Our Story or How Brighter Found It's Way Into Brightworks
I'm Paul Hoffmann. Brighterworks was founded by me in 2006. Brighterworks founding motivation, I must admit, was originally selfish: to spend more time sailing and less time at the dock maintaining exterior brightwork. A "brighter" idea, no? Demand has now convinced me to share my hedonistic solutions with you, the public.
I was born in Seattle on a boat my father built. Dad was a naval engineer and sailor born and trained in Denmark. He sailed for 27 years as a merchant seaman and during WWll Capt. Hoffmann found himself a man without a country after the Nazi's occupied Denmark. So, he joined the U.S. Army Transport Service and served as a chief engineer dodging German u-boats in the North Atlantic while convoying supplies to England for the allied war effort. While stationed in England Capt. Hoffmann met his bride to be, a naval "Ren" or "Wac" who was involved in the production of the highly secretive zero gravity fly suits for British Air Force fighters. They married during the bombing of London and when the war was over they emmigrated to the U.S. and settled in Seattle. Having sailed all over the world, dad originally came to and fell in love with the waters of Puget Sound in 1938. After the war he decided he had to stay after realizing "it would take at least 10 years of gunk holing each weekend to see everything the Sound had to offer." Here he built our home, a 94' steel ketch he named the "Barcarolle" (from the opera, The Tales of Hoffmann). Like all worthy sailor's projects it was an ongoing passion that I grew up with and shared with dad.
I have made a living as an artist, manufacturer, designer and fabricator, producing for clients such as Microsoft, REI, Columbia Sportswear, Costco and others. But my life has always remained close to the water. Even as a paramedic in Viet Nam my r and rs took me to the water. I now live aboard my 42' Catalina here in the historic Seattle neighborhood of Ballard, just across the way from where I was born. Like many stories, and like the water itself we sailors love so much, I find my story flowing back to it's element and back to the sound principles of boat crafting that I learned at the feet of old Borge, my father. Dad was the most inventive and innovative fabricator and craftsman I've ever known. My natural inclination is toward design, but it was dad who taught me that a design, no matter how good, is futile if it isn't based upon sound structural principles first. From him I also learned the importance of craft and the necessity of knowing your materials which only comes through experience. Finally, he instilled in me the tradesman's tradition of putting function first when it comes to design. Whatever business sense I have comes from my mother.
Creative vision, integrity of design, field experience and the practical execution of such; this is the proud formula I'm proud to hang the Hoffmann name on and this is what I have to offer you. Some of these things I was born with, others I learned along the way. But the basics I learned as a child at my father's feet and that is why I am dedicating my proudest venture yet, Brighterworks, to him. I am constantly and proudly and with him in mind, refining these traits.
4425 SHILSHOLE, SEATTLE, WA. 98107 • 206.762.8300