It's easy to say Hubbardton Forge is “Made in America” and the company's products are “design driven.” Both of those are true, but they don't go quite far enough to describe the true essence of Hubbardton Forge. For that you need to consider the difference between “assembled” in America and “made” in America. You need to understand the difference between factory workers who are simply putting in hours, and engaged employees who have a clear passion for what they do at every step of the process. And finally you need to understand the difference that makes for you as each piece is designed, engineered, produced and supported at every step by an artisan who truly cares.
With design that evolves every year, Hubbardton Forge looks much more contemporary today than it did 15 years ago. However, the brand is still best known for handcrafted unique, decorative lighting that is clean and sculptural with a very transitional targeted aesthetic.
The Forge was founded in 1974 in an old barn in Hubbardton, Vermont, by George Chandler and Reed Hampton. They scavenged New England gathering rusty anvils, 200 year old trip hammers, swage blocks and other discarded tools of the trade. It took 12 years of slow growth until they could hire their first employee. Today Hubbardton Forge employs over 200 people and is one of the country’s largest designers and makers of handcrafted decorative lighting in North America. The Forge is located in Vermont, in Castleton, only a few miles south of the original barn location.
A team of five talented designers creates Hubbardton Forge’s innovative designs: David Kitts, David Martin, Paul Marr-Hilliard, Ori Goldberg and Zach Pyle. The Hubbardton Forge design team has varied technical backgrounds, from metalcrafts to engineering, industrial design to architecture. Each person brings unique a perspective, passion and inspiration, culminating in a single vision of design; however, there is a singular vision carried throughout each piece they design. This vision has not changed since the founding of Hubbardton Forge 41 years ago--that the pride and craftsmanship of every artisan at the Forge is evident in every piece created. It is integrity in design: the pursuit of simple elegance, sculptural beauty, and honesty of materials.
“I wanted to design for Hubbardton Forge because I didn’t want to design landfill," said David Kitts, Director of Design. "I wanted to be a part of a team and culture that created heirloom quality, American-made product that would be cherished by the consumer for many years, not something that would be replaced in the following year for the next passing trend. Designing product that tells a greater story, that elicits an emotional response is not only our goal, but our design philosophy.”
The Forge also realizes its responsibility to the environment. The company is one of the first and few companies in the U.S. to clean their products using bioremediation. In this innovative, closed-cycle system, microbes eat the soils and oils from the wash solution used prior to powder-coating their products, resulting in minimal biodegradable, phosphate-free waste disposal. As a result, the Forge has won six Vermont Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence.
These sustainability practices may not be an obvious “feature/benefit”, but they are an integral part Hubbardton Forge's story. There’s a long list of environmentally friendly things the company has done over the years, not for marketing value or because of government edict. They were done simply because they were the right thing to do. This is a story about the Hubbardton Forge commitment to American craftsmanship and manufacturing.