Designer, Aritst: Frederik Ottesen and Olafur Eliasson
Title: Little Sun
Year created: Release date 2012
Location: Little Suns have been distributed in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Senegal, Ethiopia, and South Africa, as well as in the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan.
Materials: Solar Panels, LED lights.
What is the piece’s impact? The playful piece is able to provide ten times more light at a tenth of the cost of the most common wick-based lantern, making a more sustainable source of energy accessible to more people. Since it was launched at London’s Tate Modern in 2012, the Little Sun project has distributed over 165,000 lamps worldwide.
How does this project relate to this change as art? This is a product developed by a “social business focused on getting clean, reliable, affordable light to the 1.6 billion people worldwide without access to electricity.” (Source) They do not distribute the pieces freely, but rather help to distribute using existing businesses. Pricing is influenced by the location of purchase – purchases in areas with easier access to electricity (e.g. EU, USA) help to subsidize lower prices in areas where electricity is less accessible.
What makes this an artistic project? This project appears to be more of a social business/design project, led in part by an artist, Olafur Eliasson. “Light is for everyone – it determines what we do and how we do it. This is why Frederik Ottesen and I have developed the solar-powered lamp Little Sun. One part of the artwork is the lamp and the activities it enables. The other is the successful distribution of Little Sun in off-grid communities, its journey from production to usage.” (source)
Note: there are a number of fantastic projects associated with the Little Sun, you can find them here.