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Little Sun Solar-powered Lantern

This is a Solar-powered Lantern. It was designed by Olafur Eliasson and Frederik Ottesen and manufactured by Little Sun. It is dated 2012 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is molded plastic, solar panel, led. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

The Little Sun is a small solar powered LED lamp that was developed by artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen to bring light to as many people as possible, particularly those in off-the-grid areas, acting as a poverty reduction strategy and a beacon of safety. In his art practice, Eliasson uses light and color as mediums to affect the way that people experience space and interact with one another. This Little Sun project extends this artistic interest to affect social change outside of the walls of the gallery and on a global scale. The lamp is bright yellow and shaped like a children’s drawing of what a sun might look like. Little Sun features a ventilated, efficient solar cell to keep its electronic components cool even while charging in the sun. The lamp makes possible two light levels, and after five hours of charging in the sun, it produces ten hours of soft light, or four hours of bright light. Little sun provides a healthier and more environmentally-friendly alternative to the kerosene lantern, the lighting device most often used in rural areas at night. Little Sun is also a social business that provides one little Sun to an off-grid African community at a nominal price for every full-price lamp it sells in the developed world. The cheerful, modern design and efficient charging componentry allows for an accessible, affordable lamp. The lamp has distribution in seven African countries as well as in the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia, and Japan.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II. It is credited Gift of George R. Kravis II.

  • Mount
  • Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council.
  • 1910-30-38-a,b
  • Beaker
  • glass.
  • Gift of the C. Helme and Alice B. Strater Collection.
  • 1976-1-42
  • CSYS Task Light
  • aluminum, copper, polycarbonate plastic, led light source.
  • Gift of Jake Dyson Products.
  • 2012-31-1

Our curators have highlighted 6 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Gilda Lamp
  • plastic, metal.
  • Gift of Anonymous Donor.
  • 1997-167-1
  • After Ancient Sunlight
  • raincoat on mannequin, book, infographics (2).
  • Courtesy of Charlotte McCurdy.
  • NATURE.018

Its dimensions are

H x diam.: 4.4 × 12.1 cm (1 3/4 × 4 3/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Little Sun Solar-powered Lantern; Designed by Olafur Eliasson and Frederik Ottesen; molded plastic, solar panel, led; H x diam.: 4.4 × 12.1 cm (1 3/4 × 4 3/4 in.); Gift of George R. Kravis II; 2016-5-23

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Energizing the Everyday: Gifts From the George R. Kravis II Collection.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Little Sun Solar-powered Lantern |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=17 May 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>