George Kovacs Lighting Design


I’ll be reviewing one of Kovacs-designed lamps soon. So some background on him before I do:

One of the most recognizable names in the lighting industry, George Kovacs wore many hats throughout his forty-plus year career. Part lighting designer, part lighting manufacturer, part lighting importer – Kovacs’ design aesthetic stood out above the rest and helped to define modern lighting as we know it today.

Born in Vienna, Kovacs moved to the United States after the Second World War, finding work at a lamp store in Manhattan. It was most likely here that Kovacs was bitten by the lighting bug, soon after which he started his own business selling Kalmar lamps. The perfect blend of both form and function, his vast collection included everything from table and floor lamps to hanging pendants and wall sconces. His creativity and skill attracted other prominent modern designers including the likes of Karim Rashid and Ingo Maurer, amongst others.

As much an innovator as he was a creative genius, Kovacs introduced the first American-made halogen torchiere to market in the early 1970s. Popular in Europe since the 1960s, Halogen lamps were far longer-lasting and able to illuminate an entire room with one bulb. Soon after Kovacs started manufacturing Halogen lamps, other manufactures began to follow suit.

For many years, Kovacs designed and manufactured his products from his own Brooklyn-based facility but in 2000 he sold his studio, designs and naming rights to lighting manufacturer the Minka Group. Kovacs passed away in 2007 at the age of 80. A true design visionary, Kovacs left a lasting impression on the lighting industry and the design community as a whole.