June 28, 2007

George Kovacs, Innovator in Lighting Fixtures, Dies at 80


George Kovacs, a designer, manufacturer and importer of innovative and stylish modern lighting fixtures who introduced the ubiquitous halogen torchiere to the United States, died Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 80.

George Kovacs marketed Alecia Wesner’s touch switch glass lamp.

The cause was emphysema, his wife, Barbara, said.

“His name is one of the most recognizable in lighting,” said Fred Katz, a lighting expert and the owner of Lightforms, a store in Manhattan. “If you were to stop somebody and say, ‘Give me the name of a lighting manufacturer,’ it’s a good chance they would say George Kovacs.”

Mr. Kovacs not only made popular table lamps, floor lamps, hanging pendants and wall sconces, he also marketed the products of other acclaimed designers, including Ingo Maurer, Harry Allen, Karim Rashid, Robert Sonneman and Alecia Wesner.

Mr. Kovacs sometimes designed with a sense of humor. In 1971, he designed what he called the Wobble — a lamp with a bare bulb and a base shaped like a bare bulb — and sold it for $15. He called it a “half-toy half-lamp,” and said that designing it posed a major problem: how to weight the base precisely so it would not flop back too fast.


The New York Times

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