ART IN LIGHT

by NANCY BALDWIN

A HOME IS A SANCTUARY and nothing illuminates that haven quite like the warm glow of a copper lantern. Its quiet elegance exudes a charm and grace only found in nature. “Copper is a part of nature. It ages gracefully against the elements. It turns into a beautiful piece of art,” says Laura Premak, owner of Coastal Copper in Charleston.

The classic charm of fixed and hanging lanterns hearkens to a simpler time, when natural materials and soft radiance brought neighbors inside for dinner. Today, updated designs and personalized styling attract homeowners with contemporary taste.

Whether a builder, architect or home-owner seeks an elegant, curvilinear shape or a bold, angular style, it can be found at Coastal Copper. Lanterns, chandeliers and turtle lights are offered in a variety of standard sizes, styles and finishes.

“I have a sample of every light to show designers and builders,” Premak says.

For owners and commercial clients seeking a custom design, carefully crafted, bespoke creations provide one-of-a-kind fashion. Handcrafted copper lighting from Coastal Copper offers design elements, finishes and construction other lantern sources cannot match.

“The custom end of it is special. Our coppersmiths bring different ideas to the table. The guys who build my lanterns are incredible,” says Premak.

Custom designs range from starkly modern to traditional Mediterranean and Southern classic. Each is individually tailored to the requirements of the client.

Crafting a personalized design begins with a conversation with the client, who provides house plans, photos or sketches.

“They bring an idea, and we discuss it. We ask, ‘Are you looking for ambience, for task or for safety?’ We ask where the lantern will be mounted. We talk about style,” Premak says.

The client’s inspiration and goals are then discussed among Premak’s team of artisans. Line drawings are created that illustrate the details and scale of the fixture.

“I speak to the factory, and they scale it out on paper. We consider things like the ceiling height and clearance, are there doors nearby, and are there shutters on the house. We get that ironed out,” says Premak.

The drawings are sent to the client for feedback. Based on those comments, the drawings are revised until they meet the customer’s satisfaction.

“We go back and forth until the client likes it. I want it to be exactly what they want it to be. It’s the customer’s vision,” Premak says.

Once the designs are complete, the craftspeople work together to engineer the best construction.

“They communicate about the best way to build it. It’s all of us working together,” says Premak.

The lighting is put in the production queue and lead times are communicated to the client. Lanterns are powered with gas, propane or electric and then sent to shipping. All steps are handled in-house.

Lanterns from Coastal Copper withstand the elements. Each is wet and coastal rated and will hold up against whatever nature offers. Known for their quality and durability, the fixtures are fully sealed on the bottom and have functional hinge doors and sturdy brackets. The copper will beautify over time.

There is no limit to the shape, size or finish that can be customized. Whether a residence or commercial building requires a classic European look in a rustic finish or a dramatic contemporary design in a bright color, the style can be achieved.

“There are multiple ways to make it your own. I like unique pieces. As long as there’s a color in the world, we can match that color,” Premak says.

A recent example is a pendant for a child’s bedroom. Artisans at Coastal Copper crafted a pink star to hang over a girl’s bed.

Should a client or a design require a metal other than copper, stainless steel is available and will be wrapped in copper. Options for glass include clear tempered glass, seedy glass, water glass or “artique” restoration glass. All parts, as well as design and production, are completed in the United States. No two custom lanterns are alike. Individualized finishes, design and accents ensure each one is different.

“Clients have an idea that’s unique to them. We don’t duplicate the same thing over and over. Other sources don’t have the time or resources to do that,” says Premak.

In addition to craftmanship, Coastal Copper prides itself on one-on-one consultations and follow-up. That individualized attention extends to every client relationship and lantern produced by the Coastal Copper team.

“We can bring your inspiration to life. Our attention to detail, quality and customer service are above and beyond,” Premak says. *

Nancy Baldwin is a Dallas freelance journalist, marketing writer and editor of nonfiction books. Contact her at baldwinwriter@gmail.com.