Can an artist save the world? Olafur Eliasson is the latest star to bet "yes." The Danish-Icelandic artist is best known for absorptive environmental installations like his "Weather Project" at the Tate Modern, an immense — and immensely popular — indoor sun. Now he's using his tech know-how and his mastery of all things luminous to brighten up the planet. His new company, LittleSun, unveiled earlier this month, aims to bring solar-powered solutions to underdeveloped regions of the world. His first design is a hand-sized, pinwheel-shaped yellow lamp. Not only can it hang anywhere, from the desk to the dinner table, but its wearable construct allows a user to recharge its batteries as he goes about his daily outdoor activities.
Next on the drafting table for LittleSun: a solar-powered battery, radio, phone charger, and a larger light. Through mass production, Eliasson will be able to distribute his arty eco-designs worldwide — making Damien Hirst’s English proposed village of eco-houses look like a drop in the proverbial formaldahyde tank.