Years ago I lived in a small apartment with a westward facing bedroom where, more often than not, the late afternoon sky would explode into a candy-colored gradient of pinks, oranges, reds and purple hues just before the sun gave way to the evening. I never tired of the glorious daily spectacle, one I especially miss now living in a northeast facing home, where sunsets are a rumor barely glowing over the hillside rather than a daily event to behold. Sunne, an ambient light, reminds me greatly of those picturesque solar events.
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Designer Marjan van Aubel conceived Sunne with a similar affection for the ephemeral moments when the sun rises or falls, alongside a desire to recreate the effect with autonomous power-efficiency in mind.
“I am fascinated by sunsets and sunrises as they contain so many beautiful colors,” says van Aubel, “Colors you can’t grasp as they are so transient. I wanted to grasp this magical moment in a natural way. Sunne was thus created as a self-powering light that mimics the suns transitions, a solar powered light designed to hang in the window.”
Just as Sunne derives its function from the sun, so is the light’s shape inspired by the celestial body itself. “The elongated shape of Sunne is ten circles aligned in a row,” explains van Aubel. The resulting design isn’t purely one of aesthetic symmetry, but also guided by a more practical reason: more surface area for Sunne’s solar panels.
Designed to hang in front of a window from two steel wires, once installed the Sunne’s 31.5-inch width subtly references the horizon while also charging up the light’s autonomous power source. Sunne’s array of solar cells were developed in partnership with ECN.TNO, one of the most advanced energy research centers in Europe.
During the day, Sunne is designed to soak in sun and store the energy in an integrated battery, which it then taps throughout the evening to cast a soft ambient light with three illumination settings to choose from: Sunne Rise, Sunne Light and Sunne Set.
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Sunne launched this month (March) on Kickstarter as Marjan van Aubel Studio’s first self-initiated product. Later this year, van Aubel also plans to present another sun-powered proposal of her making, a new solar roof as part of the Dutch Pavilion at the World Expo in Dubai.