STUDIO

McEwen Lighting Studio resides in a 6,000 square-foot, wood-frame building in Berkeley’s industrial Potter Creek neighborhood. The anonymous exterior belies the bustling activity within: a first-floor workshop is ground-zero for production; it’s where a small, close-knit group of talented artisans—among them, die-hard cyclists, microbrew aficionados, and accomplished musicians—skillfully commands hydraulic presses, mills & lathes, glass kilns and other tools of the trade to create MLS’s high-end, made-to-order lighting. Michael McEwen’s design lab, distinguished by its mountains of prototypes and snowdrifts of sketches, is located on the second floor of the warehouse space. By housing the studio’s design, engineering, and production arms under one roof, a constructive interplay among the comrades ensues, enabling not only real-time flexibility, whereby designs and shipping schedules can be fine-tuned without delay, but also lively banter on topics ranging from bicycle building to bitter brews. Often, the spirited repartee and in-house operations transpire to the tune of a melodious guitar or trumpet playing in the background.