The Urban Electric Co. with Hunter Floyd have realized the offices for their lighting design company located in Charleston, South Carolina.
When Dave Dawson and his wife Jennifer founded The Urban Electric & Co., they envisioned creating and fostering a craft community in Charleston to create their bench-made, hand-crafted lights. A little over 16 years and 285 and counting employees later, a community they did make. Just this January, UECo. added 40,000 square feet to their headquarters in the Charleston Naval yard (doubling their already impressive footprint).
In addition to housing the office quarters, the space and host a small showroom as well as a cafe. Walking the shop and office floors feels more like a tech start up than a lighting company; not only are their craftspeople exceptionally young (the majority of them are under 40), but they have a large percentage of women in the company – an uncommon sight in manufacturing.
And in a time when vocational trades have been in steady decline and schools are starting to teach code more than wood shop, Urban has done the opposite by making vocational careers attractive to millennials. The expansion will also bring another 180 jobs. Helming the expansion Dawson, who tasked Hunter Floyd with designing the interiors and the Samet Corporation with the construction.
The common and work spaces are thoughtfully outfitted with minimal but warm furniture, modern art and loads of their beautiful bench-made fixtures. Dawson also employed the 5S method to each department (the increasingly popular management system used by Toyota to drive greater efficiency in the workplace), proving that the burgeoning company values innovation just as much as they do old-school craftsmanship.
Design: The Urban Electric Co. with Hunter Floyd
Design Team: Dave Dawson, Jennifer Dawson, Hunter Floyd, Tim Bazzle, Michael Amato
Photography: Anne Chandler