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September 12, 2019

Commercial Restroom Reflections: Restroom Design and The User Experience

Design trends in the commercial restroom continue to evolve. From flushometers and urinals to sinks and faucets, products need to work in tandem to deliver a unified restroom experience. As Sloan, Senior Product Line Manager for Fixtures and Flushometers, Mark Lawinger is tasked with ensuring that flushometers and fixtures work in unison to fulfill the design vision and provide an optimal user experience.

How are Sloan’s recent product innovations working to elevate commercial restroom design?

Architects and designers are looking for smooth, seamless products with a unique look. Both the CX Flushometer and Designer Urinal were developed in response to the architects’ and designers’ desire for a cleaner look, as each product features a more sleek aesthetic.

With the CX Flushometer, the intention is to divert the user’s attention away from the plumbing apparatus by presenting a pleasing, concealed interface. The interaction between the user and the fixture should be as pleasant and unobtrusive as possible. The look and feel of these new products do just that.

How important is it for commercial restroom products to enhance user experience?

The urinal is one of the most visible products in men’s restrooms. With such a visible product hanging on the wall, it has an impact on the entire look and feel of the restroom. With the Designer Urinal, our goal was to make the product noticeable in a positive way. By closing the entire trapway, there is no visible reminder of the pipe with waste flowing through it.

Designing new products requires a very forward-thinking approach. What is the timeline from when a product is initially considered to its actual launch date?

Just by the nature of development, it takes several years. Yet, the interesting thing to watch is that the more we pursue these kinds of projects, the shorter the timeline becomes. It requires a lot of planning and foresight, and Sloan is on the forefront of this aesthetic movement with a focus on the A&D community in the commercial restroom. This movement began when we saw architects starting to take an interest in the commercial restroom, but it has morphed into us leading the way and showing them what restroom design can be.

Part of our commitment to the commercial restroom environment is encompassing everything from sustainability to reliable products, with aesthetics being an integral part of design. We strive to serve our customers at a level that surpasses all expectations.

Does the specification of aesthetically pleasing commercial restroom products serve as a catalyst for developing protective measures to ensure their longevity?

When architects specify beautiful products, they expect that element of high design to last long after installation. That’s why Sloan is committed to extending the life of the design vision. Due to our innovative PVD process and SloanTec® Hydrophobic Glaze, our products will look as good as new long after they’ve been installed.

How important is it to design flushometers and fixtures that work in tandem?

One of the expectations here at Sloan – at least from a performance standpoint – is that all of our flushometers should work with each of our fixtures. Yet, as we get into refining product performance, it resembles the law of diminishing returns, as it becomes exceedingly difficult with every ounce of reduced water that we work to save per flush. As this grows in complexity, the only way to continually evolve is to design equally water-efficient companion fixtures to pair with new and modified flushometer designs.

Each flushometer we develop has to serve as an effective compliment to the aesthetics of the water closet or urinal it is accompanying. Just as designers have multiple materials, colors, and textures to use as they see fit in order to create their vision, it’s the same concept in restroom fixture design. We must provide different products that architects and designers can combine in ways that meet their design goals. We’re focusing on making it easier for architects and designers to find the products they’re looking for, and our recent online resources help to find the perfect faucet and flushometer to fit their needs.

This is the ninth edition in a series of Q&A segments with Sloan product line managers for their take on where the commercial restroom has been, what it’s evolved to now and where it’s going. A previous edition on preserving design qualities through the Physical Vapor Deposition Process (PVD) can be found here.

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