For more than 40 years, Hilliard has crafted, luxury artisan lighting. The company specializes in bespoke fixtures for residential and hospitality projects.
So how did this company come to be? Shortly after meeting in art class at Humboldt State University in 1974, Noel Hilliard and Janene Anderson Hilliard discovered that they had both previously created custom lamps. Their newfound relationship led to crafting collaborative lighting and was the spark for the company that would carry their name. Not long after, in 1975, their shared passion for creating functional art was born into Lamps by Hilliard. Today the Hilliard design heritage continues with their son Samuel as president and creative director.
The company has come a long way since the days when Noel and Janene crafted lamps out of their garage. Currently, their team of professionally skilled craftspeople manufacture each piece in their specialized bronze foundry and glass studio in Arcata, California. Each signed and numbered fixture is of heirloom quality. Their pieces can be found in showrooms and design centers across the country and in Toronto.
Samuel Hilliard shares, “We’re always exploring the limits of what you can do with glass and bronze. Our design philosophy is to match our materials lifespan, to create timeless designs.” He prides his company for being one of the few lamp manufacturers to still make everything themselves, by hand. Hilliards line has themes ranging from sleek contemporary to rustic traditional, yet the heritage line may be best known for creating the iconic glass tile lamps.
“Our process is extremely labor intensive” Samuel adds. It involves cutting small shapes of glass out of a large sheet, firing the pieces in a kiln to round out the edges, wrapping each piece in copper foil, soldering the pieces together, and then soldering that onto a caste bronze frame. As of 2018, the Hilliards have made more than 8,500 unique lamps since their start. Says Noel, “It makes me laugh. I can’t believe how many lamps we built.”