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Birth of an Institution
In 1983, Kay opened Tech Lighting in Chicago's River North gallery district. It was the city's first all-contemporary lighting showroom, and was a hit from the start. At first, Tech was solely a distributor of fixtures from Europe, most of which were not yet UL-listed for American use, and so had to be modified. An even bigger challenge: existing U. S. electrical codes did not accommodate the new low-voltage systems. Kay was instrumental in updating those codes at the local and national levels, a change that opened the way for Tech to begin manufacturing their own designs. Once Kay partnered with former LiteLab engineer Wally Hepkema in 1988, Tech Lighting established itself as a major presence in contemporary lighting. The Tech line now includes elegant low-voltage halogen systems such as Kable Lite, TwinRail, MonoRail, and Free Jack. "We had only 1,500 square feet," Kay recalls,"but it was our showroom, warehouse and world headquarters! It was an exciting time. People just packed the place." Demand for the new Tech products was so great and so rapid that before long 800 other showrooms signed on as distributors - for 10 years Kay spent the bulk of his energy overseeing the manufacturing side of the business. Tech Lighting was a success by any measure, but Kay had other dreams. He surprised many in 2001 by selling Tech in order to focus on his biggest project to date: the creation of Lightology, the finest contemporary lighting showroom in the world.
Lightology is the product of the combined skills and expertise of its staff. Company founder Greg Kay has received numerous awards and honors, including the prestigious Edwin F. Guth Award of Excellence in Lighting Design (1988), the IESNA International Illumination Design Award of Merit (1997), the Chicago Lighting Institute Award of Merit for Lighting Excellence (1994), the ASID-Illinois Design Excellence Award for "Stratus" Wall Grazer (2008) and the Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award for Johnny and Wishbone KableLite fixtures (1992). In addition, all Sales Consultants are expert in their field, with most possessing Lighting Specialist certification from the American Lighting Association.
State of the Art Showroom
Lightology's base is a 20,000-square-foot showroom designed from the ground up to be the premier showcase for contemporary lighting in North America. Visitors encounter a stunning, glass-enclosed, three-story modern space that flows around a central atrium with product-filled catwalks and permanent exhibits on light color, temperature and the history of electric lighting. In December 2001, the first floor of Lightology opened to the public. Already the largest U.S. distributor of high-quality contemporary lighting, the building's four floors are now completely developed to serve the specialty needs of architects, designers, contractors and other professionals. Topping things off is a lush roof garden, providing dramatic city views in a stunning setting for meetings and events.