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Designer Q&A: Vermont Modern

The new line from Hubbardton Forge launched last month. Go behind the scenes with its designer and see what inspires him.

Alison Martin
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Vermont Modern's style drastically differs from the Hubbardton Forge aesthetic.
Vermont Modern's style drastically differs from the Hubbardton Forge aesthetic.

Last January, the Hubbardton Forge showroom toasted the launch of its new brand, Vermont Modern, at Lightovation. The new line brought color and sharp designs to the showroom with unique fixtures that evoked styles all their own.

We caught up with design director David Kitts to hear more about this new line and what inspires him most.

What makes Vermont Modern different from Hubbardton Forge?

DK: In most cases, the product in Vermont Modern is edgier than Hubbardton Forge. This often translates to a more contemporary, trendier look but in some cases, that also meant a product that was simply more fun. This edginess is part of the different attitude that Vermont Modern has compared to Hubbardton Forge. From the bold logo to the use of bright colors and quirky kinetic elements, right out of the gate, Vermont Modern was meant to set itself apart from Hubbardton Forge. 


In your mind, who are the primary buyers/targets for Vermont Modern? How are they different from Hubbardton Forge's buyers?

DK: Our primary buyer for Vermont Modern is someone who not only appreciates modern design, but really values our story of quality and social responsibility that comes with being made in Vermont. The design, scale and lower price points are also targeted, but not limited to, a more youthful audience compared to Hubbardton Forge. I initially thought that many Vermont Modern customers of today would become the Hubbardton Forge customers of tomorrow, however with trends continuing to head toward the more contemporary side, I could also see the reverse occurring. 


Explain how a lighting fixture goes from conception to showroom.

DK: We draw inspiration from a variety of sources – architecture, art, the natural world, even patterns and details from everyday items. We take that idea and translate it in a way we can present to the rest of the design team –  maybe it becomes a paper sketch, computer draft or a small model of foam or some other material. The team talks about the concept, brainstorms and refines. From there, it’s off to engineering and prototyping to work out how to scale-up and recreate the design and create the custom tooling and dies. We make our own molds and dies in-house, with some of the custom tooling taking hundreds of hours to create. When everything is completed, our artisans use a combination of traditional skills and modern technology to create each piece. Everything is handcrafted and made to order with more than 230 people working here in Castleton, VT.  


Do you have a favorite fixture? Which one and why?

DK: I rarely have a favorite fixture but I definitely have favorite details, which I think is what sets Vermont Modern and Hubbardton Forge apart from the competition. Some of my favorite details in Vermont Modern are:


Copernicus Vermont Modern1.       Vermont Maple wooden spheres from a local toymaker on the Copernicus fixtures and task lamp.








Cumulus Vermont Modern2.       The way the Cumulus dining pendant moves when touched is unexpected. 

Stretch Vermont Modern3.       The dramatic glow of the Stretch pendant — it really brings the fixture to life.

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