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Friday Five with Dave Dawson
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A few years ago, we had the pleasure of touring Urban Electric Co., seeing firsthand just how incredible the company is and the care and passion they put into each light fixture they produce, which happens to all happen in-house. The man behind the magic is Dave Dawson, who after earning a law degree from The College of William and Mary, went on to practice environmental litigation in North Carolina. That led him across the country to San Francisco to become an executive at an internet start-up before he landed on the idea of developing a concept that focuses on American-made, high-quality lighting in 2002. The U.S. had seen a major decline in original design being produced in America, which drove Dawson to launch Urban Electric Co., all of which are handcrafted by American craftsmen in Charleston, South Carolina. The company continues to grow having become a leader in design-focused lighting with Dawson at the helm. This week, he shares some of his favorite things for Friday Five.

1. Tiny drinking establishments
There is something very special about having a drink at a tiny bar. Small bar spaces are so charming whether they are highly designed or casual dive bars. Either way, they have a ton of character. Some of my favorite little spots around the world include the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London and Specs Twelve Adler Museum Café in San Francisco.

Photo courtesy The Modern Historic

Photo courtesy The Modern Historic

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2. Milo Baughman
Milo Baughman is hands down one of my favorite furniture designers of any era. His approachable designs were ahead of their time and he had a knack for scale and proportion.

Photo by Dave Dawson

Photo by Dave Dawson

3. Baseball (specifically Yankees baseball)
As a rabid and lifelong Yankees fan, I try to take my boys to spring training in Tampa every year. Baseball is a beautiful, elegant sport and one of my favorite American traditions. Proud to share it with my sons.

Photo by Dave Dawson

Photo by Dave Dawson

4. Wanna Buy A Watch
Wanna Buy A Watch is a fantastic vintage shop in Los Angeles that opened in the 1980s and is still known worldwide for its highly curated collection of vintage pocket watches and wristwatches. I love watches of all kinds and am particularly attracted to those from the late 1960s and early 1970s. This shop’s approachable selection is addictive – I’ve bought a number of pieces from them but perhaps my favorite was this American-made Hamilton Fountainbleu from the 1960s.

Photo by Dave Dawson

Photo by Dave Dawson

5. Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve
I love a good Bourbon and this rare, limited edition reserve is particularly special to me since I had the opportunity to meet some of the Van Winkle family and give them a tour of the Urban Electric Co. factory when they were looking at some of our lights for a family home. I’m proud to know that our lights are in their home and I’m holding on to three, autographed bottles of family reserve – one for me and one dedicated to each of my son’s.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.