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Behind the Design: Vela and Carina by Hennepin Made

Behind the Design: Hennepin Made

Based in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota (on Hennepin Avenue no less!) – Jackson Schwartz and Joe Limpert have been working their made-in-the-USA glass magic since 2011. Meet their latest additions to their pendant lighting collection: Vela and Carina.

Written by Megan Morgan

The artists behind Hennepin Made, Jackson Schwartz and Joe Limpert, have been working their made-in-the-USA glass magic since 2011. The impressive and successful launch of their Parallel series has now led them to release their newest additions to the family: The Vela Pendant and the Carina Pendant.

Hennepin Made’s previous collections have focused on pieces that were substantial in size, meant to work beautifully alone or in large groupings. Vela and Carina are more on the petite side, but retain the same finishing touches, colors, quality and artistic depth that we have come to know and love about Hennepin Made pieces.

We caught up with co-founder and maker Jackson Schwartz to delve a little deeper into the design of Vela and Carina—two designs available exclusively at Lumens.

Vela and Carina Pendant by Hennepin Made

Hennepin Made’s latest introductions, the Vela Pendant (the longer, acorn-like shape) and the Carina Pendant.

There is an organic feeling to both Vela and Carina— acorns come to mind especially with Vela— what drew you to these shapes?

Prior to the launch of these two pendants, all of the Parallel collection designs had an opening at the bottom of the light. We were wanting a continuous contour and fully enclosed shape. Glass is a fluid material and a super cooled liquid, meaning, it never stops flowing! So our thought process was focused on the fluid shapes and enclosed vessels.

What inspired you to go smaller and bring mini pendants into your line?

There were two core concepts that we started with. First, with the increase of urban living and having space constraints, we wanted to produce pendants that could fit the scale of these environments.

Second, we were looking to introduce pendants that would scale well with clusters and multi-light installation to create larger compositions.

Where else do you find inspiration for your designs?

Inspiration is always a moving target for us. Sometimes it comes from the process of working with material. Other times it comes from an exploration of what light is. There is always the dialogue of materiality and environment that propels our curiosity.

What do you think people love about your designs?

We strive to create designs that have an integrity to materials and that can be flexible to fit different environments. Our hope is that people recognize the effort put in to create these refined designs with quality craftsmanship.

Carina and Vela Pendants available in 6 glass colors

The Carina Pendant (top) and Vela Pendant (bottom) are each available in 6 glass colors. Each Hennepin Made fixture is crafted by hand in Schwartz and Limpert’s Minneapolis studio.

Vela and Carina were over a year in development and process. What was it like to bring a new design to fruition?

We are committed to keeping handmade processes in our designs and it takes time to problem-solve these processes for production. We typically have to build in tolerances since each piece varies just slightly. There are several iterations that we go through on the design which take into account the technical challenges that come up as well as aesthetic concerns. We want each piece to have the unique attributes of being made by hand while maintaining the consistency of a repeatable product.

If you could drop everything and travel to anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be?

We are interested in Scandinavia. There are some amazing glass and design companies there and both these domains have been part of their culture for a long time. Interestingly, there is also a rich Scandinavian heritage right here in Minnesota, which is something we feel shapes our culture, as well.

So, when you’re not in the glass studio this summer —what will you be doing in Minnesota?

We love the summer in Minneapolis! We will be enjoying the lakes, having BBQ's and riding motorcycles.

What’s next for you in terms of your design and business?

We will be launching some more new designs in late 2016 or early 2017 and expanding into some other lighting categories. This fall we will be purchasing a new facility and moving our operation into a 30,000 square-foot building located on the edge of downtown Minneapolis. This will provide new capacity for our growth and be able to outfit additional space for design and prototyping as we grow our business.

Watch Hennepin Made in action: