WHEN TALENTED PROFESSIONALS TALK, WE LISTEN.
Admit it, you have an inquiring mind, and you want to know about the team designing your Park City dream home. We understand the inclination. so we decided to bring you Shop Talk, conversations with the talented pros designing, building, outfitting your homes and those who offer options for work spaces outside your home.
Levi Wilson, Founder & VP Design
Hammerton is a decorative lighting manufacturer with extensive design and fabrication capabilities in artisan glass, metalwork, and other handcrafted materials. What began with two young men in a Salt Lake City garage in 1995 now employs a team of over 140 and is widely recognized for its world-class expertise in custom lighting design, engineering, and manufacturing
One of those two founders was Levi Wilson, who is now the company’s chief design officer, and that garage has grown into a 50,000-square-foot facility where metalwork artisans and glass blowers work alongside industrial engineers, machinists, paint technicians, and assembly teams
Wilson aptly named the company after what he intended to produce and convey. “Hammers are used in every trade, from watchmakers to blacksmiths, and ‘ton’ is a village or town,” he explains. “Hammerton was a great name for
a group of artisans applying their crafts.”
What put Hammerton on the map?
The ski industry boom of the 1990s, when we designed big, hand-forged steel fixtures for luxury homes and resorts in mountain towns like Deer Valley, Vail, and Aspen. But the business has changed dramatically since then. Today, many of our products incorporate blown and cast glass, and our designs lean contemporary and modern. And our cus-tomer base is global.
What does your business look like today?
The business includes both custom and catalog lighting across two brands and a wide range of styles. Our Hammerton Signature brand includes highly customizable, made-to-order products sold through design professionals. Our Hammerton Studio brand offers a more accessibly priced, quicker ship line of contemporary products. Both brands showcase the company’s artisan heritage and craft-based expertise across many materials.
What is your primary inspiration?
Nature. It’s the foundation of great design. Our most popular designs juxtapose organic and geometric elements, both of which are firmly rooted in nature.
Do you have a favorite design material?
We’re best known for our work at the intersection of metal and glass. Our expertise in metal actually allows us to do unusual work in glass, since we make all our glass jigs and tooling in-house. Our hot shop fabricates about 8,000 pounds of blown and cast glass weekly.
What’s a typical day at Hammerton?
There’s no such thing as a ‘typical day’ at Hammerton. Much of what we create involves custom design and a complex set of unique requirements. All of our operations are under one roof here in Salt Lake City, so it’s a busy place.
How long does it take to birth custom fixtures?
A lot less time than you might think. Industrial designers and engineers represent about 20% of Hammerton’s workforce, so we have serious horsepower supporting our custom work. Most custom jobs ship in 8-10 weeks, although lead times are a little longer right now because our business has grown dramatically in the past year.
How many orders are being worked on simultaneously?
Hundreds, literally. In addition to standard production, our engineering team processes somewhere between 100-150 custom quotes each week.
What is a memorable project you’ve done in Park City?
Several years ago, we built and installed a trio of ski gondolas in a client’s backyard overlooking the three (now two!) ski resorts. More recently we completed the massive blown glass fixture suspended in the lobby of the St. Regis. We’ve done hundreds of projects in Park City over the years.
What is the most challenging project Hammerton has completed?
A 7,000-pound, 24-foot-diameter chandelier featuring five asymmetrical LED-illuminated rings for an upscale shopping mall outside of Washington D.C. The chandelier surrounded a large floor-to-ceiling pillar, so it had to be designed in several pie-shaped pieces in order to ship and bolt together seamlessly onsite.
Where can people see Hammerton lights?
Wasatch Lighting, Elume, and Poison Creek Furniture & Design in Park City. We also regularly tour designer and homeowner clients through our Salt Lake City facility, which is fascinating to see.
Mike Kerby, President; Josh Kaze, Sr Project Mgr; Russ Davis, Sr Project Mgr
Big-D Signature is a nationally prominent construction management company providing fanatical craftsmanship and design-build services in mountain communities, focusing on resort and private estate builds.
Mike joined Big-D Construction in 2015 to re-establish the Big-D Resort and Residence Division, with Josh and Russ as Senior Project Managers. With our base office in Park City and sister offices in Jackson, Wyoming, and now Bozeman, Montana, our project landscape knows no bounds with builds all over the U.S. and an emphasis on giving back to the communities where we work.
What geographic area do you serve?
Russ: Big-D Signature is anywhere in the majestic Rocky Mountains that you visualize your dream project being built. Specifically, we work in any resort community in the western mountain region with a special emphasis on Park City, Jackson, Sun Valley, Bozeman, and the surrounding areas.
What project(s) are you most excited about right now?
MIKE: We are really excited about all our projects. Signature Park City is especially proud of Brad Olch’s home in The Colony, the Kings Crown development, and the multiple residential projects with Storied Development at Tuhaye. The people we work with make such a large difference as far as day-to-day job satisfaction and we have been fortunate to have great partners.
Tell us about your process.
Josh: Although Big-D Signature is a subsidiary of Big-D Construction, we borrow on the processes of our parent company. Processes, coupled with the staff that can execute those processes, is what allows Big-D Commercial to build billion-dollar projects, like the Salt Lake City Airport, and finish on time and below budget. We realize that residential single-family residences present a very different situation than large commercial projects, but the goals are the same. We approach every project with the aim to have the client, architect, designer, and contractor working together as one team, with two goals in mind—ensuring that the client is getting value for their project and executing the project on time, on schedule, and on budget. In our opinion, the earlier in the project that the team comes together, the better the outcome of the project will be. We assist homeowners as early as the potential lot selection and acquisitions to provide feedback on constructability and cautions of potential cost implications of site conditions.
Our pre-construction process further ensures that the project is set up for success and our job is to give clients timely and accurate feedback related to the budget and schedule. This allows everyone to make the best decision for the project; it’s about empowering and informing the clients so they can make the best decisions. Another advantage of the pre-construction service is the value engineering we can offer in the design. It is not uncommon to save hundreds of thousands of dollars for the client as we go through the pre-construction phase.
Our construction process is all managed through a software called Procore; homeowners have access to schedules, budgets, and submittals throughout the project. At least one hour a week is dedicated for one-on-one time with the client, architect, and designer. Project managers are dedicated to each project and can be reached by clients at any time to discuss issues or questions. Homeowners should always feel confident that their project is under control and nothing is slipping through the cracks.
One would think that the relationship ends after the keys are handed over, but our commitment and standard is to address any issues well after the warranty is over and stand behind our work. The result is a 98.9% referral rate.
What is the difference between good and great construction?
Mike: Teamwork, consistent processes, and passion for each project are the differences between good construction and great construction. When you have synergy between the owner, the architect, the designer, and the construction team that is the difference between great construction and fanatical construction. Every member of our Big-D Signature team has a passion for what they do, and it shows in the results. Communication is vital to an exceptional construction process. We realize that without this process and plan, good communication becomes an attempt, not a result. We focus on quality estimates, accurate schedules, nailing all the details, and working with great trade partners.
Once all those elements are in place, we work with our great trade partners to create a legacy project. For over 53 years, we have developed longstanding relationships with our trade partners who are great at their crafts, honest, stable, and always willing to stand behind their work. We are very grateful to the amazing trade workers, who show up to our jobsites every day and produce the best products that can be found. At Big-D Signature we are very proud of the strong relationships we have developed, and we believe it provides us an edge on the competition.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Russ: Solving problems. Every project is different with its own unique challenges. While they can certainly be frustrating, it is a very rewarding feeling to face an issue head on and work through it with an outstanding group of seasoned and up-and-coming professionals to solve the problem. These “problems” have led to some of the most unique and distinctive features of past projects.
If you weren’t in construction, what would you be doing?
Josh: My hobby outside of work is building furniture; the motivation to build came six years ago when I walked into a small furniture shop in Hawaii. The owner of the shop described scavenging, buying, and stealing wood from all over the island to build beautiful, contemporary furniture. I started acquiring a few hardwood logs and then I started buying a few tools; before too long I was operating a sawmill and had thousands of board feet of lumber stacked up. It escalated rather quickly. I love the creative process, especially when I can utilize salvaged wood from local sources to provide custom pieces for people’s homes and lives.
What places in the world do you find most inspirational?
MIKE: I’ve always been interested in history, so I find inspiration anywhere where history has been preserved. I really appreciate the talent and effort needed from the architects and designers we work with. Capturing a timeless design and creating something new and unique that will last for generations is
a true talent.
What do you enjoy most about living and working where you do?
RUSS: Working in Park City and Salt Lake City is nice because you are close to endless recreational activities. It is not a far drive to get to a trail or the lake; there are still plenty of dirt roads to explore. As people come here and experience the mountains, they are more likely to be aware of the inherent importance of natural areas. It is impossible for me to work in this area and not be routinely reminded of the beauty around us.