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Custom Lighting

April 29, 2009

Custom lighting is so much fun to make. First, it provides an intellectual challenge to change the proportions of a standard fixture and modify its bead structure. Our design team flexes their mathematical brains with problems in solid geometry, leaving me to admire their mental dexterity. Lately our clients have engaged these skills by specifying both giant chandeliers and teeny ones, leaving many special drawings and CADs in their wake.

Second, the chandeliers are beautiful to behold. The poet John Keats was absolutely correct when he wrote:

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases;

it will never Pass into nothingness;

The smaller in scale one goes, the less room the human hand has for maneuvering to do its work. Let me show you in our smallest standard Sancerre Lantern, which measures 19″ diameter x 26″ high. This photo on the right shows you how little room the beaders have in which to string their crystals. The process takes much time, patience, and attention to detail, so that the right graduated bead is always inserted at the right place. If the beads aren’t just right, then the entire 10 hour process must start all over again.


The final result makes all this labor worthwhile.


This week we’ve miniaturized a Biarritz Pendant to a mere 19″ diameter x 10″ high. Normally our smaller sized one is about a third larger at 30″ diameter by 22″ high.


We also reduced an Italian Chandelier to 18″ diameter x 23″ high, about 30% smaller than our typical small version which also features a simple strand of beads swagging from arm to arm.


My guess is that these small fixtures will hang in a foyer, a closet, or a bathroom.

At the other side of the size dimension, we are also crating a giant Avignon Chandelier. It measures 70″ in diameter by 75″ high with 24 lights, finished in Antique White, and will hang with matching sconces in a great room in a house in New York or Connecticut.

We’re always careful when we pack our products, and these big ones are a special delight. Basically we must make this Avignon its own room-size crate, in which the chandelier hangs from a central beam and then will be surrounded by packing material. Then the crate gets enclosed and reinforced with a lumber shell resting on its own wooden pallet.


As a final step, we always also remind everybody that Niermann Weeks’ products are proudly made in America by Americans earning a living wage and working in decent surroundings. Our employees also get health care benefits. Joe and I have always loved our flag, but 9/11 made our patriotism even more important to us.


Copyright 2009 Niermann Weeks Company. All rights reserved.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 3, 2009 12:32 pm

    Dear Eleanor,

    Are you Joe’s daughter? When you guys lived in Memphis Joe made several things for me and my friends, Susan Wunderlich, Linda Kay McCloy, et al. I know he has two daughters, but you/they were youngsters then! Isn’t the world a funny place. I am now in Palm Beach FL, still run my own design firm and have a client Emmy Haney who has purchased bunches of beauties from you all! I have been designing and building my own home with my architect husband for the past three years. We are ready for lighting and though I have some of your pieces from 20 years ago I want some of you latest designs, more transitional. I told Emmy that you could design and make what she needed and she said “Oh that would cost a fortune!” I said I did not think so. She needs narrow, 5 – 6″ wide in most places. So, for both of us, can you tweek things for not a lot of money!? I need to get back to her soon, she is on a mission to buy all her lighting and she has 19 bathrooms! Finally, a big HELLO to Joe!

    Connie L Hill cell 561-629-3410

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