Out of all brands of unique lighting products we feature on ArtisanCraftedLighting.com, one brand particularly stands out. Hammerton, based in Salt Lake City, UT, is known for its contemporary light fixtures, many of which feature various forms of artisan glass. Since its founding in 1995, the company has been creating impressive works of artisan lighting for discerning homeowners and luxury hospitality brands around the globe. Today, the company includes three brands – Hammerton, Hammerton Studio and Lightspann. Custom designs make up a large part of their projects.
We recently had a chance to talk with Levi Wilson, one of the original founders of Hammerton who, as the Vice President of Design, overviews all design and new product development at the company. Here’s what Levi shared with us about his creative process.
ACL: Why did you choose glass as one of the primary materials you use in your craft?
LW: Hammerton is known for pushing the boundaries of lighting design, and that requires continuously broadening our palette of design elements — materials, shape, form, composition, space, texture, etc. As you know, glass is the ultimate artistic canvas — it incorporates light, color, texture and form in a single medium that captivates the senses like no other. It’s a very broad platform for design innovation.
ACL: How long have you been working with glass?
LW: Glass has always played a role in many of our designs, but in 2011 we jumped into the medium with both feet when we bought the Lightspann brand, which is best known for its sculptural light fixtures in all forms of artisan glass. Today, we work in blown, kiln-fired, fused and cast glass with a broad selection of options – different shapes, wraps, edge details, textures, etc.
ACL: Where do you draw your inspiration?
LW: Art, architecture, fashion, culture and the natural world. We’re unmistakably an American brand, but our sphere of inspirational influence is global. I travel a lot! We also listen to our customers and pay close attention to trends in a number of industries.
ACL: What percentage of your work is custom designed? How involved is the client?
LW: Well over half of our volume involves some element of custom work. That includes everything from modified catalog product (i.e. catalog fixtures that are scaled to a custom size or that incorporate customer specified materials) to complete custom. The “client” (which often includes multiple project team members – homeowner, interior and/or lighting designer, architect, contractor, owner’s representative, etc.) is always very involved – it’s a requirement. Clients regularly fly into Salt Lake City to work with our design team and tour our facility, which helps them fully understand the breadth of our capabilities and stimulates ideas.
ACL: How do you maintain the quality consistency?
LW: I evaluate the quality of our work based on 3 considerations:
- Perfect scale and proportion. It’s an inherently critical, yet often overlooked element of design. Not only does it apply to the design of a fixture, but also to how a fixture fits in its intended space.
- Balancing aesthetics and function. Why sacrifice one for the other? This principle was a key motivator behind the development of our Hammerton Studio brand – promoting functional solutions that can extend beautiful design and materials throughout the home without breaking the budget.
- Having an element of surprise or delight, however bold or subtle it may be.
And, of course, all of our creations must conform to the ‘Hammerton 10 Inch Rule’ – they have to satisfy a discerning eye from virtually any distance, even from less than a foot away.
ACL: What is your favorite piece from your product line?
LW: One of the most interesting products we’ve created is a series of beautiful textured glass drums sold under the Hammerton Studio brand, which is a dealer-exclusive line we recently introduced. As you probably know, there are very few glass drums on the market because they’re not easy to do well. Glass panels have a tendency to rack in the kiln, which makes it very difficult to line up the panels in a seamless drum shape. The key is obviously in the product design, which for us is just as important as the aesthetics. After all, even the most beautifully crafted materials lose their visual impact when the fixture design is flawed.
Our textured glass drums come in 4 handcrafted textures — Rimelight, Granite, Strata and Lattice. The Rimelight textured glass comes in 3 glass colors — Frosted, Citrine and Marine. Retail prices on 24″ – 30″ diameter drum chandeliers range from $1,995-2,250, which is great value for the money. Pendants and sconces are also available in the same glass textures and colors. Of course, like all our products, they’re crafted by our team of talented artisans in our Salt Lake City facility.
Thank you Levi for talking to us about your creative process and inspiration! We hope that Hammerton will continue to impress us with new beautiful handcrafted lighting products.
In the future, we plan to share more interviews with other talented glass artisans that ArtisanCraftedLighting.com works with, so stay tuned!