set a budget for my clients and then we go find the best we can find in that budget. BLANCO rises to the top in many cases I’m pleased to report.”
5. Durability Now! Painless Later.
“When I’m asked to consult on which kitchen sink a client should choose I usually suggest they go for excellent durability and great looks,” says Gerry Snapke of CadKitchenPlans.com. “It’s no secret that the drop in sink has been out of favor in the kitchen for many years now. Under mount sinks and farmhouse apron fronts make up the bulk of styles popular with consumers and they look great. But consider what replacing one of these sinks involves. If it’s an under mount style replacement is difficult without replacing or at least doing major damage to the existing countertop. Farmhouse sinks pose a similar replacement challenge and often times involve cabinet modification as well. Bottom line here… pick a sink that you know will last for many years and avoid the pain of replacement costs.”
2009 was a year to remember (and an economy to forget about)! Despite the tough economic climate, BLANCO’s strong financial position, geographic diversity and quality (German-made) products allowed us to leverage every opportunity for long-term growth. And we’ve succeeded. The changes made in 2009 are already impacting our positive sales numbers moving into 2010.
BLANCO introduced 69 innovative new products in 2009 – including STELLAR, PERFORMA, ARCON™, PRECISION™ 16”, MicroEdge™ (FLOW™) and SILGRANIT® II! We launched the exclusive STEELART® brand at K/BIS (Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) – BLANCO STEELART represents the pinnacle of handcraftsmanship and precision technology in sink design.
These new products were extremely well received by the design community. MicroEdge won significant design awards including a Red Dot award for FLOW, Good Design Award, Professional Builder’s Top 100 Most Innovative Products, K+BB’s Product Innovator Awards and Interior Design’s Best of Year. SILGRANIT II was picked as one of Better Homes & Gardens’ Top Products of 2009. In all, we received about 50 million press impressions in 2009 in TV, radio, online and print. More than 5x the exposure we received in 2008.
From a quiet, but competent family-owned company since 1925, BLANCO has emerged as a solid worldwide leader for innovation, quality and design in the sink and faucet business.
So what’s new for 2010?
We have another fantastic year planned for 2010. And while 2009 will be a hard act to follow as far as new product introductions – we will be launching eco-friendly green products including water-saving faucets as well as some interesting surprises. We have new sink designs and colors that are so “on trend” – they’ve already won international design awards in Europe. BLANCO will also launch a new line of faucets that affirm their status as the jewel of the kitchen. And a new, improved website that will make it easier to find products, specs and information on everything BLANCO. Several existing new products will continue to lead our Designer-focused collections including STEELART-MicroEdge, ARCON, FLOW, PRECISION 16” (R0 and R10) – and we plan to participate in both K/BIS (Chicago, April) and ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair, NYC, May). We have much to be thankful for and much to look forward to in 2010 as we continue to grow as a company and as a brand.
BLANCO sinks were featured prominently in the 26th Annual Builder’s Choice projects as awarded by Builder Magazine this October. Here are a few of the award winners that specified BLANCO sinks as part of their designs.
According to Builder, “Small, green, efficient and inventive, this year’s projects reflect an industry poised for recovery.”
MERIT – Laidley Street Residence, San Francisco
Category: Custom home, less than 3,500 square feet
Entrant/Developer/Architect: Zack/de Vito Architecture, San Francisco
Builder: Built Form Construction, San Francisco
MERIT – Arterra, San Francisco
Category: Green/Sustainable project
Entrant/Architect: Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning, San Francisco
Builder: Bovis Lend Lease, San Francisco
Developer: Arterra Mission Bay, San Francisco
Landscape architect: Marta Fry Landscape Associates, San Francisco
SPECIAL FOCUS – Cable Lake Guest House – Wisconsin
Entrant/Architect: Albertsson Hansen Architecture, Minneapolis
Builder: Haan Enterprises, Cable, Wis.
Landscape architect: Close Landscape Architecture, Minneapolis
MERIT – Sutter Brownstones
Category: Infill project
Entrant/Architect/Land planner/Landscape architect: LPAS, Sacramento, Calif.
Builder: Walsh & Forster, Portland, Ore.
Developer: LoftWorks, Sacramento
Interiordesigner: blankblank, Sacramento
BLANCO continues to garner news coverage for awards won (Red Dot, Professional Builder Top 100 New Products) as well as for launching innovative new styles and technologies. In a year where many competitors kept their heads down, BLANCO has earned over 45 million PR impressions!
Below, please enjoy our latest public relations hits from Houston House & Home, KBDN, HousingZone.com, Professional Builder, Professional Remodeler, iReport, Surroundings and K+BB. MicroEdge™, FLOW™ and SILGRANIT® II are just some of the new products making headlines.
BLANCO launches its Essential Laundry Sink! Don’t let its good looks fool you… it’s tough enough and plenty deep for scrubbing, soaking and cleaning everything from the family pet, to paint brushes and fine delicates.
This hardworking design was styled with an extra deep 12” bowl for soaking, scrubbing or hand washing. The bowl size measures 22″ x 16″, making this BLANCO sink both pleasing to the eye and extremely functional for homeowners.
“Who says a laundry sink can’t look spectacular and still be tough enough for your dirty jobs?” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for Blanco. “The BLANCO Essential Laundry Sink complements any workspace with its extra deep bowl, Satin Polished Finish and stunning form. The combination of elegance and functionality demonstrates BLANCO’s brilliant design innovation and enduring quality.”
The Blanco Essential Laundry Sink is made from premium 18-gauge stainless steel. It has a unique, high quality Satin Polished Finish that’s easy to clean and gives the sink a luxurious feel.
Features & Benefits:
• 304 Series Stainless Steel
• 18 Gauge Stainless Steel
• 18/10 Chrome-Nickel Content
• Satin Polished Finish
• Measures 22” x 16”
• Limited lifetime warranty