Connect
To Top

Meet Gwen Grossman of Gwen Grossman Lighting Design in Jackson Blvd

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gwen Grossman.

Gwen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My love of lighting began when I was just a freshman in high school and was exposed to the backstage crew of various theatrical drama and musical productions. I immediately saw how light was a paintbrush and I could truly be an artist working with a very unique tool. I knew I would always have the “lightning bug”, so I went on to study theatrical lighting design at the University of Cincinnati – CCM profession training program for my BFA.

After undergrad, I worked for several years in theatrical design in Chicago prior to moving to San Diego to study for my MFA at the UCSD. There I studied with Tony-winning designer Chris Perry and the professional staff of the LaJolla Playhouse, which was connected to our school program. I was able to build a strong confidence level for my artistry and even worked professionally with a local dance company as well as the theaters and Opera house. I then moved to NYC to work with the Lincoln Center for the summer festival after which my transition into architectural lighting design began. A few lighting design companies gave me a start and then 9/11 happened and the company I was working for closed its doors. I was fortunate to get hired during that time at Focus Lighting, one of the top firms in NYC and proceed to learn my craft from a serious of amazing mentors. Many years in NYC went by and I started to get the itch to come back home to Chicago. I moved back home and landed at an architectural lighting firm in Chicago, where I grew to become a senior designer on some significant projects and gain valuable experience and strong relationships with local architects.

Then the recession hit and I found myself without a position at an extremely pivotal point in my life … was I going to take a big leap of faith and go off on my own? Four short days later, Gwen Grossman Lighting Design (GGLD) was born and I began to hustle! From that day forward, I have pored my heart and soul into growing a thriving architectural lighting design firm that will celebrate its 8th year in business next spring. We are proud to be a WBE firm and have many successful projects in corporate, institutional, and hospitality.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Getting started on building a solid client list of architects, interior designers, and developers that were willing to meet and eventually hire my firm was definitely the hardest part. It takes years to build this foundation and have a reliable base to count on for repeat business.

The second hardest challenge was learning to become a strong businesswoman. I was trained and worked as a designer in my field for years, but never paid enough attention to the business side of things. Suddenly, I had to learn to be the rainmaker for myself and eventually my employees. I have had to work hard at learning the craft of being a salesperson, boss, mentor and still maintain my design career. A balance that I have grown to love!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Gwen Grossman Lighting Design (GGLD) story. Tell us more about the business.
Gwen Grossman Lighting Design (GGLD) is an architectural lighting design firm for commercial projects nationwide. We have successfully collaborated on numerous projects ranging from; corporate interiors, hotels, hospitality, education, religious spaces, exterior landscaping & facades. Our clients range from architects, interior designers, developers, and engineers.

GGLD strives for seamless collaboration, integration, and innovative design with each challenge. Our team provides unique solutions and creativity to bring a balanced composition, harmony, and drama to the architecture.

The client’s needs always come first as we explore the culture of the environment that they desire to work, learn, or live in. We believe that great lighting is crucial to the human experience; it can bring a sense of calmness or liveliness to any environment. It can also have a profound effect on people’s health, productivity, and mood.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am not sure about “luck” .. I think we create our own opportunities and destinies through hard work and dedication. It is a choice each day to keep on keeping on and make the very best decisions we can with what the universe has given us. Luck can be thrown our way, but if you look behind the source of it, I believe it is persistence, diligence, enthusiasm and a passion for your craft that breeds success.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in

  • VoyageChicago FAQs

    We’ve prepared this FAQ about VoyageChicago (run by Voyage Group of Magazines, LLC) (“Voyage”) in an effort to ensure that anyone...

    Local StoriesSeptember 23, 2018
  • The Influencers

    VoyageChicago owes a huge debt to the incredible local community of influencers – from fashion bloggers to foodies – who put...

    Local StoriesSeptember 19, 2018
  • #ChicagoCreatives: the local artists who inspire us

    Through a mix of mediums, formats and perspectives local artists illuminate the unknown, color the previously black-and-white and add depth to...

    Local StoriesSeptember 18, 2018
  • Fun Things to do in Chicago

    The editorial team shares some of the most noteworthy events in Chicago over the next few weeks. Check them out below...

    Local StoriesSeptember 18, 2018
  • The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative

    The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us feel that...

    Local StoriesSeptember 18, 2018
  • The Thought-Provokers: Celebrating Artists & Creatives

    Chicago has always had an artistic soul.  The culture and heritage of our city, like most great cities, owes a tremendous...

    Local StoriesSeptember 18, 2018
  • Chicago’s Most Inspiring Stories

    Every neighborhood in Chicago has its own vibe, style, culture and history, but what consistently amazes us is not what differentiates...

    Local StoriesSeptember 18, 2018
  • Makeover Monday’s: local beauty inspo that blew us away

    New week, new look.  Here’s some inspiration from some of Chicago’s most gifted beauty professionals. View this post on Instagram Makeup...

    Local StoriesSeptember 17, 2018
  • An Artistic Voyage: exploring local creative and artistic works

    Raw, unfiltered creative expression – from stories and photographs to illustrations and paintings – is at the heart of VoyageChicago.    In the...

    Local StoriesSeptember 14, 2018