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A Futuristic Lantern You Can Take Anywhere

What would happen if you mixed the Jawbone Jambox with a Coleman lantern? You’d get the Vela.

Last year, Twisthink designer Joe VanFaasen bought a 1967 Airstream trailer. He took his family camping once before the season got too cold. And in the off season, he starting shopping for more gear–namely a lantern they could use in and out of the trailer.

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His search came up dry. And so he and his team created the light of his dreams called the Vela (Spanish for “candle”), a working concept that will likely go into production soon.

What VanFaasen had discovered in his lantern search was that classic Coleman kerosenes were beautiful omni-purpose tools, but they were also an indoor fire hazard that put out carbon monoxide. Most modern lanterns were a variety of cheesy Coleman knock-offs with blue-tinged LED lights, while every other portable light tended to be quite tactical: A flashlight, a headlight, a cliplight that were designed to illuminate just one tiny area.

Another industry recently faced a similar problem–portable speakers. Headphones were often effective but too personal, tiny speakers sounded unpleasant, and every other speaker was essentially a permanent fixture. VanFaasen recognized a parallel. So technically and idealistically, the Vela resembles a Jawbone Jambox as much as it does a Coleman lantern. It’s a portable solution made to enable a spontaneous social experience.


“It doesn’t have to be the brightest light or the lightest-weight, but it does have to be enjoyable to be around, be capable and be flexible,” VanFaasen explains.

Its industrial design is intentionally generic because it’s not meant to function only as a camping light. The Vela charges on its base and can then be dropped wherever it’s needed–a front porch, beside a child’s bed–without clashing with its environment. That said, Vela can still make quite the statement: Through a Bluetooth-connected smartphone, you can change its color to nearly any you can imagine. Plus, if you have as many as six Vela lights in the same space, they can work in sync.

In this sense, VanFaasen calls the Vela a “social light.” It’s designed not to drive our behavior in one direction, but to cater itself to the changing dynamics of human needs in a space. And in turn, it’s a concept that’s gotten a lot of attention. In fact, while Twisthink had been planning to fund the Vela through Kickstarter–and has teased it for months–several major companies have reached out about putting the product into production, changing Twisthink’s plans. To stay apprised to the actual release, you can subscribe to email updates over on their site.

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day

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