Let There Be (Inexpensive, Solar) LightVootie (1598 pencils) | Fri, 2013-01-25 17:23
You might think that creative communicators spanning the fields of the visual arts and design are busy these days just trying to keep their heads above water. And while staying financially afloat amongst current economic conditions is admittedly a challenge, there is no shortage of creatives' attention being devoted to helping solve the problems of those less fortunate. Sometimes this falls within a corporate framework, such as the Sappi Ideas That Matter program, which has to date funded more than 500 design-driven programs, adding up to $12 million in support of causes supporting the social good — that quaint concept that refuses to die.
But individuals from the visual arts and design communities are also launching their own initiatives. One of the most striking of these is Little Sun, a joint project by artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen. Eliasson is a Danish-Icelandic artist known for his sculptures and large-scale installation art employing elemental materials such as light, water and air temperature. Struck by the fact that 1.6 billion people have no access to the electrical grid, in conjunction with his engineer partner he developed a solar powered light that's broadly useful and inexpensive to produce. The idea was to replace the expensive, unhealthy kerosene lamps that are still widespread. Little Sun is said to save 90% over three years, compared to kerosene, and delivers an evening of light after just five hours of charging.
The partners apparently based the business model of the enterprise on Nobel Peace Prize laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus’ Seven Principles of Social Business. This provided a framework that took the lights from the "nice idea" stage to actually getting them in the hands of the people that would most benefit from them. To that end the initiative supplies off-grid businesses with Little Sun lamps at a reduced rate and provide retailers with the support they need to make a profit.
How can you help? Simply purchasing one of the lights from the Little Sun site helps keep the price of the lamps low in off-grid areas. Oh, and that Little Sun logo? It was designed and contributed to the project by powerhouse brand consultants Wolff Olins.
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