We first encountered Little Sun at the Roppongi Art Night event in Tokyo when the entrance of the Mori Art Museum was covered with myriads of little lights, an unusual mix of a sunflower and a firefly. Little Sun is a unique artistic product, which sets a new standard for the vision of contemporary art today by putting an artistic design in the framework of an important social cause.
Created by a renowned artist Olafur Eliasson and first presented to public at the World Economic Forum on Africa in 2012, Little Sun is a portable lamp which offers safe and sustainable light you can take with you wherever you go. However, this little product has a lot more to offer than just a source of light. Little Sun is an ambitious global social project aimed at sharing light with those areas of the world which highly need it.
Today more than a billion people live in remote areas of the world without electricity, such as Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Gaining access to a reliable and affordable light source has become a crucial problem in these regions.
In response to this critical issue artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Fredrik Ottesen developed Little Sun solar-powered lamp to help provide people living without electricity in the so called ‘off-grid’ zones with a source of a clean light. This clean light becomes a safe and cheaper alternative to the kerosene lanterns commonly used in the areas.
Little sun boasts a unique combination of an artistic design, innovative engineering and a beautiful concept, which have made it already a very popular item around the world. Centre Pompidou featured Little Sun in its permanent design collection, and it was also nominated for a Design of the Year Award in 2013. Little sun needs 5 hours of charging in the sun to produce from 4 to 10 hours of light depending on its level of brightness.
Every Little Sun sold in those parts of the world with access to electricity partly subsidies the cost of Little Sun in those communities which lack electricity. So, by buying Little Sun, you are not only getting an artwork of Olafur Eliasson, whose critically acclaimed works have appeared in and been collected by major museums around the world for many years, you are also making a significant contribution to someone’s quality of life.
As of today Little Sun is available in more than 10 African countries as well as in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and Asia. So far Little Sun has sold just under 300,000 worldwide, half of which went to areas without electricity.
If you wish to add something sustainable to your design objects collection and make a difference with your passion for art, you’ll be pleased to know that Little Sun can be purchased in various museum shops around the world including MoMA Design Store, Tate Modern, Serpentine Gallery, Foundation Louis Vuitton, MACBA, Hamburger Banhof, New Museum and many others. Let it be one of those rare cases when museum shopping won’t make you feel guilty!