Urban Electric light fixture

One of The Urban Electric Co.'s vintage light fixtures, called the Kronam, is displayed in the upper great hall at Drayton Hall in Charleston. Urban Electric is spending $10.7 million to expand its North Charleston facility, where artisan light fixtures are designed and manufactured. Provided/The Urban Electric Co.

A designer and manufacturer of artisan lighting fixtures is expanding its North Charleston operations with a $10.7 million investment that will create about 180 jobs.

The Urban Electric Co.'s expansion includes a facility that will serve as a new headquarters and showroom adjacent to the existing campus where custom, made-to-order lighting fixtures inspired by art, fashion, history, architecture and pop culture are produced.

Urban Electric new building

The Urban Electric Co. is spending $10.7 million to open a new showroom and headquarters in this building at the former Navy base in North Charleston. The expansion will create about 180 jobs. Provided/The Urban Electric Co.

"Charleston's creative energy has always been a catalyst for our heirloom-quality lighting designs, but its abundance of talented artisans, innovative entrepreneurial environment and culture of hospitality helps keep our business constantly pushing forward," CEO Dave Dawson said in a written statement.

Urban Electric, located at 2130 N. Hobson Ave., got its start in 2003 when Dawson couldn't find custom lanterns for a house he was renovating in Charleston, so he made his own. It grew from a small workshop making lanterns to a company that now serves an international client base of interior designers and architects in the residential, hospitality and contract sectors. All of the company's lighting fixtures are bench-made and hand-finished at the North Charleston site.

We're starting a weekly newsletter about the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina. Get ahead with us - it's free.

"The work of Urban Electric embodies the heart of the North Charleston workforce — a diverse group of individuals who showcase unparalleled craftsmanship daily," said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey.

The expansion is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_