Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Passion for Craft

I am currently working on a project with the folks at Authentic Designs. They are a small company that produces exquisite bench-made lighting. From their humble facility located in a former toothpick mill in West Rupert, Vermont, they craft reproduction and interpretive fixtures that can be seen all over the world.

Michael Krauss and Maria Peragine

Michael Krauss and Maria Peragine

Owners, Michael Krauss and Maria Peragine, are largely responsible for the family culture that embodies everything they do. Maria’s quiet but strong business acumen is well complimented by Michael’s ebullient enthusiasm for his trade. Michael is a second generation lighting manufacturer. His father, Danny, grew the business from a personal need for period lighting, and opened his first shop on 61st Street and Lexington in New York City. Danny passed on to his son and daughter-in-law a passion that is palpable.

Hearing Michael talk about the process, he could just as well be choreographing a dance. Words like turning, spinning and flaring are common to the language of his trade, and he imparts them with enthusiasm. When discussing a new idea, his eyes light up and he immediately visualizes the process for bringing it to fruition.

Michael Turning a Wood Chandelier Column

Michael Turning a Wood Chandelier Column

Soldering a Copper Hood

Soldering a Copper Hood

A tour of their shop is a sensory workout. The showroom is bedecked with hundreds of glimmering lights, housed in warmly burnished metals and hand-blown glass. Every piece tells a story of the hands that made it. Step into the workroom and watch the craftsmen cutting and soldering copper, assembling components, carefully running wires and fine-tuning and balancing the fixtures.

Striping on a Paint Lathe

Striping on a Paint Lathe

In an age where consumerism runs rampant, and mass-production is the norm, it’s exciting to find a bastion of craft, where the principals of good design come together with integrity of both physical and moral grounds. Check them out at http://authenticdesigns.com/