Urban Archaeology has always been at the vanguard of saving historic architectural elements from destruction and extinction and now it draws its inspiration from its roots in architectural salvage to create new and original products. The company is a leading design resource for new lighting, bath and kitchen furnishings with complementary lines of American artisan tile and mosaics.
In the early 1970s founder, Gil Shapiro, was at the forefront of the nascent salvaging movement; with a collector’s eye and an entrepreneurial spirit he capitalized on the burgeoning home restoration movement and the growing trend in eclectic home décor, re-imagining architectural remnants in the home environment.
In 1978 he opened his first store in SoHo selling restored pieces, and demand quickly outweighed supply. Clients craved pedigree and patina yet wanted it made to their modern specifications—longer, wider, higher and larger. The company’s focus shifted to reproducing individual pieces and creating new and original lines of lighting, bath accessories, bathtubs, washstands, freestanding and wall mounted cabinets. He excelled at bringing a fresh perspective to pieces of historical and architectural importance. The ever growing line of products originated in such places as the Plaza Hotel, New York’s Yale Club and the St. Regis Hotel.
After spending many years collaborating on design projects, his wife, Judith Stockman, a successful NY interior designer, joined the business in 1997 as the Creative Director. That same year the company moved its headquarters to a six story building in Tribeca, NYC, where it now houses a team of craftsmen specializing in all aspects of manufacturing from ironwork, pattern and mold makers to finishers and Underwriter’s Laboratory experts. Urban Archaeology is one of the only surviving manufacturing companies left in downtown Manhattan.
Our customers have a unique opportunity to collaborate with the company’s own team of skilled craftsmen to customize any product from its extensive lighting, bath and tile collections or to create designs suited to any space or creative vision.