We are pleased to announce our private label partnership with Workstead, the wildly popular line of lighting which originated in Brooklyn, NY and which will now be manufactured by our team in Charleston. Clients can now expect the same level of quality, craftsmanship and unparalleled lifetime guarantee that come along with any fixture from The Urban Electric Co. Get to know a bit more about Worstead’s founders, Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler below. To learn more about the line visit www.workstead.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Tell us about how/why you began designing lighting? What was the 1st fixture design? What was the project?
We began to design lighting out of an organic need we stumbled across in our own home. At the time, we were living on the parlor floor of a brownstone in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and we had a very grand dining room. The existing junction box was not centered above the dining table, so we created the first ‘Workstead Chandelier’ as a minimal and linear expression of a chandelier in that room and, importantly, as a flexible piece that could re-center itself above the dining table. The asymmetrical nature of that first fixture, and its ability to function and be flexible over time, led to the development of our Industrial Collection.
2. How would you describe the Workstead look/client?
The Workstead approach is about utility, but also luxury. We have a real interest in pairing substantial, high-quality materials, with utilitarian and modern forms. Having two studios (one in Charleston, and one in Brooklyn), our client base is very diverse. Our clients range from first-time home buyers in Brooklyn, to high-end celebrities, boutique hotels, and up-start salons. We enjoy working on projects that run the gamut in both personality and scope. Having both a product and studio-based firm has also enabled us to cross pollinate; sometimes we design a fixture for an interior we are working on, and sometimes an interior informs the basis for a new collection.
3. How did you first hear about Urban Electric?
We first heard about Urban Electric through friends in Charleston, who had huge respect for the company’s philosophy and approach to manufacturing. After taking our first tour, we were sold!
4. Can you tell us a little bit about how the partnership with UECo. came about? Why did you decide to partner with UECo.?
Our partnership with UECo has been so critical to our evolution as a design studio. While our foundation was built on Brooklyn-based manufacturing, we were looking for a long-term solution that would ensure the highest possible quality level for our designs. Manufacturing in NYC has it’s obvious challenges in terms of long-term feasibility and consistency. American Made is very important to us, and our partnership with UECo. brings an infrastructure to the table that will provide a lasting foundation, for both our current and future collections.
5. How did you make your decision to move from Brooklyn to Charleston and open Workstead South?
Robert grew up in the South, and actually attended Undergrad in South Carolina before meeting Stefanie at the Rhode Island School of Design. We spent several years traveling back and forth between Brooklyn and Charleston, after initially falling in love with the city during a stay at the Wentworth Mansion. In the Fall of 2014, we hosted a pop-up shop on Spring Street, which included a series of chef-centered dinners where we were introduced to many in the creative community in Charleston. A year later, we began work on the interior design of the Dewberry, Charleston’s newest 5-star hotel, which is slated to open this Spring. Eventually, the back-and-forth became so frequent that we ended up buying a home in Charleston and opening up a studio. Today, we call both Charleston and New York home.
6. How do you like living in Charleston? What do you like most? What do you miss the most about Brooklyn?
We love the climate, culture, and the momentum of the creative community here. Charleston is one of several Southern cities that is currently experiencing a lot of growth, and it’s exciting to be a part of that change.