Imagine, as a manufacturer, that your potential market is two billion consumers worldwide. This almost inconceivable figure is the ultimate scale of d.light’s ambition, a consumer-products company set up by a pair of social entrepreneurs in 2007 to design and product lighting solutions for the one in four people on this planet who live without electricity. With two million lives already positively affected by d.light’s innovative solar-powered lamps and counting, the company’s story is only just beginning. Architonic spoke to co-founder and CEO Sam Goldman about this life-changing project.
The Rosetta Stone. A penny defaced by a British suffragette. A credit card. A recent BBC radio series entitled ‘A History of the World’ sought to explore how societal changes worldwide have, at various points in history, been precipitated by and reflected in material culture by presenting 100 objects, diverse in terms of type and provenance, from the British Museum’s collection. ‘What do the objects that we design and make tell us about ourselves?’ was, in short, the central question that the project posed.
The final programme in the series focused on, what is at first glance, a rather unassuming piece of kit. A portable solar lamp and charger. The show’s presenter Neil MacGregor’s somewhat poetic description of the product’s function – ‘It’s sunshine. Captured, harvested and stored. To be taken out and used whenever and wherever we need it’ – certainly served to sex up the object to a degree, but doesn’t in itself do justice to the remarkable global importance of this, at least visually, rather humble design. In a world of superfluous, questionable products, this one is truly needed.
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