For the 1.6 billion people who lack access to electricity, being able to harness the power of the sun can be, quite literally, a matter of life and death. Which is why Little Sun, a solar powered lamp designed by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson gets major kudos from us. Together with engineer Frederik Ottesen, Eliasson has conceived the Little Sun project as both a device and a social justice endeavor that helps bring affordable light to communities outside the electrical grid while benefitting local businesses. Recognized by London’s Design Museum as a 2013 Designs of the Year finalist, Little Sun can be hung on a wall, used as a table lamp or transported easily, and emits an evening’s worth of light when fully powered. Dust proof and UV and heat resistant, its brilliant yellow sunflower-shaped form is also beguilingly hopeful—much like a beam of sunlight piercing a dark sky.
Photos: Design Museum