The Practical Magic of PVD

When we speak with a new architectural practice, the difficulty of specifying high quality restroom fixtures and accessories in a coordinated finish is a consistent pain point. Finding one that also works with today’s clean aesthetic - like matte black - renders that search near impossible. But The Splash Lab product line was built with architects in mind, so when faced with this question, we turned to the pioneering science of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) to develop our popular black, brass, and copper finishes.

Why PVD?

  • Thin Putting a bulky case on an iPhone obscures its characteristic slenderness and curved corners. In the same way, more commonly used coatings added too much dimension to our products, altering the precise shapes and beautiful ratios at work in our designs. PVD colorization happens within the existing metal, allowing the curves to speak for themselves.
  • Durable The titanium ions in PVD coating actually increase the hardness of the fixture itself, giving the products a much higher damage resistance.
  • Kind As a future-oriented brand, TSL embraces sustainable technology. PVD is environmentally friendly as there are no toxic byproducts of the vacuum process, unlike powder coating or electro-plating.

Art + Science

Described by experts as “part art, part science,” the PVD process is carried out in a high-vacuum chamber heated to between 300°F and 930°F. Objects to be coated are cleaned using an acid-based process called passivation that prevents rusting, then secured in the vacuum-deposition chamber. Dual rotating action ensures that each item is coated evenly as the vapor is released. Like a recipe, every PVD color is the result of a specific mixture of metals vaporized in the chamber at precise pressure to create the desired look. The resulting “coating” is more like a transformation; the metallic depositions mix precise ratios of titanium, aluminum, nitrogen, zirconium and carbon gas that bond directly with the outermost molecules of the substrate. Because of this change at the ionic level, PVD products like TSL’s Radius Collection are scratch-resistant in a way many colorized fixtures cannot claim to be.


PVD coating is used in a wide variety of applications, from the everyday (drill bits) to the aerospace and automotive-parts industry, and in flashier applications like jewelry, timepieces, and firearms. PVD also offers a non-reactive means by which to achieve the look of luxury metals like brass or copper that is uniquely suited to the high-touch world of the restroom. Because it will never patina, TSL’s brass line retains the look of luxury even after years of use in a busy restaurant or museum. The images on this page are from Bottles wine bar in London, which has installed a full suite of matching accessories and fixtures from TSL. The richness of the metal complements their distinguished design and adds flashes of luxury to the moody interior. In addition to the Radius Collection, our popular three-fixture systems The Ribbon and The Channel, are available in our full range of PVD colors to ensure coordination even in high-traffic projects, like airports and stadiums.  

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