This week, we're shining a spotlight on Hammerton Lighting. Hammerton was founded by Levi Wilson, who is also the VP of Design. They are the leading US custom residential lighting designer and manufacturer, and they also offer a broad selection of quick ship, made-to-order designs in artisan glass and metalwork sold under their Hammerton Studio brand. Read highlights from our interview with Levi to learn more about Hammerton.
Let’s start out with learning a bit more about your company. What makes it unique?
Hammerton is, first and foremost, a custom lighting manufacturer. Well over 50% of our day-to-day production involves custom work, ranging from one-of $100,000+ signature chandeliers to higher volume runs of sub-$200 corridor sconces. We fabricate more than a ton of blown glass each week, which gives you a sense of the scale of our business.
In addition to our broad manufacturing capabilities, we are a design and engineering powerhouse. About 20% of our employees are industrial designers and engineers, and we currently process between 100 and 150 custom quotes weekly.
Our definition of ‘custom’ goes well beyond what you’d expect. We routinely modify existing designs in scale, size, scale, shape, dimension and materials, and we also create one-of a-kind designs that accommodate unique customer requirements. Basic modifications that many lighting manufacturers categorize as custom - like changes in overall fixture height, finishes, or material options - are business-as-usual at Hammerton.
One hundred percent of our operations take place in our 50,000 sq ft facility located in Salt Lake City, UT. This includes design, engineering, sales, service and manufacturing, including all metal and glass fabrication. Having all operations under one roof allows us to provide a superior customer experience with end-to-end project management and faster turnaround times for our customers. Most custom orders ship in 6 to 8 weeks.
What is a favorite piece in your collection that designers might not know about?
The new Blossom Ring chandelier, sold under our Hammerton Studio brand, has been very well received since its January 2019 introduction. Featuring a familiar modern hand-polished steel ring adorned with surprisingly unique ‘blossoms’ of hand blown glass, the Blossom ring maximizes the design impact of juxtaposing geometric and organic forms. Each one-of-a-kind Blossom glass shade is visually intriguing, but when grouped in multiples they evoke a sculptural effect that’s quite captivating. Our Blossom shades are each illuminated with integrated LED, so they take the place of traditional bulbs while elevating the artisan quality of the fixture. We’ve seen this new design used in a variety of spaces, from transitional sitting rooms to contemporary entryways.
Can you tell us about your creative process? How do you come up with new designs and products?
I gain inspiration from a variety of places including jewelry, nature, and traveling. I work closely with our product development and engineering teams to keep our “ears to the ground”, so to speak, so Hammerton can respond quickly to industry trends.
Is there anything that inspires you more when creating?
The natural world is not just organic in inspiration. Mother Nature has plenty of examples of geometric shapes and designs, like the hexagon which can be found in honeycomb, snowflakes and turtle shells. Nature is central to both fluid and rigid forms, hence why it’s so paramount to my inspiration.
Tell us more about yourself? How did you get started in this business?
I grew up around my dad’s ornamental iron fabrication shop, so I was naturally drawn to metalwork wherever I went. I studied architecture and ornamental design in college and traveled extensively throughout Europe afterward, photographing hundreds of iconic structures. The match was struck shortly after that trip, when I pulled up the Timberline Lodge in Oregon and saw an equally impressive yet wildly different approach to ornamental design. Inspiration for my earliest designs drew directly from those experiences.
What is your favorite part about the manufacturing industry?
Leveraging our engineering and fabrication capabilities across a wide range of materials and technologies in order to solve challenging design problems. It’s what we do all day long, every day.