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Meet Lukas, one of Niche's glass-blowers! Read his employee spotlight to learn more about his role at Niche and what he enjoys doing in his spare time.


What drew you to Niche?

After graduating from the glass program at Temple University, I began looking for jobs that allowed me to continue to grow my skill set as an artist and glass-maker. Niche was a great fit for me because I enjoy the challenge of perfecting a handmade process to make something flawless.


As one of the glass blowers at Niche, what does your day-to-day look like?

To make our designs, every step from production to our customer’s doorstep must go perfectly. As a member of the production team, we control the beginning of this process. On a production day, I work as the “starter.” My job entails gathering glass from the furnace, blowing a small bubble in it, and stretching a thin layer of color over it to give each piece the right look. Then I pass each start to the next member of the team, who will work to give the glass its final form.


Tell us a little about your background as a glass-blower. What made you pursue that path?

Before I found glass, I worked as a metalsmith, designing jewelry and working in a bronze casting foundry. When I found glass-blowing at my college, however, I was enchanted. The ephemeral nature of molten glass and the skill and teamwork it takes to coax the material into its intended shape drew me in and kept me coming back for more.


Before you came to work at Niche what kind of glass pieces were you making? Do you find time to create outside of Niche?

Prior to working at Niche, I was making artwork revolving around science and modern alchemy. To me, glass is this amazing material that undergoes a radical transformation as it cools. Inspired by this, I experimented with ways to capture other transformations in the world around us, like steel rusting away in water, the optic effects of glass, and the effects of electromagnetic fields around us.

 

Check out Lukas's video on his art work entitled Mobile Alchemy Research Station (M.A.R.S).

He has also worked on the Corning Museum Glass Barge, where the art of glass blowing went mobile up the Hudson River and across the state of New York on the Erie Canal, from Brooklyn to Buffalo.



What is your favorite spot in the Hudson Valley? Why?

My favorite place I’ve found in the Hudson Valley is a small isle on the Hudson River called Bannerman’s Island. I like to sit nearby and watch the ships and tugboats go by. The island is home to the ruins of a once magnificent castle built to house ammunition and military surplus during times of peace. If you’re lucky, you can still catch the castle’s façade peeking through the mists on a train ride from New York City to Beacon.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy hiking, vegetarian cooking, and doing DIY projects around the house. A long-term goal of mine is to build my own art studio and home to house my creations.


What is your favorite Niche pendant shape and color combination? Why? Is you favorite Niche design also your favorite to make? Why?

My favorite pendant light is probably the Crystal Pod. With clean, clear glass, there isn’t anything to hide defects, so we must pay extra attention to how we work. These lights are also fun to make, because they get a hand finished element we lovingly refer to as “the tuck,” making each light slightly unique.


What elements and objects in the design world inspire you the most?

My favorite designs highlight quality materials, and the processes used to create them. Many objects in the modern era try to disguise one material as another or hide the way they were made. I think that choosing quality material for a project and showcasing the hands of the maker can give a design a life and history all its own.

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A wealth management company with headquarters in San Francisco underwent a complete transformation thanks to Studio Munroe and Jennifer Tulley. It now features both private and public spaces for staffers to concentrate and collaborate how they see fit.

In a conference room, a cluster of Trove pendants in Gray glass hangs above a long meeting table. Unique to the Crystalline Series, the Trove pendant light merges defined angles with bold colors. Here, our Gray glass complements the industrial aesthetic, with exposed brick, metal, and plumbing elements in plain sight.

We're excited to share this project with you, especially because our Trove pendant is July's "Shape of the Month." Are you interested in recreating this look? You can now do so, even if you're on a tight budget. Our Rose, Tulip, Clementine, and Chartreuse lights are now 50% off, but only while supplies last.

Modern Office Lighting Project Details

Project Name Jackson Square Office III

Location San Francisco, California

Interior Designer Studio Munroe

Architect Jennifer Tulley

Construction Cairn Construction

Photographer Thomas Kuoh

Products Used Trove pendants in Gray glass

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In honor of Independence Day, we'd like to take a moment to talk about the importance of supporting U.S. made products. At Niche, we take pride in the fact that behind every handmade pendant light is a team of talented, detail oriented, and patient designers, artists, and technicians. Every single glass pendant light that comes from Niche is made, not manufactured by a staff who is committed to delivering our signature products with the highest standards in mind. 

We are proud that every aspect of the Niche brand is created in-house. Designing and producing in our Beacon, NY studio gives us the ability to ensure that the highest quality product seamlessly reaches you. 

 

Our glass studio and office are housed in a gorgeously renovated 20,000-square-foot, 100-year-old foundry building in Beacon, New York. With a prospering art, and design community conveniently located in the heart of the Hudson Valley along the scenic Hudson River, Beacon gives us all the inspiration we could want when it comes to creating new glass pieces for you.

We'd like to thank everyone who has supported our handmade process throughout the years. Without you, we wouldn't be able to continue carrying on the beautiful tradition of glass-blowing in the United States.

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To celebrate Independence Day and the importance of supporting handmade products in the USA, we've just announced a Flash Sale! For a limited time, we're discounting some of our most popular pendant lights for you. From now until July 7, you can take 40% off our Pharos pendant lights. Just use the code FLASH40PHA at checkout!

Paying homage to ancient towers of light, the Pharos pendant is sleek enough to stand on its own and simple enough to shine in tightly grouped bouquets. Shopping multiples? Try hanging a tight cluster of four, six, or nine of these hand-crafted silhouettes from a Pack Canopy. If you're on a tight budget, shop our Circular-3 or Circular-5 Brushed Stainless Multi-Pendant Canopy for 50% off their original price.

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Last month we featured Niche's signature Bell Jar and Bella pendants. This month, we are featuring the angular Trove pendant. Available in several classic and bold color options, this light can be hung on its own, clustered in multiples, or paired with the three other complementary shapes in the Crystalline Series to create stunning visual arrangements in any setting.


Unique to the Crystalline Series, the Trove pendant light merges defined angles with bold colors, pairing seamlessly with the Delinea, Axia, and Calla pendants that also comprise the Crystalline Series. Like all of our pendants at Niche, the Trove is handmade with great care in Beacon, New York.


While supplies last, select colors of all Crystalline Shapes, including Rose, Tulip, Clementine & Chartreuse are 50% Off. Get these colors soon because once they're gone, they're gone!

Want to learn more about this pendant? Get the inspirational Crystalline Series Product Guide for pendant specifications and installation ideas. With it, you'll receive the tear sheet and CAD models to help you design your next space.

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Be Original Americas is a campaign devoted to educating and influencing design professionals and manufacturers on the economic and ethical value of authentic design while protecting and investing in its future. Niche is a proud member, joining the fight with over 100 well-known and respected brands.

Be Original Americas is hosting a Design Fellowship. Over the course of seven weeks, this year's fellows, Nino Chambers and Claire Lin, have the opportunity to learn about all facets of creating innovative, high-quality products through hands-on, in-the-field learning. For two days last week, they spent time at Niche's headquarters and fully immersed themselves in our design operation.


About NINO

Nino is originally from the South and goes to school in Alabama, where he studies architecture. We got to chat with him about his interest in the Be Original Fellowship and his experience at Niche. 

 

What made you decide to apply for the Be Original Fellowship?

I actually found out about the Be Original Americas Fellowship from an Instagram advertisement. After researching the program, I was very intrigued in the comprehensive knowledge I would gain as a fellow. I wanted to be part of the fellowship because being able to visit and speak with so many industry professionals is a once in a lifetime experience that would be hard to accomplish alone.

 

What was your favorite part of exploring the inner workings at Niche?

My favorite part of exploring Niche was speaking candidly with the CEO & Creative Director, Jermey Pyles. His vision and passion for the business are very apparent. To then see the whole process from start to finish and the execution of his vision was extremely insightful and educational.

 

What is something you learned about glass-blowing that you didn't know before coming to Niche?

My take away from the visit at Niche is that glass-blowing is a "team sport" and it takes multiple hands and people working in sync to finish a product.

 

You can continue to follow Nino's journey on Instagram at @ninochambers.


About CLAIRE

Claire is originally from Southern California and is studying Engineering in Rhode Island. Keep reading to learn about her take-aways from her time at Niche.

 

What made you decide to apply for the Be Original Fellowship?

The Be Original Fellowship focuses on the promotion and protection of original design with a focus on the furniture and fixtures industry. I have always been frustrated with the environmental and social impacts of low-quality knock-offs, but I wanted to explore the craftsmanship and thought behind original design to understand what makes these products timeless and high in value. The fellowship has allowed me to experience first hand the significance of original design through exposure to so many people and practices within the field. 

 

What was your favorite part of exploring the inner workings at Niche?

I loved understanding how to operate a small business and to be efficient around challenging circumstances when they come up. Through our visit at Niche, I was able to understand how these glass-blown products seamlessly flow from the Hot and Cold shop to the client-base. Every person and role is integral to the company’s growth and success. 

 

What is something you learned about glass-blowing that you didn't know before coming to Niche?

I have always seen glass-blowing as an art, but I never saw it as a science! Through the production team, I understood how glass has so many unique properties. The chemistry and material science behind glass-blowing is also really interesting to me — such as how color in glass is created by the addition of heavy metals.

 

You can continue to follow Claire's journey on Instagram at @clairelinn.

 

Their Time at Niche

Day 1 - Nino and Claire had a busy first day at Niche. When they arrived, they were met with a tour of our facilities. Afterwards, they went straight to the Hot Shop to assist with production. They then went to the Cold Shop, where they assisted in procedures such as drilling and hot popping, seeing the glass through to completion. And what would be a trip to Niche without a stop in the warehouse? Nino and Claire were able to see our extensive quality control process before the lights were packaged and shipped off to their new homes.

Day 2 - Nino and Claire returned for another full day, which started with a lesson from Zach, who works in Product Development. The fellows were able to see the design process from start to finish, from a designer sketch to a CAD model to a mold-making. Afterwards, they returned to the Hot Shop, where they jumped in the mold pit and got more hands-on experience with the production team. Then they were off to the marketing department to photograph the glass-blowing process and edit images for Instagram. Lastly, they stopped by to see our Sales team to learn about online ordering and shipping. 

Nino and Claire were naturals at Niche, and we wish they could have stayed longer. But they both have plenty more to learn in the design world. Best of luck, and come back soon!

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This modern rustic farmhouse nestled in the mountains of Colorado belongs to interior designer Julie Roitman of Studio XO. With her design expertise, Roitman knew she wanted her family home to be filled with light and to draw inspiration from the natural surroundings. 

The result is an 8,700-square-foot oasis that sits on the 18th hole of the Tom Fazio Course, overlooking stunning views of the land. It features exterior elements like stone walls that help bridge the gap between the indoors and outdoors. For additional brightness, handmade Niche pendants illuminate the cozy-yet-chic interior.

 

A trio of Bell Jar pendants in Crystal glass hangs above the eat-in island. Celebrating iconic design, the Bell Jar casts glorious beams of light that are as warm as they are welcoming. The pendants hang from individual junction boxes, and our Crystal glass complements the earth tones featured throughout the space, especially in the natural elements of reclaimed wood and stone walls.

Designers, architects, business & homeowners use Niche lighting in homes and hospitality projects across the globe, and we're always excited to see the final result. Send us your project information and awe-inspiring images for a chance to be featured on our blog and social media pages

Modern Kitchen Lighting Project Details

Project Name Modern Rustic Farmhouse

Location Red Sky Ranch, Colorado

Interior Design Studio XO

Builder Woodstone Homes

Photographer Kimberly Gavin

Products Used Bell Jar pendants in Crystal glass

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It is our pleasure to introduce the latest addition to Niche's hand-blown pendant line: the Encalmo. Created by implementing the Venetian technique of fusing two separate entities of glass into one single piece, the Encalmo Grand and Petite celebrates inspired, sensual design. The Encalmo is available in both pendant and sconce form in our Gray-Crystal color combination.

Every Encalmo silhouette is handmade by a team of talented glass artisans in our state-of-the-art Hot Shop. Learn more about our glass-blowing process to see how this stunning shape comes to life.

 

 

1. BLOCKING

The gaffer shapes the molten glass in a wet block, which is typically made of cherry wood, creating a cushion of steam that helps the bubble move smoothly and take shape. After, two Hot Shop members each create a cup, working together throughout the process to make sure they are the same size and width. This make take several tries to perfect before moving on to the next stage. 

2. Encalmo

This step is where our pendant gets its name. Two pieces of glass that have been carefully worked by our Hot-Shop team are fused together to create a single silhouette.

3. MOLD BLOWING

Next, the gaffer will inflate the rounded mass of glass in the mold, a technique that is called mold blowing. The gather expands within the wooden frame and eventually takes the shape of the Encalmo pendant.

4. WRAPPING

A wrap, or a small gather of glass on an additional pipe, is used to stop cracks from traveling through the pendant. This technique will ensure that when the gaffer removes the glass from the blowpipe, it will not splinter and jeopardize the quality of the final product. A Hot Shop member then suits up with heat-resistant gear and holds the glass as it cracks off the pipe. Then it is "boxed," or put into the annealer to be gradually cooled and cold-worked. The final (and most exciting) step is packing and shipping the Encalmo pendants for their new home.

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With help from Studio Snaidero, a home in Arlington, Virginia underwent an incredible transformation. Take a tour of this spectacular home and see all of the rooms illuminated by Niche lighting.

 

Two Stamen pendants in Gray glass hang above the eat-in kitchen island. The first design that inspired Niche, the Stamen pendant boasts a voluptuous body that tucks into itself unexpectedly. Our Gray glass complements the Fossil Oak featured throughout the space, especially on the island's inset.

In one of four bathrooms, two Pharos pendants in Crystal glass create symmetry on either side of a vanity. The Crystal glass complements the room's clean white aesthetic. Another bathroom also features our handmade Pharos pendant, which pays homage to ancient towers of light. A single silhouette in Gray glass adorns one side of a mirror, adding a touch of ambient light to this tranquil space.

A third bathroom features a similar design, with a single pendant placed to one side of the sink. Here, a Calla pendant in Crystal glass complements the glossy white appearance. Unique to the Crystalline Series, the Calla pendant adds a softness to the grouping with its delicate frame. Interested in recreating this look? Select pendants from this series, which you can find here, are now 50% off.

Whether you're a designer, architect, homeowner, or business owner, we would love to see how you incorporate Niche lighting in your projectsSend us your project information and awe-inspiring images for a chance to be featured on our blog and social media pages.

Modern Kitchen Lighting Project Details

Project Name Arlington Modern - Way

Location Arlington, VA

Interior Design Studio Snaidero

Photographer Jennifer Hughes

Products Used Stamen pendants in Gray glass, Pharos pendants in Crystal glass, Pharos pendant in Gray glass, Calla pendant in Crystal glass

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We would like to wish a Happy Father's Day to all the incredible men who have enlightened us throughout the years. We appreciate your caring and thoughtful nature, today and every day.

At Niche, heart is at the center of everything we do. Our talented glass artisans craft products with the same love and care they have been taught by their mentors. They make each glass piece with quality, precision, and passion — every step of the way.

This year, we asked our team to share the invaluable lessons they have learned from their fathers. Here's what they had to say:


Samantha

My dad has taught me the importance of a work-life balance. When it's time to work, put all your effort into that, but don't forget to take time for yourself and do what makes you happy.


Jeremy

By teaching through example - actions versus words. If my dad said he was going to do something, he would do it. There were no empty promises.


Shannon

He has always taught me to be independent and to know how to do things on my own.


Brandy

My father is self-sufficient and taught me to be the same. He can build a house and fish for his “supper." He is completely at ease living off the grid. He showed me that life is about owning what you do and not relying on others or outside things to make you happy.

Samantha

I think we both tend to lean towards human in our every day interactions, always keeping things light-hearted and carefree when possible. 


Jeremy

We both tend to remain cool under pressure. He’s my role model and sets the bar high.


Shannon

We both like to travel and visit new places.


Brandy

My dad taught me to be happy with what you have and to not ask for what you don’t. Neither of us base our success on materialistic things, but more on life experiences and time we have outdoors (mostly on the water - I grew up on the shores of Lake Erie).

    Samantha

Pappa Spoto has perfectly-timed jokes, no matter how corny they are. I've learned that at the end of the day, it's important to be able to laugh at yourself. 


Jeremy

To be patient, remain calm, keep your composure, and to have compassion.


Shannon

To not take life too seriously. I hope to pass on a great sense of humor to my kids.


Brandy

I have learned how to cook! My favorite time with my dad was near the grill or the fish fryer. Our family meals are something I have carried on with my children. I'm grateful for the abundance that the earth provides.

 

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