When COVID struck, suddenly it seemed like everyone was working from home. We invested in new furniture like task chairs and desks to get through our days on Zoom more comfortably. Now, as many offices have only half-reopened, it looks likely that many people will keep working this way—at least part time—for the foreseeable future.
But for that balance to be mentally sustainable, we all need better cues about when it’s time to work, and when it’s time to relax.
Aim is a new collection of lamps developed by Smart Design for the sustainable lighting brand Gantri, and it’s built around just this premise. Aim is a line of two-stage lamps. In one mode, they provide sharp, directional lighting for reading documents or working with your hands. In the other, the light is aimed down or bounced against a wall, providing a diffuse pool of light that will make you want to curl up at night with a blanket, hygge-style. All you have to do is twist a knob and slide the light around to swap from one mode to another.
Nowhere is this ethos more clear than the Aim Task Light ($298). A task light is typically designed for a desk, so it swivels and bends in the middle, to float the light wherever you want it over your work. The Aim Task Light does all of this, too. But at night, you can rotate the light all the way into its base. The lines between the base and lampshade flow seamlessly—except for one small gap from which the light emanates.
Another goal of Aim lighting was that it could easily move around your home throughout the day, allowing you to not just transform a space from work to rest, but also to actually re-architect your interior.
“When you’re at work, you go to your desk . . . at home, that’s not where work always happens,” says Dan Grossman, design director at Smart Design. “We talked to people, surveyed people, had friends and family take photos of where they were working from. And more often than not it was a couch, or a kitchen table or island.”
The Aim Table Light ($228) responds to this idea. It can be plugged in as a typical table lamp wherever you want to work. But once your work is done, you can reposition the shade using the large handle on top, and the lamp transforms into a lantern, complete with light diffusing through its base to create a soft glow. (Though it’s not battery operated, so you’ll still have to plug it in wherever you land.)
The last two lamps are similarly agnostic to their placement. The Aim Clamp Light ($198) clips onto a bookshelf or other surface to create either an impromptu or permanent work space. And the Aim Floor Light ($398) creates new functionality through its height. This lamp is shorter than a typical floor lamp, so you can actually reach it and make adjustments while sitting at a couch. Ergonomically, it’s meant to work like a lamp you’d place on a side table. But since it requires no side table, you can easily move it, placing the lamp wherever you’d like to work next. (Ironically, Aim’s overall mobility closely mirrors what we’re seeing in the latest dedicated office furniture.)
“It’s really about thinking about who the end user is,” says Ian Yang, founder and CEO of Gantri. “People are spending more time at home, trying to use every corner of their home to do things. Maybe it’s work, creativity, a side project . . . with this collection, they can use these spaces in a way that works for them, not the other way around.”