posted by Nicolas Roy, VELUX Group

The winners of the Natural Light – International Design Competition have now been selected among the 172 impressive Natural Light Lamp designs submitted from 65 countries around the world.  The winners are two very talented Argentinian Industrial Design students, Ms. Mariana Arando and Mr. Luca Fondello, both from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The production phase of the winning design for the Natural Light Lamp will begin shortly, followed next year by shipment of the lamps to three African countries without access to electricity.

Last year, the VELUX Group and Little Sun joined forces to launch the Natural Light – International Design Competition, which challenged design students around the world to create a design for a solar lamp which would help to bring clean, reliable, affordable light to some of the 1.2 billion people worldwide living without electricity. Now the jury has voted and decided on the winning solar lamp design by two Industrial Design students from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

“We are very excited to have won the Natural Light-International Design Competition. Winning such a competition could represent a huge opportunity for our future careers.  We are so anxious to see our design and concept for the Natural Light solar lamp when it has been produced and serves its purpose. We liked the idea of helping and empowering people who do not have electricity and that was our primary motivating factor throughout the whole process.  We are also glad that our lamp will be produced in 14,500 units and sent to Africa, where it can do some good for many families,” said Ms. Mariana Arando and Mr. Luca Fondello, Industrial Design students at the University of Buenos Aires.

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The jury members were very impressed by the creativity, innovation and thoughtfulness of the winning design.

Providing access to light is not only about answering a functional need. It is also about understanding the intimate link between energy and our aspirations, our common global desire for happiness. I strongly believe that these two aspects of design must always be seen as one. The winning design addresses both – and more: it understands that holding energy in your hand makes you feel empowered. This design is empowering says Artist Olafur Eliasson, Founder of Little Sun and Chairman of the Natural Light jury.

14,500 Natural Light lamps will be produced, based on the competition’s winning design, and distributed by the NGO Plan International in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Senegal in late 2015 and early 2016. The aim is to deliver sustainable, solar-powered light to people living in areas without electricity, through a program that involves and empowers local communities.

“As part of the VELUX Group’s Model Company Objective we are committed to providing areas in Africa with no access to electricity with light – thus giving back to society. We are a company built on knowledge of light, and we use our expertise where we believe it will have the greatest impact. As part of our 75th anniversary, we are glad to be able to donate 14,500 affordable and sustainable solar lamps empower people with sustainable light in African regions. The winning design is not only perfect from an aesthetic point of view but is also very well thought through conceptually, so we are confident that the lamp will be useful and provide the light we intended,” says Michael K. Rasmussen, Marketing Director of the VELUX Group. 

The winning designers

The winners of the Natural Light – International Design Competition, Ms. Mariana Arando, (22 years old), and Mr. Luca Fondello, (23 years old), both live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and are studying Industrial Design together at the University of Buenos Aires (FADU, Department of Architecture, Design and Urban Planning). Both students are very committed to their education, while also remaining open to wider learning from exciting projects and gaining new experiences from competitions such as this.

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Distribution of the Natural Light lamp

Plan International will distribute the lamps. The distribution model employed is very similar in concept to micro loans, in which small local entrepreneurs who cannot obtain loans under normal circumstances due to a lack of steady income or collateral are offered small loans that can help get their businesses started.  To help kick-off sales, these entrepreneurs will initially receive a stock of Natural Light lamps for free. Once they have sold their stock, the result is a profit for themselves and also the capital to purchase additional lamps to sell: establishing their own self-sustaining small businesses.

Celebration at the 6th VELUX Daylight Symposium in London on 2-3 September

As a special event at this year’s Daylight Symposium, the prize winner of the Natural Light competition will present the design of their solar lamp. In addition, Olafur Eliason – renowned for his works of art engaging the broader public sphere, founder Little Sun and chairman of the Natural Light competition – will be giving a speech for the occasion. Find more information about VELUX Daylight Symposium.

About the Natural Light – International Design Competition

The competition encouraged young and talented design students to create a special edition solar lamp in honor of the 75th anniversary of the holding group behind VELUX, VKR Holding. The Natural Light Project was launched to mark the milestone of the VELUX Group’s work in improving living conditions around the world by bringing daylight into people’s homes. The VELUX Group collaborated with Little Sun, which is a social business and a global project founded by internationally-renowned artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen, to bring clean, sustainable light to people in areas of the world without electricity.