STYLE MAKERS – Summer

Custom by Design: Brooklyn, NY Manufacturer Watermark Sets Industry Pace for Individualized Options

By KLAFFS Editorial Staff

Designers, Homeowners Can ‘Create’ Ideal Decorative Plumbing Fixtures for Their Projects

KLAFFS brand partner Watermark Designs is an industry leader in decorative plumbing fixtures and bathroom accessories for luxury commercial and residential markets. The Brooklyn, New York-based firm is also at the forefront of the movement toward total customization. This emerging trend is driven by the desires of interior designers and their clients to create ideal pieces for their interior projects, express their creativity and/or channel their vision into a product.

For more than three decades, Watermark Designs has operated out of the Brooklyn cultural hub, producing made-in-the-USA fixtures that reflect the ethos of their environment—a New York melting pot of styles, backgrounds and design approaches. As a true manufacturer, Watermark Designs combines hands-on design and development with state-of-the-industry equipment. It brings together sustainable product design with architectural detail. To keep a supply of fresh ideas flowing into its design process, it’s nurtured fruitful collaborations with some of the world’s finest architects and designers, including the renowned Clodagh Design Studio and, more recently, Mark Zeff Studio of interior and product design fame.

Brooklyn manufacturing is built into Watermark’s DNA

Of course, it is the ability to customize and invent original products—those that meet clients’ exact specifications—that has made Watermark Designs an industry success.

“We’ve always considered our collections bespoke: customization is a hallmark of Watermark Designs,” says Avi Abel, president of Watermark. “As a smaller manufacturer, we are able to offer customers options, finishes and designs that you just cannot get in mass-produced factories. In fact, our entire production floor is set up to enable an array of custom options. Because we control the process we’re also able to combine forward design with craftsmanship.”

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Sutton, the stunning result of Watermark’s collaboration with Incorporated Architecture & Design (INC), shows the influence of a 1930s steam valve lever

Sutton’s kitchen configuration features crisp, streamlined design that maintains its industrial appeal

Abel also points out that, they can offer their high-quality products with custom options at prices competitive with standardized, up-market products.

H-Line combines Mark Zeff’s global aesthetic with Watermark Designs’ custom capabilities for a faucet that blurs the line between historic and modern

Sense, designed in collaboration with renowned designer Clodagh, showcases the intricate hand detailing that differentiates Watermark’s collections

Watermark Designs unveiled a completely customizable collection in 2014: the hugely popular Elan Vital. In style, the line harkens back to New York’s industrial days and adds state-of-the-art, present-day technological capabilities.

Though reminiscent of industrial steam pipes plucked from an 18th century factory, Elan Vital’s modern touches exceed all national and local water conservation codes and guidelines while delivering the performance that consumers demand. This is true of all Watermark products. They save water and still provide satisfying water pressure and flow.

Elan Vital was Watermark’s first foray into ‘making custom standard’ (shown here in its widespread variation) and it offers refined industrial styling

Elan Vital’s wall-mounted configuration takes custom a step further by opening up its surface mounting options

Watermark has also designed the collection to make custom standard.

“Since we designed the Elan Vital collection of fully customizable faucets, we’ve continued to explore what custom means,” said Abel.

The galvanized pipe and industrial design made of solid brass construction allows for endless personalization. With Elan Vital, you literally specify how many elbows you want or need and in which of Watermark Designs’ 24 finishes you want the finished product. If you prefer a different handle, you can choose from one of Watermark’s 100+ designs. A complete collection, Elan Vital is available as a widespread, elevated widespread, single-handle wall mounted, widespread wall mounted, two-handle wall mounted, bridge wall mount, wall mount, deck mount, floor mount with hand shower and thermostatic shower.

In 2017, Watermark Designs further expanded its custom capacities with its newest faucet collection — Elements. Elements offers 14 handle styles, which are designed by Watermark Designs Studio and grouped into four materials categories (Raw, Rock, Lumber and Forged), as well as base and insert options. Handles are offered in 24 finishes. With these choices, Elements allows designers and homeowners to play with color, form and texture to create a unique design statement for the home.

Elements radically transforms customization by offering nearly innumerable design possibilities, such as this widespread faucet shown with Liquid Metal covers

Elements, shown here as a wall-mount with a Teak lumber cover, makes a minimal aesthetic rich through its use of natural materials

In all, there are more than 300,000 possible configurations for the Elements collection. To help customers zero in on the perfect combination of base, cover, finish and mounting options, Watermark built a web-based configurator tool. Once you’ve designed your product, you can print out and purchase it from your nearest KLAFFS showroom.

“Our Elements collection is the continued evolution of how far we can go with custom design,” said Abel. “The materials, the finishes, the styling and even the website are all dedicated to the pursuit of individually tailored products. Thanks to KLAFFS, Watermark Designs has a space to exhibit these unique options that open the door to imagination and unique lifestyle expressions.”

Regardless of new materials used in certain design elements, all Watermark products have solid brass cartridges and valves, are washer-less and certified lead free. The company keeps all options in stock and most collections are available in three to eight weeks. Because it’s a bit more labor intensive, allow four to ten weeks for Elan Vital items. Watermark also has full customization capabilities from design to engineering to production and will quote such projects on a case basis.

With Elan Vital, Elements and beyond, Watermark Designs continues to push the boundaries of creation and of personalization.

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