Electricity made mankind independent of the natural light. A flick of a switch – and the room is filled with bright uniform illumination. However, these days more often than not people turn to the beauty and tranquility of natural sunlight. A gentle warm morning glow is perfect for waking up, a bright daylight for focus, and the orange and red hues of a sunset is something we need to unwind, relax and go to sleep in the evenings. Inspired by Nature, product designers develop light sources that help support our circadian rhythm and mimic the transitions of the sun.
London-based design studio Haberdashery has developed Dawn to Dusk, a series of lamps with circular light sources that change colour as they move up and down evoking the rising and setting sun. The range includes table and floor standing lamps and a functional wall-mounted task light, which are conceived as an exploration of new ways to interact with light.
Dawn to Dusk gives the user an opportunity to lift the sun from below the horizon and place it in the sky. This can be adjusted by manually sliding the flat diffused light source up and down a central black stem, which is mounted on a weighty triangular base, to create a warm ambience and set the mood for the specific time of day.
As the disc rises up the stem, the colour of the light transitions from a low-intensity deep, rich reds and orange, into peach hues then through to the white light of midday. It also be rotated 360 degrees so that the lamp can be used both as a forward-facing task light or, if rotated to face the wall, an ambience light source.
Controlled by custom-designed mechanical and electrical components, the adjustable lamps do not feature any cables and are free of traditional on/off switches: the light source sits in an off position when at the base of the stem.
As part of The Mindcraft Project 2021, Danish designer Mette Schelde has developed Ombre Light, a lamp that captures the effect of sunlight glowing through clouds.
A functional light source is placed centrally behind a circular pane of glass that features a gradient from light to dark blue printed directly on the rear. The disc radiates outwards from a pale centre to an indigo edge, reminiscent of clouds filtering sunlight. The diffused illumination creates a sensory reaction within the body.
The piece combines traditional materials with a newer technology. The strength of illumination on the Ombre Light is controlled using a small cylindrical dimmer switch located in the middle of the piece. Interacting with the lamp in this way is meant to create a tactile connection to light.
Fascinated by the transient beauty of sunsets and sunrises, Amsterdam-based solar designer Marjan van Aubel has created a self-powering light that mimics the sun’s transitions. Designed to hang freely from two steel wires in the window, this solar-powered lamp named Sunne grasps these magical moments in a natural way.
Sunne harvests solar energy by day, stores it in an integrated battery and transmits the serene glow of ambient light by night. The three illumination settings — Sunne Rise, Sunne Light, and Sunne Set — aim to mimic the colours visible at sunrise, during daylight, and at sunset.