Sparks of inspiration: the latest trends in mobile illumination

Many countries have started to phase out incandescent light bulbs in recent years. This trend has sparked heated debate around the world – but it has also led to an innovation spurt.
Light-emitting diodes – or LEDs for short – have become more efficient since then, and this has begun to inspire designers and manufacturers. Modern LEDs are now often found in devices that we can carry in our pockets or bags.
In 2014, designer Inma Bermudez was one of the first to create a mobile LED lamp, the FollowMe, made from polycarbonate and a wooden frame. Since then, a host of other designers have also brought out new and innovative products.
Manufacturer Gloster has introduced a line of cable-free devices by the designer Henrik Pedersen. It has two lamps in its outdoor light collection: the Ambient Cocoon, made from polycarbonate and teak; and the Nest, made from synthetic materials and stainless steel. Both lamps are perfect for generating the perfect atmosphere outdoors.
Modern light technology has also breathed new life into products that are over 50 years old. The Cestita table lamp by Santa & Cole was designed in 1962, but the latest version is cable-free.
The lamp is 36 centimetres tall and resembles a glowing cocoon. It’s available in two materials, glass or plastic, housed inside a handmade wooden frame. Thanks to a handle, the re-chargeable lamp is easy to transport.
“The portable Cestita is an example of function matched with balance as well as our tradition of handmade goods,” says Miguel Mila, who designed the original lamp. “Thanks to modern technology, this latest version has improved in terms of function. Nevertheless, it remains as warm and approachable as any of the products in our range of lamps.”
Another example is the Firefly, designed by Alexander Ahnebrink for De Padova. Ahnebrink has plenty of experience in integrating new technologies into his work and has designed several radios. But his mobile re-chargeable lamp does not look especially modern and resembles a thermos flask.
The lamp switches itself on as soon as it’s tipped to a 30-degree angle or placed horizontally. Its battery is recharged using a USB port and has power for about three hours of light.
Alfredo Haeberli’s design for Astep, meanwhile, conjures up images of Asian lamps crossed with a pile of geometrical children’s toys. His lamp is called Nox, the Latin word for “night.” It can be recharged without a cable and has capacity for about 15 hours of light.
It can also be dimmed using a very discreet switch. “My intention was to create an innovative as well as a playful object,” explains Haeberli. “Nox can be used both inside and outside.”
Modern materials have also made it possible to create lamps in more varied shapes. The designers at Studio Natural used silicone to make their Cri-Cri lamp not only mobile but foldable as well. In this way, they have combined two trends in design: mobility and minimisation. — dpa