The Y team recently took a trip over to Salt Lake City to go behind the scenes with Hammerton, the American lighting manufacturer behind the Hammerton Studio brand. Hammerton lighting incorporates everything from extensive metal design to artisan glass to the most forward-thinking technology.
Seeing Hammerton’s work come to life drew a whole new level of appreciation for the final design. Building these fixtures—from a clean and modern wall sconce to a completely custom chandelier—is not unlike a choreographed dance.
Artisans in glass blowing, metal fabrication, finish, design, and engineering play a key role in making each and every light fixture to order. It’s safe to say that there’s a lot of magic happening here.
First, Hammerton Studio in Salt Lake City is the epicenter of the Hammerton Studio brand. Everything is made, assembled and shipped right from this factory nestled within the surrounding Utah peaks.
Let’s take a little visual tour of the many corners of Hammerton’s Salt Lake City factory:
Molds on molds—precision is ultra-important to all Hammerton Studio designs, so the assortment of molds available ensures that each fixture can be made to a customer’s specifications.
Here in the powder coating shop, Scott likes to say he “brings fixtures to life” through the seemingly magic process of powder coating. Unlike painting, powder coating is a dry process whereby the part to be finished is first electrically grounded, and then sprayed with a gun that adds a positive charge to the powder, forcing it to stick to the negatively charged fixture. The powder coated part is then heated in a kiln to cure and form an impervious and exceedingly handsome finish.
Hammerton has its own team of glass blowing artisans, who design and create the glasswork for many of its lighting fixtures. Seeing this group in action was incredible. They’re wildly in sync, moving about the room between various pieces of equipment without missing a beat to get the timing just right for every part of the process.
Here, the team works on pieces for the Coppa design. The glass team uses up to five pounds of molten glass to create each shade—the thickness of the glass wall can vary, which in turn creates variations in the shadow and color put out by the light.
Hammerton even builds its own wood molds for blown glass from raw cherry wood.
In the warm glass shop, the Hammerton team creates all of the textured glass shades and diffusers used in their lighting designs. Heating glass in a kiln (above) creates different fusions, shapes and other visual elements—but doing so requires a high level of precision. At the high temperature of the kiln, it’s easy for glass to change composition, so the firing schedule is incredibly important to achieve the right aesthetic in the final piece. You can see the final result here in the Rimelight glass, used in several Hammerton Studio designs:
Along with the glass shops, the metal fabrication shop is integral to the heart and soul of Hammerton’s operations. Every kerf, cutting, grind, weld, texture and tolerance is evaluated during the fabrication process, resulting in remarkable detail and quality that can be seen in each fixture. That is thanks, in part, to co-founder Levi Wilson’s “10-inch rule,” a guiding principle for all Hammerton designs; it requires each fixture to easily withstand a visual inspection for precision and perfection from less than a foot away.
The mesh used in several Hammerton Studio collections isn’t manufactured in the factory. But the team sources authentic industrial woven steel mesh material and gives it new life in modern lighting styles like the Downtown Mesh collection:
A laser machine cuts a sheet of metal to custom specifications.
Specified orders await their turn in the queue. Each piece moves one step at a time through the factory, which allows for near endless customization possibilities.
A group of shades from the Hammerton Studio Gem collection await their assembly.
No, they aren’t new fangled prefab homes—these monstrous shipping crates ensure every Hammerton design is packed securely to make it to its final destination.
Thanks for hosting us, Hammerton team!
Sarah is a Brand Marketing Manager for YDesign Group brands. A writer and editor at heart, she loves storytelling in all its forms and is a copious consumer of the Internet (for better or worse). In design, she finds inspiration in simplicity, warmth and all things Danish.