Adjustable task lights that don’t look like the Pixar mascot are hard to come by.
But now there’s the Echo Lamp. Created by German designer Simon Busse for furniture brand Caussa, the sleek lamp comes with a stack of modular features. The LED head rotates 360 degrees. It can also be adjusted up and down along a two-pronged stand. And, best of all, it’s gesture-controlled, so you don’t have to fumble for the switch dangling behind your desk (a personal pet peeve). The lamp retails for €379 (around $412) in Europe and will soon be available in the U.S., via Collect.Studio, although the price has yet to be set.
Unlike the Pixar lamp—and the slew of desk lamps available on the market—the Echo lamp doesn’t immediately telegraph its functionality. In other words, it doesn’t scream “you can fold me,” relying instead on elegant, intuitive design to take you there organically.
Much of the lamp’s adjustability stems from its clever structure. Inspired by the shape of a tuning fork, it comes with a vertical slit that allows the LED head to slide up and down. All you have to do is gently loosen the hinge, adjust the height, and tighten it back up. Busse is now working on a similar mechanism for a floor lamp and clip light.
The gesture-control system allows you to turn the lamp on and off with a simple hand movement. (To dim the lights, you’d simply hover your hand for longer.) Busse says getting this part right was tricky because customers aren’t yet used to gesture-controlled devices and they might not understand how to turn the lamp on. “You first need to learn it,” he says. A soft blue light flattens the learning curve, blinking the minute you put your hand under the light source. “You understand it reacts to your hands,” says Busse. It also helps you know when you’ve reached either end of the dimming spectrum.
Electronics aside, the lamp is made of three materials only: metal for the base and the stand, aluminum for the head, and acrylic glass to help diffuse the light. The reason behind the aluminum is both simple and genius: Anyone who’s ever tried to adjust a lamp head after it’s been on for five minutes knows it’s impossible because it gets too hot. Like the foil on your pizza, which doesn’t come out of the oven hot, the aluminum case can’t hold a lot of heat and keeps the lamp cool to the touch.
The market is chock-full of lighting options, but a good lamp is hard to find. The Echo offers a valuable lesson that, frankly, should find its way across many other design sectors: keep it simple, and make it intuitive.