STORY

 

 

At the age of 5, Sandy Littman became interested in lighting and design while “working” at her father’s lighting factory. Amazed by the sculptural metal forms of the components, she found the parts more interesting than the fluorescent fixtures they were to become.  It was at that age she discovered how much she loved looking at beautiful things and imagining how to create them.

Years later, she was one of only seven women attending Syracuse University School of Architecture. Some professors said “you will never be an architect, you have no talent as a designer.” This did not stop her, however, Sandy found it difficult to establish a career as a respected woman architect.

She began her career with Digital Lighting, an innovative lighting controls company. There, she designed discotheques. Some of the projects she was involved with included Studio 54 and the disco movie “Thank God It’s Friday.” Many of today's prominent lighting designers were also part of that scene.  

Later, Sandy was hired to design restaurants. In the course of designing a large restaurant she was asked to find 100 decorative fixtures.  Her research found there was no lighting she was willing to accept or specify. She saw an opportunity and decided to start a lighting company.

At 26, while attending NYU business school, Sandy sold prismatic 1950’s glass to antique dealers, door-to-door from a canvas bag on her shoulder. She would rent a truck once a month to make deliveries. The glass stock was kept stacked to the ceiling in her tiny upper west side apartment. The profits were used to build samples. Three fixtures were traded in exchange for photography for her first catalog. Design magazines loved the products and featured them constantly. While finishing her MBA during the day, Sandy would work on her fledgling business at night. By graduation, American Glass Light was a functioning company. Sales grew and the line diversified, moving from restaurant into corporate lighting.  

It is ironic that a person whose professors said she had no talent ended up creating such an iconic brand and whose lighting designs are found in so many important buildings, including the Empire State Building and White House. Architects have said “American Glass Light came out of nowhere and overnight became a classic.”

As a trained architect Sandy enjoys making perfect, timeless objects.  She loves to make sculptures that are conceived as art pieces. “We love working in LED and are very adept at the technology.  We love glass, metal, and wood, nothing that is outside of traditional classical architectural materials.”

Today, all fixtures are still handmade at our factory in Newburgh NY. American Glass Light might prototype a light numerous times. Before its release it must pass Sandy’s final test, “Would I buy or specify this fixture?”  This sensibility has long guided American Glass Light’s outstanding design, quality and manufacturing.

First Catalog 1981