Late 2000s: Modern Era
Another look back in honor of our 20th anniversary: Horrible housing stats and recession could not stop residential lighting from moving forward.
Cori Dunn
Residential Lighting magazine

As economists were forecasting recession brought on by a crippled housing market, the Dallas Market Center's “bigger, brighter” 500,000-square-foot Trade Mart expansion opened in January 2007, doubling the size of the International Lighting Market. So began the residential lighting industry’s march into the current era, a five-year period marked by unprecedented challenges and unlimited potential.

When the U.S. Green Building Council announced the LEED for Homes rating system in November 2007, it was clear that energy-efficient and sustainable design, well entrenched in the commercial marketplace, was moving into the residential arena. Already taking up the cause through Energy Star® certification, lighting manufacturers and showrooms alike welcomed the new focus on “green” lighting. But when a California legislator proposed a ban on the sale of most incandescent light bulbs in the state by 2012, the American Lighting Assn. (ALA) quickly took action, pushing for a national bill and a reasonable timetable. Before the year was out, the U.S. Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

In June 2007, the industry lost a legend when Georges Kovacs died at age 80. Known for bringing the halogen torchiere to America, Kovacs is revered for fostering the work of other designers, from Robert Sonneman and Ingo Mauer to Karim Rashid and Alecia Wesner. Times were also changing at retail. Showrooms began to sell lighting’s “human element,” teaching consumers that lighting can do more than simply illuminate tasks. Ubiquitous cloud displays were taken over by cleaner, more open ceilings that brought fixtures in easy view. Gross Electric, Toledo, OH, opened a Lifestyle Center with fully appointed rooms and a range of lighting options, and others soon followed suit.

As 2008 got into gear, the industry saw a variety of superstars take the stage. In January, Murray Feiss was honored with the ARTS Academy of Achievement Award. In July, Rod Stewart entertained crowds gathered to celebrate the opening of the Las Vegas Market’s Building C. Larry Powers was inducted into the ALA Lighting Hall of Fame. And Joe Rey-Barreau hosted the ALA’s first webinar on advanced kitchen solutions. Let the record show it was a sell-out.


Looking Back: 2007-2008

Vintage Verandah introduces portable lighting designed by actress Jane Seymour.

Mid-Ocean Partners purchases Hunter Fan Co. and subsidiaries Hunter Lighting and Casablanca from Lehman Brothers. Hunter Lighting/Kenroy employees buy Hunter Lighting from Mid-Ocean, renaming the company Kenroy Home.

Paul Eusterbrock of Holtkötter Intl. serves as Chairman of the ALA’s 2008 Membership Committee. The goal is to add 120 new members.

Nova Lighting expands by acquiring Jon Gilmore Designs Inc. and American Lamp Co.

Kichler Lighting celebrates its 70th anniversary at the January 2008 Dallas Market. Sam Minoff bought the company from Leonard Kichler in 1954 for $5,000.

About this author

Cori Dunn

Cori Dunn has been covering the retail, lighting and furniture industries since 1982, and was the Founding Editor of Residential Lighting. Dunn also created Furniture Style and Home Fashion Forecast magazines. In this blog, she takes a look back at the last two decades in the lighting industry, in honor of Residential Lighting's 20th anniversary.

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