Urban Electric lighting

The Course of Color: UECo and the Evolution of Color with Michael Amato

Creative Director Michael Amato reflects on the evolution and impact of the Urban Electric Co.’s color matching program, and shares a few personal lessons learned along the way.

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Color has always been important to our work, and I take it very personally. As an element, we incorporated color into our fixtures from the very beginning. What we didn’t realize at the time, however, was that our obsession with color would drive us to create an industry-leading color matching service.

Hamilton shown in hewn brass finish with Benjamin Moore #1315 Poppy interior finish and SH-129C-WHT.
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Color is foundational. It’s about making lights part of the overall design of a space, about making them blend in. I realized this with ceilings, where fixtures often stick out. I love a monochromatic palette, and I knew intrinsically that I wanted to be able to match the color of a light to the ceiling. It’s the way to make the fixture blend in and become part of the context of a space, which adds the right kind of impact (especially in, say, a minimalist environment).

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Color, as an accent, can dominate in the best way. That was the intention when we created the Cosy. For awhile, people loved the colors we created for fixtures so much that they didn’t experiment with new palettes and combinations. With the Cosy, that changed. That was one of the first pieces that people started to get creative with and apply their own takes on the color.

Puck shown in polished nickel finish with Farrow & Ball #271 Brassica accents and shade SH-110C-PT (Farrow & Ball #271 Brassica). Interiors by Jen Langston.

Color is everywhere. Color is all about contrast. Color is all about pattern. Color is about visualizing a space through your own lens, and determining how the palette of your light fixture reflects the palette of your room. Through color matching, our lights create environments as much as they enhance and illuminate them.

Pop shown in polished brass finish with custom wallpaper inset and a Ferrowatt clear bulb. Interiors by Jen Langston.
Chelsea shown in Farrow & Ball #93 Studio Green paint selection finish with heirloom accents and clear glass. Interiors by Maresca & Associates.

Cosy shown in polished brass finish with RAL #59/20043 Neon Yellow accents and clear glass. Photography by Nathan Schroder.

Color has always meant more than just finishes for us. Materials matter, too, and we view them as Part 2 of color. Consider the Chisholm Hall fixture, the first design we ever took to market. I pulled the original color from a pattern, and it has become a signature for us. Glass, too. I have these old lamps that had a blue glass that inspired me, and our access to and ability to create colored glass made that material the next step in adding color to a fixture.

Chisholm Hall shown in shown in Benjamin Moore #HC-143 Wythe Blue paint selection finish with polished nickel accents and clear glass. Interiors by Jenny Keenan.
Virginia shown in hewn brass finish with hewn brass accents and milk glass. Interiors by Ellen Kavanaugh.

Color has made us limitless. A long time ago, we started with table lamps. We decided we could start painting the shades, customizing patterns for shades and we brought all of that out to the marketplace, which was exciting. Then, we kept adding more, developing more, figuring out new ways to give our clients options through color. The idea is to make our fixtures your own, and adding color and the capabilities to match it created the opportunities for limitless possibilities.

Audley shown (hard-wired) shown in antique brass finish with Benjamin Moore #HC-159 Philipsburg Blue accents and shade SH-148E-PT(Benjamin Moore #HC-159 Philipsburg Blue). Interiors by Wade Design. Photography by Raquel Langworthy.
Rex Table V.2 shown in hewn brass finish with hewn brass accents and shade SH-151X-COM. Interiors by Cortney Bishop.
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Color is still our future, and the future is bright. When it comes to our color matching program, I continue to think, Bigger and Better. Controlling more through innovation, pushing harder than ever before. We are developing our own paint-mixing capabilities, which means we are going to be able to match not just thousands of shades the way we can now, but literally any color in the spectrum. It all goes back to being limitless.

Ready to bring your color palette vision to life? Explore our color program here.