By June Naylor
The displays will stop you in your tracks. We encourage you to step inside lest you leave a nose print on the shop window.
At night, the view into NuVitrum is magical. Elegant lighting pieces suspended from the ceiling and mounted on walls glisten and glow, burnishing the space with a golden sheen. Passersby stop to gape at the glittering beauty within the windows.
“Even during the day, people on the sidewalk will lean into the glass to stare inside,” shop owner and lighting designer Erik Thompson says, laughing. Co-owner/wife Claudia Thompson adds, “Sometimes we step outside and say, ‘You’re welcome to come on in.’ ”
The locally owned business joins the nationally known home furnishings stores anchoring the north end of The Shops at Clearfork, a burgeoning design district. NuVitrum is an extension of Quatro, the Thompsons’ 14-year-old commercial lighting design business. Rather than a typical showroom, the couple has created an artfully arranged lighting gallery shining bright with modern chandeliers and sconces and a few sleek floor and table lamps, many exclusive to their company. They frequently sell to businesses; the nearby Bachendorf’s jewelry store is adorned with six chandeliers resembling suspended rectangular columns that look as if they are filled with sparkling champagne. But the largest percentage of NuVitrum’s clientele is homeowners seeking midcentury-inspired and ultracontemporary dramatic pieces for residential homes in Fort Worth, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Frisco.
“Fort Worth is in a transitional period, realizing all the possibilities that come with LED lighting,” says Erik of the patrons seeking innovative lighting solutions for their homes. “People are getting away from the traditional, cookie-cutter designs they grew up with. Instead of choosing lights as an afterthought, they’re making a statement with lighting.”
Claudia says that many NuVitrum customers initially seek help with a single room, but a consultation (free of cost) often leads to installations in other rooms. After a visit to the home, she and Erik use computer-aided design to create visual overlays to illustrate scale and the lighting design’s impact on the whole room. “The right lighting gives a place new life,” she says. Before-and-after photos illustrate striking conversions when a kitchen, dining room, foyer or living room showcases a fixture crafted as a piece of art.
Sourcing distinctive pieces at lighting shows in Dallas, Las Vegas, Chicago and elsewhere, the Thompsons have developed a list of go-to designers. Louis Poulsen is a favorite firm from Denmark; from Italy, NuVitrum offers exclusive creations by Terzani. Few stores in the region, other than NuVitrum, offer fixtures by Artemide, also Italian. They’ll soon add Bohemian glass chandeliers from the Czech Republic and Murano glass lighting from the island near Venice to their inventory.
Beyond the chandeliers, sconces and lamps, they sell cleverly conceived specialty items, such as a door-size full-length mirror with a lighted gold frame for the ultimate dressing room. It’s displayed in the showroom, as is a twinkling custom fiber optic star ceiling that includes the illusion of an occasional shooting star — another reason shoppers peeping in the windows of NuVitrum should come inside and enjoy the show
NuVitrum also offers outdoor and landscape lighting, recessed lighting, ceiling fans, custom glass countertops, wall partitions, shelving and doors, with and without LED lights. The Shops at Clearfork, 5119 Marathon Ave., Fort Worth, 817-570-7114, nuvitrum.com.