Lunchtime Architectural Products

November 10, 2011 — 19 Comments

Being an architect isn’t all glamour, bottle service and groupies, sometimes there is work that actually happens. The work is grueling and unrelenting at times so I thought I would show you how I spent my lunch hour the other day. I’d like to call it “Trying to keep up with all the cool product, materials and technologies that are out there” but that name is ponderous and kinda sucks. Although it implies that there is work going on (with just a dash of suffering), let’s be honest – I was looking at magazines. While this isn’t billable time (which is why I tend to do it over my lunch break or whenever I am talking to boring engineers), it actually is important that I keep up with emerging technologies, best practices, new construction techniques, and design trends.

This is a new and hopefully reoccurring segment I am trying to introduce here on Life of an Architect – Lunchtime Architectural Products – where once or maybe twice a month show you what I think is the best handful of products I discover or review. Who knows what will show up, but these will just be snippets of images with a brief  explanation of why I am singling it out.

Here is some of the stuff I discovered:


Neo 700 basin from Omvivo

Neo 7000 Basin

Very clean, very functional uncomplicated design. This particular basin is a single cast piece made from solid surface material – that means crisp edges and modern forms that are perfect for the types of contemporary projects I work on. There are also base cabinets available that match the size of this basin. (Also available in a double sink version)


blu stone rectangular freestanding bathtub BT0102blu stone
BT0102 Freestanding bathtub

I am always on the lookout for modern freestanding tubs, partially because I might be in the market for one in my own house – you’ve all seen my current shower/tub area yeah? (.. shudder ..) – but also because freestanding tubs are more commonly found in the traditional style. The entire product line (which includes really nice faucets as well as sinks, toilets and tubs) offered by blu bathworks is very modern. Short version, it passes the “I want it for myself” test.


Rifra modular furniture ZeroRIFRA
modular furniture – ZERO

This was a trend that I have been paying attention to for the last 2 years – modular furniture for bathrooms and other accessory type spaces. Thin counter top profile, integrated handle, high gloss finish (also available in matte finish) … what’s not to love? Of course, this is definitely European lifestyle type mentality on how space is used but I am seeing it creep into more and more western projects.


Lampas mailbox - Style: Outfit

Outfit Mailbox 

It’s hard to be wowed by a mailbox but this one definitely got a wow out of me. I must confess that I did not find this in a magazine but saw it when I was visiting a vendor showroom last week. Created by Arkitema Design, it is delightfully simple in its appearance but is pulling off all sorts of tricks. It locks, it keeps water out, its available in an array of standard RAL colors … this also passes the “I want it for myself” test. For the record, I have been trying to write a post on modern mailboxes for almost 18 months and still haven’t found enough of them good enough to warrant a dedicated “mailbox” post. Don’t let the simple shape fool you – if you want a modern mailbox that actually works and keeps your letters and magazines dry, you won’t be disappointed.


That’s it for this round of Lunchtime Architectural Products, if you think this might be a worthwhile series for me to continue, please let me know. I’m not really interested in doing this if nobody cares, I’ll go back to writing posts on urinals or talk about Girl Scout Cookies and what I watched on TV last night.

ps – special thanks to Scott Taylor for coming up with the logo I will be using for this series. Starbucks on me!



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  • Shruti Jain

    I really like the blog, and even its products. They are really very informative for me. Keep sharing.

  • Ann Hatcher

    Bob…wow…I know where you found those awesome products….TKO Associates…good job….glad you like (Ann @ TKO)

  • can we also add a tag to categorize if the products are available in the US? sad to get my heart broken at lunch, when all the pretty things are only available in Europe…love the posts though!

  • it is awesome…but perhaps we can add tag to categorize if they are available in the US too?
    sad to get my heart broken when all the cool things are only available in Europe… love the post though

    • Crystal – the good news is that all of these products are available in the US but that is a good idea moving forward.


  • F Ulvaaen Isaksen

    I would love to red more of this!

    • Thanks for the comment – I think it looks like I will keep the series in place for a while!

  • Kate McLean

    Cool idea for a sub-blog, blog (?).  I like this concept, would once a week be too often? 

    My magazines are stacked in my (aptly named) in-box… somehow, however, there they sit.  Until I feel guilty about my secretary having to shove “real” things in my in-box (like Pay Apps and Shop Drawings) around the stack of magazines.  Then in a fit of contriteness I toss all my magazines into the “send to the school of architecture” box and wait for the stack to replicate again. 

    • Once a week is definitely too often for me – I am thinking it might be once or twice a month. Sadly, I don’t find that many items that excite me enough to stick them on the site.

      I too have a monstrous pile of magazines – 90% of which I’ve never asked for…

  • scottarch

    Keep it up!  Saves me from mayonaisy sandwiches and awkward small talk.  Also frees up my lunch time to keep up with your blog!

  • Yes I like. Saves me time scouring for good products.

    But wait, you have time to watch T.V.?

    • Yes – I trade some sleep for TV – it’s how I turn my brain off before I actually try and fall asleep. If I don’t, my brain keeps chugging through to-do lists and I have a hard time sleeping.

      Thanks Enoch – I’ll try and focus on the good stuff

  • Mikheil

    Please, keep going on this topic, and thank you for sharing information on very cool products. In the future you can generate some income from vendors’ ad.

    • yeah – maybe… but I’m not going to hold my breath. This will be a fast and somewhat beneficial way of logging what I find interesting and sharing it with others without having to commit to spending hours on a fancy and complicated materials/ products blog post.

  • Keeping up on products and materials is one of those things that a lot of us forget to do. It’s important though, so keep it up! 

    • I am hoping this series will also force me to try and keep up with all the magazines and information that crosses my desk. I generally stick a post-it note on the things I like but  organizing them here will be a better way of keeping track (I hope)


  • Gary Rosard

    I’ve also tried to find modern mailboxes and the pickings are slim indeed. But why do they all have locks? How many people lock their mailbox, especially if it’s right by the front door?

    • very few that I know of but I do get that request from time to time – normally from people who are going out on vacation for a long weekend and don’t want to coordinate some neighbor’s kid swinging by to pick up the mail.

      Another reason this one might have a lock is because it’s designed so that you can pole or wall mount it away from your front door.

      Thank for commenting Gary, I appreciate it