Chai Style Homes: Golan Illuminates Atlanta
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Chai Style Homes: Golan Illuminates Atlanta

One of Atlanta's top lighting designers lights up his own East Cobb home with local and Israeli artists. Find out why the couple chose to make their house smaller.

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip). On the side, Marcia is Captain of the Senior Cheerleaders for the WNBA Atlanta Dream.

Photos by Duane Stork
From left: Paintings by Paul Chelko, Johanon Herson of Tel Aviv, Anthony Liggins, and Johanon Herson (over fireplace). The fur rug is a mosaic of animal pelts.
Photos by Duane Stork From left: Paintings by Paul Chelko, Johanon Herson of Tel Aviv, Anthony Liggins, and Johanon Herson (over fireplace). The fur rug is a mosaic of animal pelts.

Our Chai Style Homes columns have showcased a diverse collection of residences with a few contiguous threads: the passion to carry out one’s personal style and the reappearance of some local Jewish artisans. Spanning the decades, Yaacov Golan – a sabra – is recognized as one of the most sought-after lighting designers and purveyors. He operates the Lighting Loft on the end of Miami Circle.

“Yaacov is quite simply a magician in using light to create the mood combining customizable decorative architectural lighting,” said Steve Buchwald, the company’s director of trade sales. “I would also call him a visionary in interior design.”

Yaacov Golan at work in his lighting showroom.

Showroom Manager Shuly Zion added, “Yaacov is a frequent lecturer at local design schools and colleges. He also serves as an advisor to many major lighting manufacturers around the world.”

Golan’s flair covers wondrous graphics, clean lines, and cheerful to elegant installations; they all have the watchful eyes of the master designer. Yaacov and his wife, Karin, give us a look at their own East Cobb home.

Jaffe: What background led you to earn the reputation as king of Atlanta’s finest lighting?

Yaacov: As a young man (one of eight children) in Israel, I served as an electrical technician in the Navy. I earned a degree in sociology and statistics before working at the Israeli Museum, which exposed me even more to lighting as an art. I moved to the United States in 1989. After an exciting stint in Silicon Valley, California, operating a contemporary lighting studio, I moved to Atlanta in 1999. Here we set up our first location of C Lighting on East Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead. Later we moved into a multi-level a few blocks east.

The Golan front entrance features his own elegant Lighting Loft “Rondo Bubble” design and a Liggins oil painting.

Jaffe: What are some of the most unusual installations you have done?

Yaacov: Interestingly we have designed mikvahs (Jewish ritual baths) in which we treat the lighting like a spa. We’ve done some stunning medical offices and even the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Manhattan, which involved large LED changing sculptural fixtures. One private residence has a 22-foot-long handmade crystal chandelier.

I especially enjoy designing lighting for restaurants like Bones, Blue Ridge Grill, Alon’s Bakery, Amara, Il Giallo [Osteria & Bar], and OK Café.

The bold wood dining table is accented by two Anthony Liggins paintings that Golan chose to unite with red lucite (center). The painting on the right is by late Atlanta artist Paul Chelko. The chandelier is Lightin Loft’s Fontana Ice.

Jaffe: How would you describe the style in your own home?

Yaacov: Lighting, by its own definition, is contemporary. We don’t stick to any one style. We want what’s comfortable for us. I do like the work of Paul Chelko, Anthony Liggins, and Parish Kohanim, a brilliant and unique Jewish Persian artist/photographer.

Jaffe: Karin, you are a category manager for railing and fencing manufacturing for a major supplier for Home Depot. What were your goals in designing the household?

Karin: We are very practical and wanted a child-centric home. What’s unusual is that we actually made the house smaller and closed in the living room to have a cozier, more intimate feel. We have some special sentimental touches like mezuzahs made of glass shards and our ketubah by Montreal artist Haim Sherrf. Basically, Yaacov used his design acumen and watchful eyes to achieve just the right aesthetic. He used punctuation marks to layer a sensitive modernism.

When Golan consolidated his Buckhead Avenue showroom, he transferred the counters to his home, where he cleverly added the orange expansion. The zebra wood kitchen cabinet finish carries over into the dining room.

Jaffe: How has your business model evolved?

Yaacov: We do about 60 percent residential and 40 percent commercial. I would state that our business has indeed been affected by online commerce.
Our showroom on Miami Circle has hundreds of units to touch, glow and revel in ambience. That’s how one should make such an important design purchase. In person!

We have a factory nearby at Peachtree Hills and make about 40 percent of what we sell. We work well with many of Atlanta’s most prominent interior designers.

The backlit powder room mirror is part of Jonathan and Gabe’s new matrix line, shown here against a stone wall in a child’s bathroom.

Jaffe: Your family is involved in the business?

Yaacov: My children are all very different, but equally creative. My two older sons are managing very important Lighting Loft operations. They have developed some very exciting lines like manufacturing their own uniquely lit bathroom mirrors. Jonathan, the artist, has a degree in sculpture from the University of Georgia. We treasure his black and white ink self-portrait in our home.

My other son, Gabe, is “the businessman.” Interestingly, another son, Gil, is teaching English in Japan. He has a great blog about his adventures.

Jaffe: What does the future hold?

Yaacov: We will continue to execute lighting and elevate spaces as something spiritual affecting peoples’ moods and sense of well-being. Futuristically we will continue to pursue new lines and styles to provide beautiful lighting to enhance home and work environments, create positive ambience, and give new perspective to life. Don’t understimate the role lighting plays in interiors.

Jaffe: Last word.

Yaacov: I think one of the best decisions I have made is closing our showroom on Shabbat. The Jewish people brought the concept to the world, and that, to me, is beautiful.

Golan’s front entry.

Jaffe: I’ll take it a step further. Look at the role “light” plays in Jewish rituals and inside the synagogue. Light is a symbol of the divine.

Yaacov: Yes, as Jews, it’s our challenge to light the world and show the way.

For more photographs, pick up a copy of The Atlanta Jewish Times. 

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