If all design practitioners were as ambitious as Ron Rezek, the innovation, quality and function present in daily life would increase by leaps and bounds. A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Rezek spent his early career teaching in the school’s art and architecture departments, as well as at Art Center College of Design and the Southern California Institute of Architecture. In addition to his professorate, Rezek has been designing products for various markets for nearly 40 years, including a lifeguard rescue float in 1969 that is used around the world – and seen on the classic 1990s TV show Baywatch. After working for designer Deborah Sussman and architect Frank Gehry, Rezek started Ron Rezek Lighting in 1978 with the goal of modernizing the decorative lighting industry. Co-owned with Artemide, Ron Rezek Lighting produces state-of-the-art lighting that reflects the designer’s philosophy of “simplicity in form and economy in production.” Rezek was also responsible in 1990 for opening the first Highlights showroom, which is now a national retail “gallery of lights featuring the best modern designs.” Rezek’s penchant for sleek, modern and energy-efficient forms led in turn to The Modern Fan Company – another successful business that has since filled the gap left by traditional, Victorian-minded ceiling fans. Since 1997, Modern Fan – a charter member of EPA’s Energy Star Program and the first to produce ceiling fans that incorporate fluorescent lighting, upward lighting and low-voltage lighting – has made available 12 sophisticated ceiling fans that have virtually defined the genre’s 21st-century aesthetic. By minimizing components, and maximizing efficiency and economy of production, Rezek has originated a patented single-piece rotor for his fans. The rotor has accomplished the two things that didn’t previously seem possible in ceiling fan design: making installation easier and diminishing the proverbial wobble. Rezek’s leadership in the design of lighting and ceiling fans has expanded the two product areas beyond the realm of pure function to relevant, design-conscious expression.