Fixture Perfect

An online service from Symmons delivers prototypes to designers—free of charge.

Admit it: when you’re staying in a fancy hotel, the most exciting room to check out is always the bathroom, with its potential for elephantine tubs, decadent showers, and vast expanses of gleaming white tile. Canny interior designers recognize this, and they’re always looking for ways to make the bathroom more unique and memorable—while meet­ing the code requirements and budget restraints of a commercial development.

Symmons Design Studio, a seven-year-old venture of the 70-year-old plumbing-products company, has launched an online tool that should help. Design Studio Live lets architects and designers quickly develop 3-D ideas for custom faucets, tub and shower systems, and bath accessories. Users can modify a library of about 500 starter designs (rendered in Google SketchUp), upload their own 3-D files, or even send in sketches. “It’s everything from cocktail napkins to CAD drawings,” says Eric Spear, the director of custom services for Symmons Industries.

The manufacturer then provides resin models within four business days; upon their approval, nonworking metal prototypes arrive about 15 days later. All of this is free of charge, as is the help of a dedicated design consultant. And while Symmons is not the first company to make custom rapid-prototype bathroom hardware, it prides itself on its deep familiarity with commercial applications as well as its manufacturing acumen. “We control the life cycle of any product that leaves Symmons,” Spear says. “We design the valve, we build the valve, we ship the valve, and we service it.” That means that once a designer’s custom order arrives on-site (delivery takes about 16 weeks) it will be easy for contractors to install—and, eventually, for some lucky hotel guest to enjoy.

Design Studio Live

Custom faucets, tub and shower systems, and accessories like soap baskets, towel bars, and robe hooks

Design Studio Live is a free online tool that lets designers develop 3-D plumbing designs for commercial settings.

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