Sculptural faucets add style without sacrificing function

In the old days, kitchen faucets were just utilitarian fixtures regulating the flow of water. That still holds true, but today’s faucets are now high-end, cutting-edge fixtures designed to be visually pleasing with all the newest advances in technology. In other words, modern faucets deliver high style without sacrificing function.

Bob Gifford, director of bath products for Hastings Tile &Bath, said a faucet can define a room and also be seen as a sculptural element.

“You can define high-tech in a number of ways, ranging from electronic or the number of features that it has,” Gifford said. “With our Vola faucet, we go in another direction entirely: true minimalism. It’s just pure design that doesn’t overwhelm the space but symbolizes its own historic origins.

“The Vola faucet was designed by architect Arne Jacobsen in 1968. The brand has never strayed from his initial design mission which was to let the simplicity of the design speak for itself.”

And you thought you were just pouring yourself a glass of water.

“The Vola faucet works in designs that are transitional, contemporary and midcentury modern,” Gifford said. “That last one is very popular in Las Vegas. They are manufactured using the highest grade stainless steel and lead-free brass materials and have the latest ceramic disc technology in the mixer. All of this adds up to a faucet that should never need to be replaced.”

A Vola kitchen faucet is so minimal in design that it appears weightless. The one-handle built-in mixer with double swivel spout has a 10-inch reach from the wall and a spout that swivels 180 degrees.

It has a low-flow, “green” aerator and nine accreditations claiming it has passed virtually every test for water safety, reliability and environmental control. The most popular style is brushed stainless steel, but it is also available in a variety of colors or finishes.

Taking industrial design one step further, the Elan Vital collection from Watermark Designs combines the utilitarian aesthetic of industrial design with the ability to be completely customizable. The Elan Vital Telescopic Kitchen Faucet is reminiscent of industrial steam pipes and has a patented telescopic spout that extends or retracts as needed.

The deck-mounted lever controls volume and temperature using a hydro-progressive valve. The brass wire basket is optional, as is an independent side spray.

“High tech faucets are all about design and innovation,” said Avi Abel, president of Watermark Designs. “Good design re-imagines what has come before and makes improvements.

“A good example is our faucet with the telescopic spout. It makes it easier for the spout to be at the right projection to fit the sink and the side spray, with its own valve, allows water to come out of both the spout and side spray at the same time and at different temperatures. To sum it up in one word: convenience.”

What makes these faucets stand out from other faucets is construction. Elan Vital faucets are constructed of brass with no plastic parts that are often found on many off-the-shelf faucets. Vola’s faucets use high-grade stainless steel and lead-free brass.

Abel believes that once you know what to look for, the differences are quite clear and, in spite of their sophistication, are compatible in most homes.

“As long as the specifications of the faucet and size of spout work, an Elan Vital faucet can be retrofitted to an existing sink or used in renovations,” he said. “It’s more industrial in look and feel but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work in either an older or a completely modern home.

“The faucet is also a great example of form versus function. Customers can decide the form and have it customized. Our new Tod collection has handles that can be turned on and off with the flick of a wrist making it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s incredibly useful in the kitchen when your hands tend to be busy holding pots or are wet. We’re learning that people are rethinking how they want to use their kitchen faucets.”

And there’s more. The Metropole pull-down faucet from Newport Brass comes with a magnetic docking system. Most pull-out sprays rely on a weighted or spring-loaded hose to hold the hand spray in place; therefore, the hand spray doesn’t always rest back in place. Newport Brass uses a high-powered magnetic holding hand spray docking system that secures it to the spout allowing it to sit perfectly in place.

An iconic design from MGS is the Vela LD series inspired by commercial “pull-down” style kitchen faucets that offer the same experience for home chefs. The hand-held spray features a highly functional spring neck for maximum flexibility and reach, and offers a dual spray option of shower or aerated stream. And because there are no visible set screws, it can be installed in the front, on the right or on the left making it ideal for an island.

Both Elan Vital and Vola kitchen faucets can be found at European Bath, Kitchen, Tile &Stone, 4050 S. Decatur Blvd.

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