While out and about one day, Atlanta residents Thomas Brown and Zach Dutton spied a hanging light fixture resembling a spiky sea urchin or cosmic supernova. They were intrigued. Brown, an engineer, and Dutton, a designer, thought: Let’s make one. They put their prototype on Etsy, and it sold within 24 hours. So they made another. And another.
In 2013, they quit their jobs, moved to Dutton’s mom’s basement in Lakeville, and launched Dutton Brown Design. Buoyed by their success selling their original creations online, they recently opened a manufacturing facility and showroom in Northeast Minneapolis. Here visitors (by appointment) can see three collections of handcrafted chandeliers: “Urchin,” “Sputnik,” and “Globe.”
Inspired by the constellations, molecular structures, and orbiting objects in the sky, the duo tries to create lighting “that wows us.” They are also committed to designing and fabricating original, high-end, attainable pieces, Brown says. “As an engineer, I know how light works, and the ways in which a chandelier can change a space.” Adds Dutton, “We also know how expensive statement lighting can be and that it can be manufactured for less without sacrificing quality.”
Dutton Brown Design offers “Sputnik” in custom colors and allows customers to order lighting in a variety of finishes and sizes. Next year, Dutton and Brown will add a fourth collection, “which looks like constellations in the sky and also like a DNA pattern,” Dutton says.
The two are thrilled with their growing success. “We feel very fortunate to have started a business that we enjoy so much, that allows us to be happy,” Brown says. “We’re living the dream.”
For more information, visit duttonbrown.com
By Camille LeFevre
Photo by David J. Turner