Though the ten-year-old design firm Roman and Williams has worked on high profile projects for NYC’s Ace Hotel and the Breslin restaurant, The Standard Hotel and its “iconic” Boom Boom Room, the new food hall for Facebook’s campus, celebrity homes for Ben Stiller and Gwyneth Paltrow as well as their own two homes/design laboratories, founders Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch have never launched a product line of their own. For their very first collection they collaborated with Waterworks on R.W. Atlas, a series of industrial yet elegant bathroom fixtures inspired by traditional American craftsmanship.
A marble slab tops the Metal Two Leg Single Washstand (below), an Unlacquered Brass stunner that speaks to the collection’s overall masculine/feminine power play. “R.W. Atlas is part of our ongoing interest in embracing the idea of American utility, but imbuing that with a sense of glamour and sophistication,” explains Standefer, principal of Roman and Williams. Like the rest of the collection, its primary components are made from brass and are available in a variety of finishes, including Burnished Nickel and Carbon.
We appreciate the attention to detail in the knurling on the Single Hook and the Volume Control Valve as well as the consistency of aesthetic in the Exposed Thermostatic System. “This product marries a heritage of great American design perspective with decades of experience engineering and producing the highest quality products. Throughout the process, we were inspired by the idea of utilitarian objects that are made exceptionally well and that work beautifully for generations,” said Peter Sallick, Waterworks’ CEO.
While each piece is a genuine thing of beauty – a great example of what can happen when good design and quality craftsmanship come together – we wonder whether an entire bathroom-full of R.W. Atlas pieces would look like the set of some steampunk fantasy – albeit a very elegant one. Depending on your taste that might be precisely what you’re going for, though we advise being choosey and balancing the Exposed Thermostatic Valve with Metal Wheel Handles, for example, with the comparatively simpler Wall Mounted Lavatory Faucet with Metal Lever Handles.