174 North 11th Street
By Adam Poor
Photo by Adam Lerner
Light is in Lars Dahlhaus’ blood. As the owner of Light Up Brooklyn, Dahlhaus represents the next generation in his family’s long love affair with designing and selling light fixtures. His father owns a high-end traditional lighting company eponymously named Dahlhaus back in his native Germany, and little Lars spent many hours watching his father at work and dreaming about taking up the family trade.
“I grew up in the business,” he says. “Because of my father, I’ve been looking forward to having a retail store my whole life.”
Light Up Brooklyn is the fulfillment of that dream. Open since October, the storefront marks Dahlhaus’ online retail business UpscaleLighting.com’s first push into the brick-and-mortar world.
Like the online business, Light Up Brooklyn offers a complete selection of lights in any price range, from low-end lamps and track lighting systems to custom-made chandeliers, and provides installation services as well. They also sell a wide variety of incandescent, compact-fluorescent, and LED light bulbs, including hard-to-find specialty bulbs, and serve as a recycling center for the mercury-laden compact-fluorescent bulbs.
But Dahlhaus sees the new store as a much more fulfilling endeavor than the online business that spawned it. “Online is much more impersonal. [With the storefront,] we’re super-dedicated to making local people happy, being part of the community.”
To this end, Light Up Brooklyn also serves as a gallery space for local artists through their Local Designer Showcase Series. The current show, which runs through June 30 is by Klaus Rosburg, and features striking experimental works made from everyday items like coat hangers and three-ring binders, as well as sleek, contemporary lamps and track-lighting systems for home and office.
As Light Up Brooklyn becomes a neighborhood fixture, it seems Dahlhaus’ family tradition is safe. “My 5-year-old son had a career day at school recently,” says Lars. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the boy answered proudly, “A lighting salesman.”