The kitchen and bathroom are the most frequented rooms in a person’s home. Despite the use the two rooms receive on a regular basis, they are often the two most unloved rooms in a house. That is changing and thanks to VIGO, kitchens and bathrooms have become the sexiest places to go in an individual’s home.
VIGO is leading the revolution of innovation when it comes to sinks, faucets, showers, and all of the other bits and pieces that go into the kitchen and bathroom. Overseeing the evolution of these two rooms is Art Director Anna Blinova. Educated in a variety of cutting-edge art and architecture designs, Blinova has formed a creative team set on making gorgeous products that wouldn’t look out of place at an art gallery.
Blinova’s work has led to prestigious industry awards including the iF Design Award 2019. The company is growing rapidly thanks to the designs and innovations it has produced and Blinova recently sat down to tell Totalprestige Magazine all about the company, its work, and her career as an art director.
Anna, VIGO designs some intriguing bathroom, kitchen, and shower products. Can you tell us about the company and its great designs?
Sure, with great pleasure. VIGO, founded in 2009 by Lenny Valdberg, is an American designer and manufacturer of kitchen and bathroom fixtures headquartered in New York City. We are led by VIGO’s mission to combine great design and function into the incredible products that are sold throughout the United States and Canada to individuals, as well as to commercial and residential projects. In 2014, VIGO was included in Inc. 5000 ‘s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America. In 2017, the Global Shower Heads Market Report named VIGO one of the top 15 enterprises in the global shower market industry.
We have won lots of awards recently: Architizer A+ Award and iF Award and Interior Design. AN magazine featured our design as the best of the year. We were one of the featured brands at BDNY. As a result of this success, I would say that not all the brands care about the design in the kitchen and bath industry. At VIGO, we make sure that our designs look perfect and we are excited about creating new trends in the industry. For us, the design is an adventure where we try new creative shapes to give people a unique aesthetic for their kitchen and bath.
I’d say VIGO has two types of clients. One is a consumer, and we make sure to create a great and unique design for all. At the same time, all our product lines are available in large stock for commercial and residential projects and can be customized. The other client is a more high-end segment where we design a new unique piece especially for an architect/designer or a developer. That type of design is unique, and only available for that particular project.
Due to VIGO’s incredible designs, is there a type of home or architecture style the company’s products work best with?
We are big fans of modern design. Where arts meet innovation, you’ll find VIGO. We basically consider our products as art pieces and new technologies help us to create perfection in that. We love sleek and simple shapes and we try to make sure that when we look at our designs, we experience a visual pleasure. We always strive to create something that we would want for our own home. We figure if we want it, then the people will want it.
Anna, what led you to VIGO? What was your career like prior to joining the company?
It definitely has been a journey! I have my five-year bachelor’s degree in Architecture, and I’d been practicing that for some years before I got the position at VIGO in New York City. During my architectural practice, I got a chance to collaborate with architects who worked for Zaha Hadid, AN Studio, Enric Ruiz Geli, and others. At that time, I was doing lots of research projects, workshops, lectures, and publications. I was a big fan of the style called Parametricism. It’s a style within contemporary avant-garde architecture that was coined in 2008 by Patrik Schumacher, an architectural partner of Zaha Hadid (1950-2016).
You have been an Art Director at VIGO since 2018. How has the company evolved since you joined as an Art Director?
We’ve done a lot of successful projects together. We did a complete rebranding of the company and I feel that we are always in progress here. There’s never a final point to anything. We started to do lots of CGI, as I believe it’s a new and great way to create imagery. We’re always in search of perfection that’s why we love client feedback. If we see that people are missing something in our products, we improve them and release an updated version. We frequently redesign our website and product images to make sure the customer has a great experience. We want to make sure that when the person shops online, it’s close to the real experience and it’s possible to see the product from all sides and understand all the functions.
How have customer tastes changed in the last 10 years when it comes to home design and decor?
People started to love simplicity. The design is shifting to simple and sleek shapes and we see retro styles less and less, they become eclectic. At the same time, modern design became more conscious, more engaged, more exciting, more democratic, more individualistic. It was applied in so many new ways to so many new challenges.
During the early 2010s, post-recession, the great impact on the home design and decor was caused by Instagram. Pinterest launched in 2010 and lots of blogs came with it. Now, people can get lots of inspiration for their homes. People started to love minimalist design with lots of DIY. The top 10 early 2010s styles that are still trending are Scandinavian minimalism, the chevron pattern, brass, and warm metallics. In the mid 2010s, it was beloved modern farmhouse. At that time, our farmhouse Matte Stone Kitchen sink designs were the biggest trend. Mid-century modern was back with its wooden furniture, powder-coated metal accessories, plants, and subway tile. The coolest style trending in the late-2010s was Memphis with its raucous colors and patterns, dramatic geometric shapes, and lots of different materials.
What’s great is that in the last 10 years, people care more than ever about the kitchen and bathroom. I think it’s one of the signature places and the biggest investment when it comes to renovation.
What drives and influences the designs created by VIGO?
We trust our own guts. I tried to get people on the creative team that have the same aesthetics, love the same style, and share the same beliefs. My goal was to have people on my team that don’t even need to have a manager but are driven by the idea of designing new products, graphics, and illustrations no matter what. I got people who are driven to make what the world has never seen before, not for the people, but for themselves. Because that’s who they are, and their art is their way to express themselves.
If talking about inspiration, I think it’s the world. As soon as you have the ability to observe the world, everything is an inspiration.
Anna, in 2019, VIGO won the iF Design Award. How significant was winning this prestigious award for you and the company? Which product won the award?
That was an exciting achievement. It was an honor to receive a German best product design award, and we were one of the winners among the companies like Apple, LG, Samsung, and others. We went to Munich to the awards ceremony in March 2019 to receive it. That was an amazing black-tie ceremony in BMW Welt Center.
It’s exciting to see our VIGO Oakurust LED Kitchen Faucet in matte black finish winning an award for the best design. The VIGO Oakhurst is crafted with usability and convenience in mind. Its distinct pull-down design offers 360° of swiveling power, an extra 25 inches of flexible hosing and a high-pressure stream to assist with cleaning and cooking. Its sloping spout head is equipped with a super-bright white LED, which is powered by the renewable mechanical energy derived from the pressure and movement of the water. The Oakhurst is fully ADA-compliant and conforms to a mandatory flow restriction for California residents. Its dramatic matte black finish is electroplated seven times over for durability and full protection against corrosion, and mineral buildup.
What is in the future for VIGO? Can you tell us about some of the new designs and products that may be released soon?
The future of VIGO is bright. We’re a fast-growing company, people love our products, and we do everything that’s possible and impossible to create the best design and function for them. We are currently releasing lots of designs, including:
The Cast Stone™ – concrete looking bathroom sinks, solid core like our Matte Stone™ bathroom sinks.
Matte Shell™ – matte black bathroom sinks, very smooth and nice to touch, scratch-resistant, amazing material.
We are basically obsessed with creating new materials and it takes years sometimes to make them perfect. These two are perfectly done and will be released this February. The new trend is the Oxford kitchen sink workstation with integrated cutting board and roll-up drying rack as a part of the seamless design.
We’ve been working for about a year on the design of the new VIGO massage shower panes. They are very sleek and finally going live. We’ve actually got pre-orders from multiple architectural projects around the globe even before the release to the public and generated over $500,000 in sales.
One of the coolest trends right now is the industrial-looking VIGO shower doors and we’re releasing them this month. We’re also the first company to introduce the matte brushed gold shower doors to the US market.
In February, we’re releasing an exclusive VIGO graphite black finish, which is going to be the new trend after matte brushed gold and matte black.
More is yet to come but I’m going to keep it a secret. Learn more on our website and follow us on social media and subscribe to the newsletter.
As an Art Director, what have you learned as an entrepreneur and business person since joining VIGO?
I’ve learned everything I know about business because of VIGO. It’s been a wonderful journey. I think, most importantly, I’ve learned the design process from sketch to manufacturing, and furthering the release of the product to the consumer. That’s a very complicated and exciting process with lots of different departments involved in it. Also, I’ve learned how to show the product to the consumer in the best way in the age of the e-commerce revolution.
Anna, what is a day in your life like?
If you’re asking about my daily routine – I love sports and I eat super healthy. I usually wake up early in the morning to go to the gym. If for some reason I miss that, I try to go at lunchtime or evening. No matter how busy my schedule is, I try to do any type of exercise every day and an hour session at least three times a week. People are usually impressed that I almost never watch TV shows, movies or anything like that. I do sometimes on the plane. Or, when I really like the movie, I go to the movie theater.
I love my work and I work a lot. For me, it’s a way to express myself. I’m lucky enough to not have to work because of the money. To me, it’s weird when people do that. I would do the design no matter what.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I talk to my mom every day. That can also sound weird, but my family is my everything.
What makes you smile?
Everything. I smile a lot. My friends, good books, dogs, other smiling people, when we accomplish a new project, or when we make a new design. To see something you created goes live is the best.
What scares you?
Even if something scares me, I take a step forward, pretending that I saved my life, like in a video game.
Do you have any hobbies?
I do a blog where I share my inspiration and my projects with my followers. I like to tell people a story behind my success, so they see me not only as an art director of a fast-growing company, but as a personality behind that. I hope I can inspire someone to open up the world of design.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
I love Zaha Hadid. To me, it’s a person who changed the world’s architecture, and she’s also the first woman who did that. I really love it when people do what they think is right no matter if the whole world says that it’s impossible.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid: humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination.”
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom, always, to tell the difference.” – Kurt Vonnegut
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
I would stop aging, sicknesses, and death, but that requires redesigning the universe.
For more information on Anna Blinova and VIGO Industries, please visit https://www.vigoindustries.com/