We’ve got Larry Lazin with us today, he’s the founder and CEO of a modern lighting company called Global Lighting. Thanks for sitting down with us today. 2Modern carries many of the lines that Global Lighting provides, such as LZF, B. Lux, Dab and Rossetti. We loved sitting down and talking about the trends going on in the lighting industry today:
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That transcript is down below, but download the audio interview for your listening pleasure: Global Lighting 2Modern Interview. And just in case you missed all those linked hints above, 2Modern carries many of the lines that Global Lighting provides, such as LZF, B. Lux, Dab and Rossetti.
2M: We’ve got Larry Lazin with us today, he’s the founder and CEO of a modern lighting company called Global Lighting. Thanks for sitting down with us today.
LL: Sure my pleasure.
2M: How would you describe your business? What sort of products does Global Lighting try to bring to the marketplace?
LL: We look for new creative design that comes from all around the world, and offer it here in the United States that’s modified for the North American market, so it’s all wired for the North American market which is different than other places in the world. And also that it’s UL listed–that’s Underwriter’s Laboratory–so it’s all ready to be used by professionals as well as in the home.
2M: So you’re definitely selling to both commercial clients and residential clients?
LL: We do. In fact we sell more to the commercial side–we market ourselves on the commercial side, and particularly to the hospitality side.
2M: Being like hotels…
LL: Hotels and restaurants. We do a lot of hotel shows and we also do ICFF here in New York.
2M: So how and when did Global Lighting begin? Why did you start the company?
LL: Well I had been in lighting for many years, and I started in lighting almost 30 years ago, and before that I was in glass blowing, so I went from glass blowing to design, and I had a project in art school to design a light, and I’ve been doing it ever since. I worked for a company called Lightolier when they used to be here in New York. And then I started manufacturing my own lights in Soho on Green Street in the 1980s. And I’ve been in lighting ever since.
2M: Wow I didn’t know you were a glass blower, that’s great. So obviously you have a very artistic background.
LL: And very sensitive to materials. I would say that’s the biggest thing that I learned. I learned a lot about materials through glass so I have a real fondness for materials.
2M: That’s interesting; an interesting perspective. Obviously as the CEO of a company you have a lot of business stuff to do, but what is your creative role at the company? Do you still get to do a lot of playing with materials?
LL: In some ways I’m more like a teacher more than anything else. With all the experience I have, knowing what works and what doesn’t work. And trying to understand what the specifiers are really trying to do. I’m really the go between between it all, between the staff we have here–that is a very customer oriented staff–to the specifiers or the e-commerce sites that we supply to.
2M: So it sounds like a typical day is communicating with people, putting fires out…
LL: Yeah no I’m not so much a fireman anymore. I hung that hat up, I’m not a good fireman. But I work with people who are really good and can get the hat and the coat on and get the Dalmatian going and go off and take care of the fire.
2M: I’m very interested in what’s going on in the lighting design world right now. Do you have any insight into what the new trends are?
LL: Design’s a broad word, but as far as aesthetic design, I would say right now less is more. More natural material–feelings and looks that are more reflective of nature a little bit. Not to the point of Art Nouveau or anything like that, but in terms of companies like LZF and their wood veneers. Lines that use a lot of chrome or plating or tooling, you know those really have a large carbon foot print…those are not popular any more. At least as far as I can tell in this environment. No one really wants to be caught spending $50,000 for a light; it’s too embarrassing for a lot of companies. So, everyone’s trying to do what I like to call less is more, you know–more with less.
2M: Do you think the kind of green, environmental movement has played a big part in that?
LL: Well I think the biggest thing has actually been the economy. Because on a professional level, people who make their living specifying environments are forced to do more with less, because their budgets have been slashed. So that’s one way to look at it…two, they have to do it from a functional point of view. Understanding more and understanding the technology better, because we’re slowly starting to move away from incandescent. You know, compact fluorescent as really taken hold and now the new frontier is what’s called LED, a light-emitting diode, which has the technology where you would change the light bulb just three times in your life time. If you leave a regular 60W incandescent light bulb on in a store window–if you left it on 24/7, you’d be replacing that bulb once a month, so, that’s a big difference.
2M: We spoke with another designer last week actually, and she was singing the praises of compact fluorescents, but she wasn’t quite on board with LED’s yet. What’s your personal view of those, do you like the light quality that you are seeing?
LL: Yes. We have a file with LED, for 2 or 3 years now. And we’re doing a trade show here in New York I think in March called LEDucation, and it’s just for manufacturers and providers of LED fixtures. So we’re starting to do more with it. And we’re starting to modify fixtures for LED.
2M: In the hospitality world, are people still clinging onto the old-fashioned incandescents? Or do you see them moving towards the compact fluorescents or LED’s?
LL: They’re clinging onto it more on the East Coast because on the West Coast they have the Title 20, which starts—it’s been in effect for about 4 or 5 years—you know it’s slowly moving from inefficient light sources. So they’re being forced to sort of provide lighting with more efficient light sources. They are much more open to it there.
2M: Do you pay attention to the other design companies out there? Do you have favorites or ones that really excite you?
LL: Well we have the distribution rights to seven companies for North America and they’re primary Spanish and Italian. You know and we’re always looking and being approached by other companies that want us to distribute their product. Yeah, I watch them a lot.
2M: What are your favorite products you can find through Global Lighting?
LL: Well LZF is just is really a fantastic company, because they have a unique ability to really and truly collaborate. Like you and I are doing right now, and like the company you consult with, so it’s just they do that and they do that on a real international scale. They collaborate with musicians, like music for videos, they have a film company they work with. They collaborate with graffiti artists…they really use all types of media and bring it all together.
2M: That’s cool, that’s interesting to know that there are companies out there who understand about modern times and collaboration.
LL: It’s not about the bottom line for them, they really just love living their life and doing what they’re doing.
2M: So what is up next for Global Lighting? You spoke about some trade shows coming up…
LL: We’re doing a tradeshow in Mexico City at the end of next month. We’re doing ICFF here in New York. We’re doing the hospitality show in Las Vegas near the same time. We’re considering a show in Los Angeles…so we have a pretty busy schedule ahead of us.
2M: And are you guys just going to continue to try and attract great companies?
LL: You know it’s more about providing good service. You can provide wonderful products but if your service stinks, no one’s going to want it. So it’s more about the quality of the service we provide; it goes hand and hand with really wonderful new designs in the marketplace. For us that’s really our secret, and it’s really no secret at all.
2M: Thank you so very much for talking with us today.
LL: My pleasure, thank you.
2M: Be sure to visit globallighting.com for more information about Larry Lazin and Global Lighting’s gorgeous lighting products. You’ve been listening to a 2modern designer interview. For more fun podcasts, inspiring design posts and design advice, check out the blog at 2modern.com.