Meeting Little Sun:
A Work of Art that Works in Life
Little Sun is a charming, joyous, high-quality solar-powered LED lamp developed by the world-renowned Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen. Little Sun is also a socially engaged business, focused on getting clean, reliable and affordable light to the 1.6 billion people globally that are without access to electricity. Additionally, Little Sun is a global project, with the ambition to connect the world through sharing light.
Since its launch at Tate Modern in London, in the summer of 2012, over 165.000 Little Sun lamps have been distributed globally. The company isn’t a charity; the business focuses on a long-term goal to assist in developing profitable businesses in local communities where the access to electricity is scarce.
The Little Sun lamps are fitted with the world’s most effective solar cell, which are manufactured by the leading solar producing company in the industry, SunPower. This, along w 3 AAA rechargeable batteries, distinctly engineered electronics that stay cool while charging in the sun, allow for five hours of sunlight to convert into three hours of bright solar powered light from the Little Sun lamp.
Since its launch at Tate Modern in London, in the summer of 2012, over 165.000 Little Sun lamps have been distributed globally. With current circulation in seven African countries, including: Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Senegal, Ethiopia and South Africa, as well as in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and the EU, the Little Sun project is ever growing. The company isn’t a charity; the business focuses on a long-term goal to assist in developing profitable businesses in local communities where the access to electricity is scarce.
A business with the global aim to address the need for light: Little Sun achieves this by using sustainable means, benefiting communities by job-creation and generating profit locally – ultimately contributing to efforts of regeneration in these communities. By strengthening communities that do not have regular access to electricity through training young local entrepreneurs to join as Little Sun sales agents, Little Sun provides the tools for further distribution of clean, solar powered energy. The initiative also creates opportunities for new business to flourish in off-grid areas, where both light and this type of boost in the local economy is desired. The Little Sun project lays out key points in their mission, which fall in line with the Millennium Development Goals, distinguished by the United Nations. These goals include poverty eradication, access to education, gender equality, health and environmental sustainability. An example of this is that by using Little Sun lamps people avoid using kerosene, drastically lowering their CO2 emissions as well as saving income.
Being a project which bridges the worlds of sustainable business and design: Little Sun supports the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, as well as recently being introduced into the prestigious Parisian museum Centre Pompidou’s permanent design collection. In addition to this, Little Sun was nominated for the Design Museum’s 2013 Designs of the Year Award.
The artist Olafur Eliasson is known for his ground breaking large installations such as The weather project, 2003 – Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, 2007 – London and The New York City Waterfalls, 2008 – New York. His practice includes large-scale installations and architectural endeavours as well as a vast artistic oeuvre that encompasses sculpture, painting, film and photography. Very often the artist employs light and plays with human perspective in his work. With the Little Sun project the artist is pushing boundaries even further, creating a platform for an artistic design object with an admirable goal and an even greater purpose.