Nestled in a quiet design district of Atlanta, Lighting Loft is not only a go-to source for European contemporary lighting, but also does a thriving business manufacturing its own architectural lighting for custom residential & commercial installations.
Seven years of service as an electrical engineer in the Israeli Navy prepared Yaacov Golan for a lighting career in the private sector and ignited a lifelong passion for the industry. After handling the lighting design for such noteworthy projects as the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Golan emigrated to the U.S. with his wife and son and opened two successful lighting showrooms in the San Francisco Bay area. When an opportunity arose in 1999 to join a lighting manufacturer in Georgia, Golan relocated the family to the East Coast. The deal didn’t go through, but Golan and his family decided to put down roots in Atlanta, establishing a showroom called C Lighting that became a destination for designers, specifiers, and consumers seeking ultra-contemporary European styles for 19 years.
When the company moved to its current location on Miami Circle – widely lauded as a key design community within the tony Buckhead section of Atlanta – Golan continued his focus on high-style contemporary lighting, but changed the showroom name to Lighting Loft, reserving the C Lighting name (which had become synonymous with quality design) for his own brand of recessed cans, trims, and LED-powered fixtures. Under a partnership with a bulb manufacturer, the showroom also carries a C Lighting brand of bulbs. In addition, the C Lighting Pro Line of fixtures is now being distributed and repped nationwide; however, expansion of its manufacturing capabilities is something that Golan prefers to grow slowly.
“We’re a hybrid store,” explains Director/Trade Sales Steven Buchwald, who has been with Lighting Loft/C Lighting since 2006. “We’re an OEM and a showroom.” Lighting Loft has accomplished many creative projects, such as the tennis shop where the lighting design includes frosted globes hanging from a custom monorail design to evoke the motif of suspended tennis rackets and balls. Other noteworthy lighting designs can be seen in a prominent eyeglass store, Suzuki (preschool) Schools, and restaurants.
“We got into manufacturing by necessity,” Buchwald comments. The showroom has always had a reputation for being able to do large amounts of customization for clients who wanted something different. “We were always semi-manufacturing in that way already,” he says. When demand grew, Golan and his team realized they could manufacture products in-house that are in compliance with cUL and ETL.
There are four designers on staff, which includes Golan and his son, Jonathan, who literally grew up in the unique lighting showroom environment his father created. There is a 3D printer in the design department, where Jonathan and the other designers actively make prototypes for their lighting fixtures, which have ranged from giant mobiles for a commercial business to whole-house projects. “We can make anything,” Jonathan Golan comments.
Another asset to the Lighting Loft team is Victor Herec, whose official title is Purchasing Manager, however he has three decades of electrical installation experience from his career at AT&T and he is a certified home inspector. A graduate of Southern Poly Technical Institute in Architecture and Civil Engineering, Herec joined Lighting Loft in 2010 and has designed many landscape and whole-house lighting plans.
“I’ve always had an interest in lighting,” Herec says. “I will go out to a house with the architect and builder and design the lights for the entire home. We make our own LED fixtures, plus we make our own extrusions and undercabinet products. When it comes to kitchens and baths, we can supply ‘the works,’” he quips. “I’d say Residential is about 65 percent of our business, but we also do a lot of commercial retail, lawyers’ offices, beauty salons, and condo lobbies.” One of the recent projects Herec completed was the OK Café, a landmark eatery written about in the pages of Southern Living, Money, and Ladies Home Journal that just reopened several months ago after a devastating fire.
C Lighting’s fixtures have been specified for projects as diverse as a Mercedes Benz dealership in New York City to nightclubs and even the restoration of the 500-acre Pioneer Moon Ranch in Idaho Falls, Idaho which was famously owned by the late Hollywood actor Steve McQueen. There are also three mansions in Florida with lighting provided for and designed by C Lighting/Lighting Loft.
While the showroom has a 6,000-sq.-ft. warehouse, the production crew has sometimes had to employ some unconventional methods – like erecting a temporary tent to work under – in order to assemble fixtures of a very large size. “Our prices are good, despite the fact that we are making custom fixtures,” Golan adds. Linear fixtures can be made in lengths anywhere from 6 inches to 16 feet — and in square and round shapes.
“I am the eternal optimist,” Golan says of his business philosophy. “I want to be successful and do my best. We went through a big downturn in the economy [with the housing bust] a while back, but we worked hard, we paid all of our vendors, we scaled back in certain areas, and did some restructuring,” he explains.
Having a good reputation is something Golan values highly and strives to maintain. “We just love lighting, and enjoy it very much,” he says. Fortunately that passion is not only easily seen, but appreciated, by their clients.