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An Afternoon at the Rejuvenation Factory

Posted by Paige Thomas ~ April 23, 2009

 

Rejuvenation is a household name here in Portland, the company has two retail spaces in Portland and Seattle as well as a factory in Portland. The company produces reproduction period hardware as well as original refurbished pieces.

I don't ever really consider myself an industry insider; I'm more a wide-eyed fan of the design resources I lust after. So, when a member of the Rejuvenation team emailed me and asked if I would like to come in to the factory for a tour and a sit down with the creative team...well, how could I say no?

 

Walking up the spiral staircase of their classic old warehouse made me feel like young Charlie walking up to the gates of chocolate factory in nervous anticipation. What strange and beautiful delights would I find at the top of the staircase?

Well, first I was greeted by a dog...

And then a human, Nicole, who led me around the corner to a light, airy office with glass windows, lots of sunshine, vintage catalogs and the three brains behind product design and development at Rejuvenation.

Sitting down with Tim Wetzel, Tina King and Tony Penca, the Product Managers and Industrial Desinger, I really got to know the process and the vision behind Rejuvenation products.

The trio explained to me, over a stack of vintage lighting catalogs, that for them it's not only about making quality reproductions of past hardware and lighting, it's about creating iconic and emblematic pieces, pieces that make a statement.

 

syracuse-1

(Syracuse Neo-Grec Chandelier)

 

Instead of creating something new, the team focuses on good design from the past and making it affordable and useable for the modern homeowner. They will often look to modern trends and how those trends relate back to the past when considering their next project. Looking though the pages of the catalogs I was quick to see the inspiration, and could easily see much of lighting fitting into both a home looking to emulate the past, or one with more forward thinking modern design.

But it's not just about looks, it's also important to the designers that they consider functionality, customization, and affordability. They strive to maintain a price point that works for homeowners and makes good design accessible to them. Another big idea behind Rejuvenation design is allowing the homeowner the option to make the piece unique to them. Homeowners can basically create their own custom piece by choosing such options as the finish and shade combinations that meet their exact needs.

hand-finish

(Each of these pieces will be hand finished for a homeowner's specific order)

 

Rejuvenation also prides itself on its sustainability efforts. Many of their light fixtures are made so that they use a GU24 energy efficient light bulb, an option that many other manufacturers might not offer. Their factory processes also take sustainability into the utmost consideration. Brooks Nelson, who was able to give me a very informative factory tour after meeting the design team, told me about so many ways the company stays on top of best environmental practices that I lost count.

One unique way they lessen their water runoff is by directing the water to long planter boxes that run along the outside of the building. They also reuse as much of the water in their manufacturing processes as they can, saving many, many gallons of water per year. As a consumer, a company that takes the time to invest in these practices is a strong selling point.

water-recycling

(Water Recylcing System in the Factory)

 

Everyone over at Rejuvenation was friendly and informative. I was so glad to be able to take the time to head over and learn more about their company, and of course, lust after more of their products. I came away with a better appreciation about the story behind the product beyond just how great I think it would look in my dining room.

For all the pictures from my tour check out our Flickr set: Rejuvenation Tour

historic-lighting

(A wall of original historic hardware that will be refurbished and sold)

 

And, there is definitely more beautiful work to come from Rejuvenation. I saw a few prototypes hanging in the factory, I'm hush-hush, but I'll just say that they are very cool.

Thanks again for the Rejuvenation team for taking the time to talk with me!

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