By Kait Waterman, with additional reporting by Matt Moment
The former IBM call center in Kingston just got a glow-up. This fall, independent lighting and design company RBW opened the doors to RBW Factory, the company’s new headquarters and design space. With a keen vision for the future of design, RBW taps into Kingston’s history of manufacturing—and the Hudson Valley’s predilection for innovation and creativity.
Kingston’s consistent growth as a community put the city on RBW’s radar. The company anticipates that our region—with its abundance of outdoor activities, local food culture, and general high quality of life for its residents—will galvanize creative immersion as RBW expands. Additionally, “Kingston’s history of traditional manufacturing provides a fertile foundation for the innovation-driven industry, which made it an immediate fit for RBW’s new chapter,” says Theo Richardson, Director of Innovation. While RBW will maintain a showroom in lower Manhattan, this expansion allows the company “to employ a holistic approach to manufacturing and consolidate operations in one facility” 80 miles north.
Architect Neil Logan and the Kingston-based firm Dutton Architecture strove to make the headquarters feel like home; the open floor plan encourages collaboration while demonstrating an emphasis on light and air throughout the design, manufacturing, and delivery process. Moreover, the 100,000-sq-ft space has been transformed to complement the surrounding landscape.
RBW is internationally lauded for its luminaires—which are customizable to the last detail—with clientele ranging from European restaurants to Fortune 500 company offices. “We’ve long been inspired by some of Europe’s most visionary manufacturing campuses that reflect a thoughtful and holistic approach to planning a company’s footprint,” says Alex Williams, Director of Growth at the company. “The new facility will create a space where our operations, our people, and the brand can flourish.”
In cooperation with the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability/Research i4.0 pilot program for manufacturers in the state, RBW will expand its capabilities via “development, digital floor automation, and intelligence.” Notably, this program will “attract top talent and make way for RBW to become a leader in automation and data exchange in manufacturing.” If all goes according to plan, the company could become a leader in cutting-edge technology in the near future.
RBW’s customers can shop for popular lighting styles, which range from sconces—a take on traditional candle holders, mounted to the wall with ornamental brackets—to assorted pendants. What’s more, they can choose the color temperature, power, and glass finish of their preferred styles.
The doors to the new RBW facility opened on Halloween 2022, marking the beginning of what is sure to be a bright spot for the company and its new hometown in the Hudson Valley. “We’re placing innovation at the forefront of all our projects and letting that mindset lead us,” says RBW Managing Partner Charles Brill. “We plan to be on the frontier of it all.”