Brighten up your spring evenings with these portable lights
The best portable lights and where to buy them: brighten up your spring nights with this edit of portable lamps for your desk, garden and more
This winter, brighten up your space with the best portable lights and rechargeable lamps. Designed by some of today's most brilliant creative minds in collaboration with leading lighting brands, these indoor and outdoor portable lamps are the perfect adaptable companions for your everyday needs, perfect to add a bit of comfort to your home, and able to swing between home and (home) office with impeccable ease.
PORTABLE LIGHTS: 26 DESIGNS TO ILLUMINATE WINTER
The Portables by Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon makes his Euroluce debut at Salone del Mobile 2023: among his new launches is a series of portable lamps. Dubbed 'The Portables', the series includes Melt, Stone and Bell lamps that offer a new practical yet still expressive interpretation of Tom Dixon's distinctive lighting offering. 'Increasingly we want our light to move with us,' says Dixon. 'Thankfully the magic of technology has come to the rescue with powerful batteries and low energy light sources combined to allow us to illuminate wherever we choose with complete adaptability.'
From £240, tomdixon.net
Ale portable lamp by Catellani & Smith
The playful proportions of Catellani & Smith's Ale portable lamp are enriched by the fluorescent colour scheme of its latest launch. The design features a semi-cylinder attached to a v-shaped structure, with a small fly-shaped object concealing the connecting screw. The lamp is part of the brand's wider Ale collection, featuring an interpretation of the design as large table lamp, a sconce and a ceiling lamp.
Welcome portable lamp by Fabio Novembre for Driade
The latest creation of Driade creative director Fabio Novembre is a portable light whose function is extended beyond just lighting, becoming a tray or holder that can be adapted to several possible uses. Available in three colours (white, black and red), the lamp features a simple circular shape with a generous tray at the top. ‘The technology we use in our daily lives has led to a hybridization of functions that is now part of our lives,’ comments Novembre. ‘I’m no longer sure that a lamp has the sole purpose of illuminating. Perhaps these small objects, that are present in different environments and atmospheres like on a dining table or on a bedside table, could hold other objects, to highlight them or simply help us to have them within reach. Welcome was born from a gesture of inclusion, a happy coexistence of functions for unexpected combinations.’
€200, available from driade.com
Panthella Portable Lamp by Verner Panton for Louis Poulsen
Verner Panton's Panthella lamp has been declined in several interpretations by lighting design brand Louis Poulsen. The Danish brand's offering of the 1971 design includes a portable lamp, available in a series of delicious shades that nod to the chromatic enthusiasm of the 1970s. The lamp emits a suffused non-glaring light, while its domed metal shade provides practical downward illumination.
£250, available from Finnish Design Shop
Iside Table Lamp by Dolce & Gabbana Casa
The distinctive, majolica-inspired Blue Mediterraneo motif by Dolce & Gabbana gracefully adorns this contemporary portable light design. The bold pattern balances the lamp's minimalist forms, adding a touch of eclecticism to any interior while doubling as practical and versatile illumination.
Turn and Turn + by Nao Tamura for Ambientec
The Turn + portable lamp by Nao Tamura is inspired by the familiarity of a lantern and featuring four settings that range from candle-like intensity to practical illumination for hosting and reading. Available in brass or stainless steel, this portable light promises over 500 hours of light between charges and is waterproof for outdoor use. Japanese lighting brand Ambientec was started by Yoshinori Kuno in 2009, following an extensive experience developing professional lighting for underwater photography. Drawing from this background and working alongside some of Japan’s leading designers, Kuno evolved the brand to produce portable lamps that are durable and waterproof, featuring exclusive LED technology and a minimalist aesthetic.
From £717, available from Farfetch
Camellia portable light by Andre Fu Living
Andre Fu’s collection of portable lights merge technology with impeccable design conceived to bring a sense of wellness and sparkle into any space. The growing collection includes the Camellia, whose silhouette is inspired by the sinuous shapes of the eponymous flower, featuring a minimal brass base and an elegantly pleated white textile shade. three levels of brightness are available, lasting up to 40 hours between charges.
From HK$4,500, andrefuliving.com
Gustave portable light by Vincent Van Duysen for Flos
Vincent Van Duysen's portable lighting debut is a compact rechargeable lamp inspired by Adolf Loos and whose name pays tribute to Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel. The essential forms of the lamp conceal rechargeable batteries and an intuitive touch -activated on-off mechanism, and its technology makes it waterproof suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Available in seven finishes and two light temperatures (2700K and 3000K), the lamp is suitable for indoor and outdoor illumination.
£310, available from The Conran Shop
‘PC’ portable light by Pierre Charpin for Hay
Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, the Hay PC portable lamp by Pierre Charpin is updated with a colorful palette and up to ten hours of light per charge. Featuring a composition of shapes characteristic of Charpin’s work, and a chromatic arrangement referencing Memphis colours, the battery-powered light’s injection-moulded plastic body is completed with a matte finish that is both scratch- and water-resistant.
£99, available from Finnish Design Shop
Caret MF1 portable lamp by Matteo Fogale for &Tradition
Imagined as a response to the increasingly blurred boundaries between work and home, Matteo Fogale's portable lamp for Danish brand &Tradition is inspired by the green-shaded lamps traditonally found in libraries (and known as bankers lamps). The essential design features a shade with a triangular silhouette, standing over a conical base and available in grey and burgundy.
£180, available from Andlight
Quasar Portable Lamp by Samy Rio for Petite Friture
French designer Samy Rio has created a new portable lamp for Petite Friture, whose name, Quasar, is a tribute to the brightest star in the galaxy. Strong and durable, the rechargeable lamp features a body in anodized aluminium, available in emerald or olive green, black, sienna and grey, equipped with a nylon rope (extending up to 5 meters) to enhance its portability. The light comes in three hues (warm, neutral, and cold white), and the battery lasts up to 12 hours between charges.
£200, available from Made in Design
Ray Portable lamp by Daniel Schofield for Menu
The ‘Ray’ portable lamp by British designer Daniel Schofield for Menu references traditional mining lamps. Utilitarian in its inspiration and sophisticated in its execution, the ‘Ray’ portable lamp features a simplified silhouette defined by a cylindrical base surmounted by a wide circular shade, both made of powder-coated metal. A slim handle on top of the lamp makes it easy to transport and move around. ‘I think the portable lamp is an interesting area for lighting right now,’ says Schofield. ‘The way we live and work, and use our indoor and outdoor space has changed a lot in recent years so more flexible lighting is arising to accommodate this.’ The ‘Ray’ lamp is also waterproof, making it suitable for use as an outdoor portable light as well as in the home.
£239, available from End
Piton portable lamp by Tom Chung for Muuto
Canadian designer Tom Chung was inspired by flashlights and outdoor gear to create the Piton portable lamp for Muuto. The lamp’s industrial aesthetic is informed by its functionality: this ultra-light aluminium portable lamp sits, rests, clips or hooks, and it is imagined to adapt to older buildings or off-grid scenarios. ‘I wanted it to be a contemporary interpretation of a torch lamp, that could act as the only lamp you might need in any context,’ continues the designer. ‘The lamp aims to influence you to find nature in the city or find comfort in nature.’
£235, available from Finnish Design Shop
'Shades' portable lamp by Sowden
Legendary Memphis designer George Sowden has been creating captivating products under his eponymous label. The latest in a series of silicone-shade lamp designs is this collection of portable lamp in bold colours and simple forms. The specially-developed Sowden LED lightbulb is controlled by a light touch, while the battery can be removed and swapped with a fully-charged replacement, to avoid waiting for a full charge between uses.
£74, available from Made in Design
‘Obello’ lamp, designed by Bill Curry, made by Gubi
In 1972, American designer Bill Curry conceived the Obello lamp as the first single module lamp, crafted from a single piece of glass in a stylised mushroom shape. To design the lamp, Curry was inspired by the atomic age, space race, and pop culture from 1970s LA. Five decades after its conception, Gubi puts the lamp into production for the first time. Made of frosted, mouth-blown glass (the same that was used for Curry’s original lamp designs), the Obello lamp now becomes a portable light, offering over 40 hours of glow with each full charge.
£249, available from Heal's
‘Goodnight’ by Philippe Starck for Kartell
For his lighting debut with Kartell, Philippe Starck was inspired by the romantic glow of a candle to create a smart portable light that is minimal as it is high tech. ‘The light of a candle is the most beautiful, natural and almost the first light of our civilization,’ says Starck. ‘But sadly modernity does not like candles. With Goodnight, [we] reinvent this iconic pure light to warm our dreams.’
£216, available from Made in Design
‘Bellhop’ portable light by Barber Osgerby for Flos
Originally designed for the Design Museum’s restaurant and inspired by a simple formal intuition, Barber Osgerby’s ‘Bellhop’ lamp for Flos is a small but mighty portable light. The flexible, rechargeable lamp now features brand new bright shades – yellow and grey-blue – which light up the product’s existing rich palette of red, white, grey and brown. The compact portable light lasts up to 24 hours between charges, and the designers selected edge-lighting technology that ensures an evenly lit surface. ‘Bellhop’ also includes anti-glare glow and a dimmer to modify the light’s intensity from ten to 100 per cent.
£230, available from Heal's
‘Pepa’ by Francesco Faccin for Astep
Italian designer Francesco Faccin was inspired by the movement of a pepper grinder to create this wireless portable lamp for Danish lighting brand Astep. As you would twist a pepper grinder to finish a dish, the ‘Pepa’ rechargeable lamp is switched on by twisting (the action also adjusts the light intensity). Made of a solid wood body concealing a technological soul (featuring a sophisticated multi-axis magnetic field sensor technology that eliminates the need for wiring), the tactile lamp is a marriage of craft and innovation. It’s a design that exemplifies Astep’s approach to lighting: founder Alessandro Sarfatti creates meaningful pieces that celebrate the design heritage of the lighting industry while looking to its future.
From €490, astep.design
‘Sylvestrina’ by Enric Sòria and Jordi Garcés for Santa & Cole
A 1974 design revisited to fit with contemporary life, Enric Sòria and Jordi Garcés’s portable lamp design for Spanish lighting company Santa & Cole was originally conceived with the intention to reproduce the effect of an oil lamp. After nearly five decades, the simple formality of the ‘Sylvestrina’ lamp is updated as a rechargeable lamp that preserves the original’s warmth with the added practicality of LED technology and long-life battery.
£415, available from Finnish Design Shop
Daphinette by Tommaso Cimini for Lumina
Lumina founder Tommaso Cimini’s ‘Daphinette’ table lamp is updated as a new portable version. The simple lamp is defined by a decisively industrial aesthetic, with an articulated arm holding a pivoting diffuser and mounted on a transformer, and its new version features a limited edition red inspired by the holiday season. Cimini’s ‘lots of light, little lamp’ motto for Lumina is exemplified by the essential design of this portable lamp, with performance and durability at the heart of the design.
From £274, lumina.it
‘Arca’ by Philippe Malouin for Matter Made
Philippe Malouin continues his collaboration with Matter Made with the new ‘Arca’ portable lamp. Developed as a multifunctional rechargeable light, it features a 110lm LED module and promises up to 30 hours of use depending on the setting (which can be selected from night, ambient, reading or task). Demountable to easily pack and take it on trips, it’s the perfect flexible light, ‘from bedside to bath-side’.
‘Folia’ portable lamp by Saint-Louis
The ‘Folia’ collection of lanterns is inspired by the patterns from the forests surrounding the Saint-Louis crystal manufacture. Its design is defined by the contrast between the smooth wooden top and geometrically cut crystal, its organic bevel-cut patterns created as an homage to the Moselle woodland. The portable lights are suitable for indoor and outdoor use, and can last up to 25 hours between charges. The perfection of the crystal craft is evident when the lantern is on, casting a charming, enigmatic patterned shadow on its surroundings.
£3,138.72, available from 1stDibs
‘Salt&Pepper’ portable lamp by Grau
A classic hourglass form conceals the advanced cable-free technology in these compact portable lights by German lighting design specialist Grau. Fully portable with no compromise on intensity, the ‘Salt&Pepper’ lamp presents a literal beacon of light, comfort, and kinship. Offering eight hours of light when on full power (increasing to up to 100 hours when used with the touch dimmer option), the lamp is recharged via USB-C cable.
£368, available from Holloways of Ludlow
Lanterns by Zanellato Bortotto for Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades
Italian designers Daniele Bortotto and Giorgia Zanellato have created a duo of rechargeable lamps for Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades, featuring a blown glass dome diffusing light through the intricate leather pattern of the shell. Characterised by a honeycomb pattern made of interwoven strips of Louis Vuitton leather, the lamp also includes details inspired by the maison’s bags, such as a practical carrying strap and three brass feet protecting the leather. ‘A journey east, a summer dinner with friends, a walk on the beach: we imagined this project as a collection of memories woven into a lantern,’ say the designers. ‘An intimate and personal object to keep with you to gently illuminate precious moments.’
Price on request, louisvuitton.com
‘Nui Mini’ outdoor portable lamp by Meneghello Paolelli Associati for Luceplan
Part of a family of outdoor rechargeable lamps comprising floor and wall lighting defined by simple geometric compositions, the ‘Nui Mini’ portable lamp by Luceplan is an outdoor table lamp whose rechargeable nature makes it perfect for an evening in the garden. Featuring a transparent crystal base and a top available in three colours (white, greige and sand), this elegant, dimmable light seamlessly transitions from terrace to indoors.
£249, available from Lights.co.uk
‘Haute’ by Federico Peri for Purho
Designer Federico Peri’s ‘Haute’ portable light bridges innovation and tradition. Working with Murano glass artisans, Italian manufacturer Purho has been developing a new approach to an ancient craft. ‘Haute’ takes this collaborative method to the next level: Peri experimented with glass textures and minimal contemporary shapes to reinterpret the ancient craftsmanship traditions. The rechargeable glass lamp is the result of Peri’s research around the theme of glass engraving, with techniques such as banding, pleating and ribbed excavations creating three different models. Inside, the lamp’s technology merges with more artisanal marvels, with a multilayered coloured glass composition (called ‘murrina’) which adds depth to the illumination. The final effect, the designer explains, is like ’a soul is suspended inside’.
From £715, available from Artemest
‘Mūn’ rechargeable lantern by OEO Studio for Stellar Works
This rechargeable lamp’s design combines Asian aesthetic sensibilities with Danish design practice OEO’s signature timeless aesthetic, packaged in a practical portable lamp. Designed to be ‘playful, analogue and sculptural’, the ‘Mūn’ lantern’s design marries essential form and function and is part of a larger family of lighting accessories. Its name references the Japanese word for moon, and its sophisticated appearance mimics its subtle movement.
Price on request, stellarworks.com
‘Bontà’ by Davide Oldani for Artemide
The ultimate combination of light and gastronomy, chef Davide Oldani’s ‘Bontà’ light conceived for Artemide is intended as a tool for conviviality. The rechargeable light bottom is topped with bowls of different shapes and sizes, to combine serving food with illuminating the table. ‘Bontà is not a decorative element,’ says Oldani. ‘It creates an atmosphere, it supports and enhances food, it is open to welcome different shapes of containers.’
£658, available from Lights.co.uk
‘FollowMe’ by Inma Bermúdez for Marset
Portable in name and spirit, these classic rechargeable lamps by Inma Bemúdez for Marset comes back in a new palette of pastel hues. This small lantern’s playful spirit makes it a perfect indoor or outdoor lamp, adding a touch of after-dark whimsy and serenity.
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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