Our Story

Our artist-designed, premium solar products and our social business model benefit communities without electricity worldwide. Founded in 2012 by artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen and launched at London’s Tate Modern, we believe in the power of sustainable light and energy to transform lives, especially those 1.1 billion of us who live without access to energy. We are all connected by our need for light, energy and happiness. And we are all connected by the sun. Our Berlin team is based at Studio Olafur Eliasson.

A global project and a social business

What started as a humble idea to create a small, portable solar lamp for people without electricity in Ethiopia is now a global project that has changed over a million lives through the awesome power of the sun. We strengthen communities from the inside by creating local jobs and generating local profits through our local partners and network of young, African entrepreneurs. For every high-quality solar product sold in an area with electricity, one of our partners or entrepreneurs sells a similar product in their part of the world without electricity at a fair, locally affordable price.

“Our actions have consequences for the world. Little Sun is a wedge that opens up the urgent discussion about bringing sustainable energy to all from the perspective of art to raise awareness about the unequal distribution of energy today.”

Olafur Eliasson, Founder of Little Sun

Why is access to light and energy so important?

Access to clean light and energy are key to human existence. Today there are 1.1 billion people worldwide living without access to the electrical grid, meaning their basic needs are not being met. Without access to these vital resources, the structure of entire communities is affected. Education levels drop, as children cannot study after sunset. Working hours are limited to daytime and income is reduced. Medical care, such as delivering babies at night, becomes more dangerous to provide.  The quality of time together cooking and socialising is compromised.

 


 

Why solar?

As Little Sun founder Olafur Eliasson says, solar power is holding hands with the sun, and we believe that holding hands with the sun is holding hands with the future. We see solar as one solution to a cleaner planet and a way to achieve global energy access for all. Solar is on track to becoming the cheapest form of sustainable energy within the next few years, making it also the most economically accessible form of energy for everyone.

Olafur Eliasson and Frederik Ottesen debut Little Sun at the World Economic Forum in AfricaMay 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Little Sun launches at Tate Modern with a full programme of events – Sunlight Graffiti, Tate Blackouts and the premiere of the Little Sun Films seriesSeptember 2012 in London, UK
Little Sun receives quality assurance certificate from the World Bank’s Lighting AfricaNovember 2012
A ‘Little Sun Garden’ sprouts at COP18 (UN Climate Change Conference)November 2012 in Doha, Qatar
A Christmas collaboration with Italian department store la Rinascente enables the opening of the first off-grid Little Sun shopsDecember 2012 in Italy and Worldwide
Official Senegalese launch of Little Sun with an exhibition at RAW GalleryFebruary 2013 in Dakar, Senegal
Imagine Burundi-Terimbere Foundation opens the first Little Sun shop in BurundiMay 2013 in Bujumbura, Burundi
Constance Ntese becomes our first Little Sun sales agent in the regionJune, 2013 in Khayelitsha township, South Africa
Little Sun becomes available at MoMA Design Store locations in New York City and Tokyo – and in MoMA’s online shopAugust 2013 in the New York, USA and Tokyo, Japan
Olafur Eliasson leads the audience in a filmed Little Sun performance at Sustainia Award CeremonyNovember 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Little Sun lights up the Fondation Beyeler booth at Art Basel Miami Beach, as well as a Little Sun kiosk at YoungArtsDecember 2013 in Miami Beach, USA
Little Sun rocks California’s Coachella Festival at the #AbsolutLittleSun Bar, featuring a popular Sunlight Graffiti boothApril 2014 in Indio, USA
Little Sun receives a $5 million impact investment from Bloomberg PhilanthropiesApril 2014
A Little Sun Pop-Up Shop brings light near the Arctic Circle and sells out of lamps due to high demandAugust 2014 in Reykjavík, Iceland
Little Sun reaches an important milestone – over 200,000 lamps sold worldwide, with almost half going to off-grid areasSeptember 2014
Little Sun and VELUX Group present the #NaturalLight contest, inviting design students worldwide to create an original solar lampNovember 2014, Worldwide
A special edition Little Sun lamp is sold at Fondation Louis Vuitton, coinciding with Olafur Eliasson’s 'Contact' exhibitionDecember 2014 in Paris, France
Distribution expands to Zambia and Burkina Faso, making Little Sun available in over 10 African countries!February 2015 in Africa
Little Sun sells 300,000 lampsJune 2015, Worldwide
Little Sun Charge was well and truly kick-started, reaching over 500% of our targetSeptember 2015, Worldwide
Little Sun sales of lamps on-grid and off-grid are of equal numberSeptember 2015, Worldwide
Little Sun is showcased for the art world in Beyeler, Switzerland, one of the most important annual art eventsSeptember 2015 in Basel, Switzerland
Little Sun kicks off in South Africa with the Bright Nights crowd-funding projectOctober 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Little Sun showed how powerful a little solution like a solar lamp can be to address climate change at Ice Watch and COP21 in ParisDecember 2015 in Paris, France
Founder Olafur Eliasson honoured with a Crystal AwardJanuary 2016 in Davos, Switzerland
Little Sun sells 400,000 lampsFebruary 2016, Worldwide
New edition Little Suns on sale with dimmer function and new-look packagingMarch 2016, Worldwide
The official product launch of the Little Sun Charge solar charger. The first batch is shipped to patient Kickstarter backers and the following batches available soon after worldwide.May 2016, Worldwide
Olafur is the 2016 artist for the Palace of Versailles with special edition Little Suns on saleJune 2016 in Versailles, France
Little Sun Original

Little Sun Original

The power of the sun in the palm of your hand.

The iconic high-quality portable solar lamp created by artist Olafur Eliasson. Made for all your adventures, this little solar wonder gives you up to 50 hours of soft light and makes a great introduction for kids to sustainable living. When you buy a Little Sun, you make one available to an African community at a locally affordable price.

Little Sun Charge

Little Sun Charge

Charge your phone. Charge your life.

A high-performance solar charger with inbuilt lamp created by artist Olafur Eliasson. Packing both power and style into one portable, easy-to-use unit, Little Sun Charge provides up to 155 hours of light or charges your smartphone or other small device after one day in the sun. Plus, when you buy a Charge you make one available to an African community at a locally-affordable price. Free yourself from the grid!


Our Team


Olafur Eliasson

Founder

Frederik Ottesen

Founder

Felix Hallwachs

Managing Director

Ulrike Maichel

Associate Director

Andrea Heuer

Sales Manager

Philipp Fuhs

Sales Manager

Arianna Kaiser

Sales Assistant

Mason Huffine

Africa Business and Sales Manager

Samuel Dansette

Africa Business and Sales Manager

Marion Schruoffeneger

Africa Business and Sales Assistant

Siouxzi Connor

Campaigns and Communications Officer

Jai McKenzie

Art and Education Project Manager

Rabea Koss

Press and Communications Manager

Emma Hursey

Graphic Designer

Ken Rostand

Design Manager

Stephan Stamm

Supply Chain Manager

Iven Krüger

Logistics and Distribution Manager

Lena Franke

Finance & Office Manager

Eva Brandt

Project Manager Humanitarian Projects

Romane Guégan

Press and Communications Assistant

Fionnuala Kavanagh

Community and Campaigns Officer

Joan Le Fur

Africa Business Support

Susanne Ewenstein

Local Business Development Manager Johannesburg, South Africa

Kamogelo Kgobo

Local Sales & Marketing Johannesburg, South Africa

Fitnat Boamah

Local Business Development Manager Accra, Ghana

Nafi Gueye

Local Business Development Manager Dakar, Senegal

Prosper Bizimungu

Business Development Manager Zambia

Xaver Kitzinger

Business Development Manager Rwanda & Uganda

Florence Christensen

Business Development Manager Zimbabwe

Clay Tarica

Representative for the United States

Little Sun, Big Impact