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Who would have thought that a brand that exemplifies upscale fixtures would look to the tavern for ideas? Waterworks did. With brilliance and a sense of fun.

Waterworks' On Tap faucet

 

For spring, Waterworks reached into its bag of tricks and worked a little design magic. The Danbury, Conn.-based company known for its artisanal craftsmanship in developing kitchen and bath fittings has put an upscale, contemporary spin on utilitarian pieces of equipment that historically have been used in commercial settings.

The result: a pair of groundbreaking, eye-catching kitchen collections that make bold statements with their generous scale—fittings have been designed in proportion to large appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators (think faucets with large vertical cylinders)—and their unconventional, almost performative ways of delivering water and quenching thirst.

Inspired by vintage beer taps, the On Tap collection gives the saloon look a big dose of charm. A simple powder-coated, ball-shaped pull handle atop the spout controls the flow of water, and a separate side wheel adjusts the water temperature. “Beer taps have a lot of little extra design elements on them, but we took the idea and pared all that down because we want you to focus on the scale and the most unusual way you operate the water from the ball on top of the faucet,” says Barbara Sallick, Waterworks’ co-founder and senior vice president of design.

Waterworks took an even more pared-back approach with the Canteen collection, inspired by 19th- and early 20th-century water pumps. A single oak joystick on top of the pull-out faucet controls both the water flow and temperature. Sallick says the lever’s simple beauty gives Canteen a look that’s a bit more refined than On Tap, which has a bigger, more chunky aesthetic.

Despite their simplicity, both collections shout luxe with the help of high-quality materials, such as thick solid brass. If they seem too casual or large scale for some spaces, Sallick says a third new Waterworks collection that also draws from the past is more versatile and complements a wider variety of kitchens. Called Dash, it features a faucet with a striking arched spout and borrows design elements from the Bauhaus, such as pared-down shapes, softened curves and minimal details. “Dash is very simple—and because of its elegant simplicity, it can be traditional, transitional, or it can be modern,” she explains. “It’s a chameleon that can be any place, any time.”

With their functional, less-is-more aesthetic, these new Waterworks collections give credence to the old adage “the simpler, the better.” Not to mention the age-old question, “What’s on tap?” Prices upon request, 167 NE 39th St.