Milwaukee’s Summerfest enhances patron experience with restroom design

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Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 11.39.42 PMRenowned as “The World’s Largest Music Festival,” Summerfest made its debut in 1968 as Milwaukee’s cornerstone summer music celebration situated along the shorelines of Lake Michigan. Each year, Summerfest gathers the industry’s hottest stars and emerging talent along with approximately 900,000 people from Milwaukee and worldwide for an unforgettable music experience. The spotlight shines bright for 11 days on more than 1,000 performances on 11 stages – all in a world-class festival setting. Ethnic festivals and other events are also held on the grounds throughout the year.

In 2011 and 2012, the Summerfest grounds underwent a $34 million facility renovation encompassing 24 acres with 2 music venues, VIP decks, food restaurants, an entrance gate and plaza, public and private restrooms, and several parking lots. As the architectural team set out to accommodate growing crowds, improve traffic flow and enhance user experience, they agreed the restrooms deserved top billing.

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“Restrooms are a direct reflection on any establishment, whether it’s a fancy restaurant or music festival,” says Robert J. Gosse, AIA, Summerfest’s Director of Design and Construction. “Our goal was to raise the level of design in our restrooms a few notches to heighten our patrons’ overall experience.”

The architectural team furnished restrooms throughout the Summerfest grounds with a variety of Bradley washroom fixtures, such as Multi-Founts, OmniDecks, Bradmar 100% Recycled Plastic Partitions and stainless steel washroom accessories. However, as Gosse explains, Bradley’s Verge® Lavatory System stood out as a one-of-a-kind modern design
element with distinctive cachet.

“Of all the restroom fixtures we’ve used, Verge is my hands-down favorite,” Gosse says. “The elegant look and unique trough-like shape convey a very modern, trendy and appropriate aesthetic. There’s no question that its clean and refined style helped us meet our goal to elevate the appearance of the restrooms.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 11.40.27 PM Beyond aesthetics, he says the durability and low-maintenance features of Verge make it an ideal choice for this high-traffic venue, which must endure frequent usage, vandalism
attempts and frequent cleanings. “The basin’s elongated design made our washroom spaces more efficient and conducive to better traffic flow.”

In all, the architectural team specified 24 Verge units in several men’s and women’s restrooms near festival entrances and music pavilions. These restrooms feature several banks of Verge stations in one of two earthy colors, Black Sea or Cabo.

Verge’s sleek and elongated design utilizes small proportions including a hidden drain and a minimalist trap cover to conceal plumbing. As with all lavatory systems by Bradley, Verge is designed to cut down on installation time and costs, requiring few connections and parts. Easily accessible and ADA compliant, Verge may be ordered as a single user model, or in 2- or 3-user models.

Verge is made with Bradley’s Evero™ Natural Quartz Material – the only molded natural quartz material available in the industry – which fuses the elegance of quartz with the durability of granite and the luminance of exotic materials.

In addition to its lustrous look, Evero’s non-porous surface does not support microbial growth, and is stain, chemical, scratch and heat resistant. With over 20 color selections inspired by nature, Evero is composed of a bio-based resin made of soy and corn, and is GREENGUARD-certified as a low-emitting material.

“Evero has a beautiful natural stone appearance with little shimmery mineral pieces that catch the eye,” says Gosse. “Between Evero’s durability and the fixture’s streamlined shape,
Verge is very easy for staff to clean and maintain, and doesn’t show dirt easily.”

Eppstein Uhen Architects’ John Krupka, project architect and construction administrator for the project, says he is also impressed with how Verge elevated the restrooms’ design. “Verge evokes a cool modern elegance without feeling cold,” Krupka says. “It has the unique ability to make a restroom feel refined and sophisticated yet comfortable all at the same time.”

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