Rise of the Rechargeables: The Evolution of the Lantern

Modern and Contemporary Rechargeable Lights

Lanterns have been a portable light source since their use in antiquity.  The function was simply to provide a barrier around a light source - often a flame - protecting it from the elements.  These were available in a range of shapes and before the use of glass for the panes, often animal horn flattened into thin slices was used as these translucent "windows." For centuries, the fuel source was simply oil - in the 20th century, this became gases like butane and propane.  In the 21st century, the function of a lantern hasn't changed but essentially all of the materials used to create it are different.  The advent of rigid, translucent polycarbonate has supplanted the need for glass; rechargeable LEDs have supplanted the need for fuel and flame.

For those in love with the concept of a portable light, there now exists a range of fabulously innovative modern and contemporary options through several /category like Kartell, Ingo Maurer, Davide Groppi, Oluce, Promemoria, and Santa & Cole.

Kartell Battery Modern and Contemporary Rechargeable Lights

Kartell Lantern Modern and Contemporary Rechargeable Lights

Known for its pioneering use of polycarbonate, Kartell offers two portable rechargeable lamps - Battery (upper photo) and Lantern (lower photo).  Battery resembles a slender shaded lamp akin to the form that you'd see on a table at a restaurant. The latter was recently designed by Fabio Novembre and is now available in the US market.  While its shape conjures traditional historical lantern forms, its been thoroughly recontextualized with the designer's use of materials.

Ingo Maurer My New Flame Modern and Contemporary Rechargeable Lights

Ingo Maurer's My New Flame is an extraordinary marriage of materials and technology that truly engenders new aesthetics. This remarkable lighting design uses LED technology to mimic the illumination created by the fire.  The concept was enthusiastically introduced by Ingo Maurer in 2012.  The design process started with a video of the flame generated by a burning candle.  This moving image was pixelated and converted into data that was programmed into two sets of 128 LEDs located on either side of the slender rectilinear plate form.  A smart, random algorithm ensures that the sequence of movements doesn't repeat in order to mimic the natural behavior of the flame.  In the middle section of the plate there is a small button switch with which the LEDs can be dimmed.  The circuitry associated with enabling the lamp becomes a decorative pattern on one side of the lamp.

Oluce Cand LED Modern and Contemporary Rechargeable Lights

Like the aforementioned My New Flame, Italy's Oluce also celebrates the time-honored candle holder form with its Cand-Led.  Rather than cylindrical, the form is an attenuated rectilinear block of PMMA that rests upon an integrated plinth of brushed stainless steel that is shaped like a truncated cone.  Clearly inspired by the form and function of a candle, it preserves the same use (it can be transported anywhere), proportions (it is a vertical item that you can hold) and charm (a stylishly diffused light), but has a totally new design concept. Cand-Led is actually fitted with batteries so that it can recharged like a mobile phone and then be used as a mobile source of illumination for 6 - 8 hours.

Davide Groppi TeTaTeT Modern and Contemporary Rechargeable Lights

Italy's Davide Groppi has been a pioneer in the development of several rechargeable lights.  Noted here is TeTaTeT. The "secret" to TeTaTeT's seemingly precarious, gravity-defying balancing act is the clever use of a powerful magnet that is integrated within TeTaTeT's columnar base allowing the lamp - seemingly against all odds - to remain upright.  The lamp can be used in this fashion if its proposed resting surface is metal. For use on a non-metal surface, TeTaTeT also includes a separate metal disc that functions as a "landing pad" for the base. So strong is the magnetic attraction between disc and base that this thin-profile disc can be easily placed under a textile like a tablecloth to create the same gravity-defying effects.

Promemoria Fiametta Modern and Contemporary Rechargeable Lights

Santa Cole Cestita Bateria Modern and Contemporary Rechargeable Lights

Looking for a rechargeable light in super-luxe materials?  Fiametta by Romeo Sozzi for Italy's Promemoria provides a sophisticated and elegant dimmable option in bronze.  Similarly, Spanish manufacturer, Santa & Cole, has recently re-engineered one of its much loved lighting designs from the 1960s to create a fabulous rechargeable light.  Cestita Bateria retains the award-winning form and charm of the corded original, featuring a beautiful combination of wood and glass.

For more information about any of these rechargeable lights, please contact us at 404-605-0196 or info@switchmodern.com