collection stories | cobre lighting

Long transfixed by copper as a material and inspired by the form of Mexico’s traditional copper cooking pots — cazos de cobre — we followed the path to their origin, the town of Santa Clara de Cobre in the Mexican state of Michoacán.
Santa Clara de Cobre is one of Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos —towns around the country that have been bestowed a special designation celebrating their rich cultural heritage — where copper art has been practiced since pre-Colombian times. For many centuries, the area was the exclusive producer of cazos, large cooking cauldrons which are a mainstay in Mexican kitchens, traditionally used to make a range of foods, from carnitas to cajeta.
In conceiving our Cobre Collection, we forged a partnership with Sergio, a fourth generation coppersmith. With an eye to letting the process inform the designs, we worked with Sergio to develop a language of shapes.
In the workshop, Sergio forms each piece freehand, using no soldering, casting, or molds — just fire and basic tools to coax the copper into form. Each piece is then further defined by the meticulous hammering of thousands of individual strokes which leave soft, distinctive imprints showing the hand of the maker.
Finishes also appear in the fire. To achieve our ‘smoke’ finish, the hand-hammered copper form is held inside wood-fire flames, and meticulously turned over and over. The resin from the wood sap, cut from local pines, produces a dark smoke that carbonizes the copper to a perfect black matte. Part alchemy, part artistry.