Ikea and Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun launch solar-powered lighting collection
Ikea partners with Little Sun, Olafur Eliasson’s social enterprise dedicated to clean energy, to create the two limited-edition solar-powered lamps of the Sammanländ collection
Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun has partnered with Ikea to create two lighting designs, part of a limited-edition collection that aims at raising awareness of alternative energy solutions. The solar-powered lamps are part of the Sammanländ collection, imagined to encourage users to experience solar energy within their home.
The collection was conceived as part of Little Sun’s mission. Founded by Eliasson with engineer Frederik Ottesen, Little Sun’s mission is to give access to solar energy to communities without regular electricity, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa. 'If, however, we are to transition to a world powered by renewable energy in the next decade and create a more sustainable world for future generations, we will need everyone everywhere to recognise the importance of solar energy,' says Eliasson. 'When Ikea reached out to me with the idea of developing a project centred on solar power, I recognised this as an opportunity to spread awareness to a broader audience.'
Ikea and Olafur Eliasson: Sammanländ
'Collaborating with a company that shares many of our central beliefs has been incredibly encouraging – even more so, since IKEA can reach those who may not already know much about the potential of solar power and the vast disparities in energy access around the world,' adds Eliasson.
The collaboration comprises two LED lighting designs, both portable and solar-powered: a table lamp, and a smaller, portable lamp, whose concept originated from Eliasson's original Little Sun lamp.
The design of the table lamp is informed by the Earth’s orbit around the sun, and is characterised by a half-sphere concealing the light source, placed on a round mirror and surrounded by two metal circles. The multifunctional object can also become a pendant lamp thanks to the adjustable metal frame, and the light source can be removed and used as a torch.
The second, smaller portable lamp is imagined for use in outdoor settings, and is equipped with a yellow strap to hold it, or hang it to recharge in the sunlight. Each lamp is also equipped with USB-A and USB-C ports, for when solar charging is not possible. When fully charged, the lamps' batteries can also support charging a mobile phone.
‘With this collaboration, we wanted to spark a conversation around solar energy and put the power of the sun in the hands of the many people,’ says James Futcher, creative leader at Ikea. ‘Our shared belief is that the possibilities of thoughtful design lie in its ability to create awareness and make a difference.’
'My hope is that more design will simply be solar without being necessarily 'solar design', that is, the solar aspect will be taken for granted as normal,' adds Eliasson. 'This is because solar energy must be available to all. The power of the sun is abundant, inexpensive. It helps individuals and families own their access to power at the source, which makes them more self-sufficient, independent, and resilient.
'If we are to transition to a world powered by renewable energy in the next decade, we need everyone to recognise the opportunity of solar energy: sunlight is seemingly invisible, but solar energy allows us to make the invisible visible.'
LED solar-powered table lamp, £80, and LED solar-powered portable lamp £11, available from Ikea stores in April 2023.
Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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