To prevent the spread of germs and disease in our pandemic-altered world, hand hygiene has become a prime concern, leading architects and designers to reimagine spaces to meet new, stricter standards for cleanliness.
Driving these standards are forward-thinking companies concerned for their employees, customers and visitors. Take the example of Chicago-based LG Development, a real estate development firm focused on high-end residential and commercial properties.
“Particularly in our multi-unit buildings, we see so much foot traffic in lobbies, which have so many high-touch surfaces like door handles, tables, mailboxes, desks and so on,” said Matt Wilke, the chief operating officer. “Our company believes strongly in creating healthy lifestyles, and having healthy buildings is key to that goal.”
Over the course of the pandemic, the company saw the implementation of hand sanitizer bottles throughout their existing properties by respective management companies but encountered the problems so common in hand hygiene — plastic pump bottles that squirted too much or too little or automatic dispensers that never could quite detect when a person’s hand was underneath.
“The experience proved far from ideal and also required a lot of employee attention to constantly refill or replace bottles and clean up the mess always left behind,” Wilke said.
The company turned to Vaask in late 2021 to provide a permanent solution for its new boutique 28-unit building in the heart of River North at 61 West Erie. With its recessed wall-mounted design, Vaask is a permanent fixture in spaces, symbolizing the importance now placed on hand hygiene. A superior solution at every level, Vaask boasts an award-winning design, offers nearly twice the sanitizer as typical dispensers and uses the PalmPilot® hand sensor to eliminate messes. An LED panel beckons users and offers automated low-level alerts so you never run out of sanitizer.
LG Development’s Lead Designer Melody McLeod said Vaask’s permanent nature solved a constant problem for the company’s high-end properties.
“We put a great deal of time and effort into our building design, but inevitably, the first item a visitor would see is an ugly plastic hand sanitizer bottle on a desk,” McLeod said. “Vaask blends right in with our sophisticated, modern interiors and makes cleaning your hands quite the experience instead of an afterthought.
The custom white powder coating on the faceplate of the Vaask fixture is located by the boutique building’s entry door, across from the mailboxes — a rather high-touch point area.
“People have remarked constantly since its installation, and we’re excited to add it to our future properties and retrofit our existing spaces.” She was also keen on Vaask’s sanitizer refill options — the company offers on-demand refills for its luxurious, herbal scents that have no harsh chemicals.
Vaask CEO Jon Olsen personally traveled to Chicago to install the system on Nov. 9, which was the first for his Austin-based company.
“It’s companies like LG Development — those that appreciate and practice sophisticated design — that led me to develop Vaask,” Olsen said. “We all recognize that a good design experience encourages people to use a product, and hand sanitizer has never been more important than it is today.”
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