As of earlier this month, IKEA will no longer simply be the practical destination for those with an appetite for affordable Swedish household items (and meatballs!), or simply the best location for having a devastating public argument with one’s partner over couches. On June 7, Icelandic-Dutch artist Olafur Eliasson turned up at IKEA headquarters to make the surprise announcement of a partnership between the home furnishings mega-brand and his five-year-old, Berlin-based sustainability company focused on solar-power initiatives, Little Sun.
“Little Sun makes solar energy tangible and your world a little bit more sustainable,” said Eliasson, in a statement released by Little Sun. “We are excited to collaborate with IKEA, raising awareness for energy access and the need for global togetherness. Together, we want to connect the world by sharing the power of the sun with everyone.”
The artist turned up wearing a Little Sun solar-powered sunflower LED lamp around his neck — a product developed in collaboration with engineer Frederik Ottesen that can provide up to 50 hours of light after only five hours of solar-charging, with endurance based on brightness setting. The lamps have already been distributed to 10 sub-Saharan African countries, driven by Little Sun’s interest in addressing the needs of some one billion citizens worldwide who live without regular access to electricity. Little Sun also distributes a solar-powered phone charger and a pocket-sized light called Little Sun Diamond.
Presumably, there are many advantages to the partnership for Little Sun, which will now be able to leverage IKEA’s international network. Eliasson has long been interested in light and weather, as with his 2003 installation at the Tate Modern, The Weather Project, which fabricated a kind of interior sun, using 100 mono-frequency lights and other materials. With the impact of human civilization beginning to have marked effects on the weather, it makes sense that Little Sun is interested in using IKEA’s capacity for development and distribution to further the reach of their sustainable energy projects. For IKEA, in addition to the cache of being able to promote products designed by an internationally recognized artist, there is perhaps the potential to grab some untapped market share among off-the-grid types looking to decorate their apocalypse bunkers and stylishly outfit their go-bags.
No need to pack up your long-distance bike and head for your local IKEA just yet — the first products will not be revealed until 2019 — but with this fascinating partnership, the future of sustainable design for off-the-grid living just got a little bit brighter!
Ceramic fried eggs, critiques of real estate, and a whole booth dedicated to female-identifying saints caught my eye at Untitled, NADA, and Art Miami.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office recovered 23 looted objects from Shelby White’s home over the last year and a half.
The award-winning Canadian artist explores notions of power through the imagery of science fiction in portraits, sculpture, and objects.
An egregious “anti-woke” billboard erected in Los Angeles attempts to sow division among Latino/a/x communities.
This week, missed signs of previous life on Mars, the appeal of forged art, and why are blue whales singing in lower octaves?
This affordable, interdisciplinary program with excellent facilities and private studios offers in-person instruction for 2023.
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed forcefully posits multiple parallels between the world Nan Goldin grew up in and the one she fights in today.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very Los Angeles art events this month, including Bob Thompson, Aimee Goguen, Uta Barth, the Transcendental Painting Group, and more.
The latest episode of this documentary series on PBS explores the meaning of home through handmade objects, hand built homes, and the artists who create them.
There is the singular artist and then there is the more exclusive club that has only one member. Harvey belongs to the latter.
The artists say the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma must sever ties with Poju Zabludowicz, whose wealth comes in part from Israeli defense contracting.
Rhode Island School of Design opens registration for its residential summer Pre-College program and year-round online intensive Advanced Program Online.
Vanessa Albury, whose eco-friendly ceramic sculptures help revive filter-feeder populations, is raising funds to complete her first film about the project.
An archeological exploration of the amphitheater’s sewers and water systems uncovered remnants of meat, vegetables, olives, nuts, and yes, pizza.