World’s largest furniture company, IKEA is stepping into the solar department. IKEA has announced a partnership with a Berlin-based solar company, Little Sun during IKEA’s 2018 Democratic Design Days a few weeks ago.
Olafur Eliasson, a renowned and celebrated Icelandic-Dutch artist, is the man behind the ‘bright’ idea and also the owner of Little Sun, a 5-year-old company focussed on solar energy and sustainability.
“We can amplify our message through the muscles of IKEA,” said Eliasson. “We’re excited about the robustness of the research, the talent, the material sourcing and the science that is inside of IKEA.”
He came wearing a little sunflower lamp around his neck. The lamp consists of LED lights powered by the sun. After charging for just 5 hours, the lamp can give out light for up to 50 hours. It is designed by Little Sun in collaboration with engineer Frederik Ottesen. Little Sun has other products as well like solar-powered phone charger and Little Sun Diamond, a pocket-sized light.
The sunflower lamps are already popular, especially in Africa. These lamps are providing light in countries with no regular supply of electricity like Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Ghana. Around 1 billion people out of 7.6 billion people in the world, do not have access to uninterrupted power. Little Sun’s products are designed to provide ”off-the-grid” sustainable solutions to people in need.
“We’re going to focus on solar power from the very beginning, but what we aim to do in the future with ‘off-the-grid’ is to take on things like water and communication,” Eliasson said.
IKEA is going further than being just a Swedish furniture giant. They are taking sustainability into account. With IKEA ’s international connectivity and fame, the new products are bound to make heads turn. Although the product will not be ready till 2019, it has already created significant buzz.
“The challenge is really how to emotionalize that,” Eliasson said. “We need to give ‘energy’ shape…. It has to be amazing. It’s about activating people to take a more active step.”