LED technology allows us to watch thin TVs and drive cars with fancy headlamps. But the compact, cooler, and energy-efficient light source also frees up designers to do entirely new things with illumination.
Designers like Kenneth and Edmund Ng, for instance. Since 2002, the brothers have been using LEDs to take light fixtures in entirely new directions.
Their firm, Koncept, is most famous for its Z-Bar LED task light. Later, the brothers penned fold-up wall sconces, thin overhead lamps, and colorful freestanding light bars—all thanks to LEDs.
Take, for instance, the Mr. Go!—a battery-powered outdoor lantern and USB charger that’s going on sale in November. A thin blade of light, its curved, minimalist shape can either sit on a surface or hang from a tree branch or umbrella.
It’s useful, too: The battery can last between five and 20 hours, depending on brightness, and you can fully charge your phone twice through an included USB outlet. In fact, I was so taken with it when I saw it at the Dwell on Design show in Los Angeles, I immediately decided I'd buy one as a wedding gift for an outdoorsy-yet-modern coworker.
While a $200 price tag also outshines some simpler lanterns like the $30 Mr. Beams, the new lamp from Koncept serves a design function as well as a practical one.