Place matters to people, especially when they’re far away from home. Andreas Müller has created a thoughtful little lamp that acknowledges this and also adds a little comforting interaction to the mix, too. His prototype lamp, called “North,” has a digital compass built into a dimmer inside it, so that when the lamp is “pointing” magnetic north, it glows the brightest. Turn the lamp in any direction from north, and the illumination gently dims.
Müller created “North” partly to assuage his own “terrible sense of direction,” but more importantly, “there is this idea that wherever you are, there are places, possibly far away, that are very important to you. Thinking about them brings up very intense feelings,” he tells Co.Design. “Whenever I think about them, even though I don’t know in which direction really they are, my mind places them in a certain direction — to make them less abstract perhaps, to give me the feeling that if I wanted to be there all I would need to do is to start walking in the direction. The lamp seemed like a nice way to give you a gentle reminder of this place.”
The fact that the lamp “points” north is entirely arbitrary — Müller hopes to design a newer version which can be programmed by the user to point in any direction they like. At the very least, it could be a great boon for Muslim travelers who need an easy way to orient themselves toward Mecca for evening prayers. But that faintly homesick feeling that Müller speaks of is an appealing “use case” all on its own — and even if “home is where the heart is” isn’t actually north, with this lamp on your nightstand you might be willing to just pretend.