LET THERE BE LIGHT

BY CHASE WADE

When Malena Gutierrez of Solara Iron Doors & Lighting recalls the first lighting order the Dallas manufacturer fulfilled, she can only help but laugh.

At the time, Solara was quickly making a name for itself as one of the country’s premier manufacturers of custom-made iron doors. However, when customer after customer bemoaned the challenge of finding the perfect lighting to complement their new doors, Solara saw an opportunity for growth.

“Our first custom light fixture was this huge, heavy piece that was almost impossible to move from one place to another,” Gutierrez says, stretching her arms as far as she can to estimate the fixture’s size. “We were coming from the world of doors, so lighting was completely new for us at the time. I’m happy to say that we’ve learned a lot since then.”

It’s been more than a decade since Solara’s entry into the world of custom lighting, and in that time the manufacturer has established itself as the industry’s top offering for truly one-of-a-kind lighting solutions.

The design process at Solara begins with you and your ideas. From thought-out sketches from interior designers to 18th-century Parisian street market finds, Solara takes any and all inspiration into consideration when crafting its final product.

In need of some inspiration of your own? Simply visit Solara’s Design District showroom. There you’ll find traditional wrought-iron chandeliers rubbing shoulders with cutting-edge, contemporary outdoor lighting.

“Every piece that leaves our warehouse is different from the next,” Gutierrez says. “Because we’re not a cookie-cutter manufacturer, there’s a lot that we can do that others can’t. We love to look at sketches and ideas and figure out how to bring them to life.”

The design team at Solara insists that a product’s function is just as important as its form. That’s precisely why the manufacturer has developed a reputation for innovation when it comes to the inner workings of its light fixtures. Most notably, Solora was one of the industry’s first manufacturers to offer exterior gas lights that have an electronic gas ignition and safety valve all inside an integrated back plate, resulting in a safer and more efficient product.

“Exterior lighting is what a lot of people know us for,” Gutierrez says. “We really took the hassle out of owning gaspowered lighting and created a product that manages to bring an old-world look into the 21st century.”

Aside from adorning the homes of Highland Park and Preston Hollow, Solara has created quite the footprint in the commercial lighting space as well. Many of the iron sconces at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas, are the work of Solara. The intricate doors and lights that welcome you into Hotel Zaza in Uptown Dallas? Solara crafted those, too. The list of notable commercial properties is a cross-country tour, with stops in California, New York City and points between.

“We’ve been really lucky to work with some of the most talented designers in the country on a number of exciting commercial projects,” Gutierrez says. “Hotels, restaurants, storefronts. We’ve done a little bit of everything.”

As projects come in from across the country—and occasionally, across the globe—it’s safe to say that Solara Iron Doors & Lighting has gone global. However, the manufacturer still retains the quality and craftsmanship of its artisanal beginnings.

“We’re really proud of the work we do at Solara,” Gutierrez says. “We’ve always got one or two projects that really push our products to the next level, either through their design or function.”

Gutierrez could be referencing the two-story lighting post that recently grazed the ceiling of Solara’s warehouse. Or perhaps she’s talking about the dozens of ethereal fixtures waiting to be installed in a pristine Preston Hollow home. Either way, it’s abundantly clear: The future of Solara Iron Doors & Lighting is nothing but bright.

Chase Wade is a Texas-based freelance writer. Read more of his work at chasewadewrites.com.