Prior to the advent of electricity, the sun officially sinking down into the nighttime sky meant that it was time for prehistoric humans to hunker down for the evening. In terms of getting restorative beauty sleep, this forced bedtime could certainly be viewed as a plus. However, for those suffering from insomnia or anxiety — both conditions that could have easily been triggered by the ever-present threat of nocturnal, flesh-eating creatures ambling through family dwellings (er, caves) during prime shut-eye time — existing in a pitch-black world was probably not a barrel full of laughs. Fortunately, someone realized that by vigorously rubbing two sticks together, they could create a pretty fantastic source of light. As brilliant as it was hot, this thing called fire not only extended waking hours and overall productivity, but it also enabled our predecessors to successfully ward off blood-thirsty creatures and even cook a few of them in order to feed their families. As the decades and centuries passed, mankind continued to explore more convenient and effective ways to burn the midnight oil. Of course, lanterns were used, as were candles, but like the open pit fires that Neanderthals once burned, all three light sources could easily cause possessions, living quarters and unfortunate individuals to go up in smoke. If you really wanted to indulge in a little late-night sewing or reading without worrying about your faithful lap cat inadvertently knocking over your taper, perhaps trapping luminescent fireflies in a glass jar might have offered a decent backup plan, but it is no wonder why people did the dance of joy when the electric bulb was invented. Understandably, we never turned back.
In terms of unique sources of domestic illumination, options for the modern consumer continue to be as diverse as they are imaginative, but you want something that reflects your green leanings. No problem! The following sustainably crafted lamps offer plenty of style and sophistication along with midnight owl-approved glow:
- The ‘Decafé’ lamp by Spanish designer Raul Lauri is made out of recycled, heat- and pressure-treated coffee grounds. (Re-Worked has created its own spin on the reclaimed bean concept by crafting recycled plastic and coffee ground tables and chairs.)
- You have probably spent many occasions rub-a-dub-dubbing with a loofah in the tub, but all that time, did you ever think, “This natural sponge would make a great sustainable lamp shade, too!” Well, Fernando Laposse beat all of us to the punch with his comprehensive and surprisingly good-looking Lufa Series of furniture pieces, including a lighting option that glows with lots of green goodness.
- Lamponi lamps feature vintage, fully restored handlebars and lights plucked from assorted types of scooters.
- If responsibly sourced natural birch pulp gets your heart racing, Etienne Esmenjaud has an intriguing lamp option just for you: a six-paneled, hole-studded plywood Bud Lampshade with easy-fit tabs that make assembly a snap.
- One-of-a-kind BEUTE lamps, crafted by German designer Michael Wolke, are unique in that amid the perimeter of each handmade recycled cardboard shade, the text and graphics of the original packaging is clearly evident.
- Designer Issey Miyake’s opaque, highly sculptural series of pleated IN-EI lamps are sustainable thanks to their flat-pack nature and recycled PET plastic content. They are also astronomically priced!
- The 100% biodegradable Miss Sissi lamp, originally designed by Philippe Starck but now available to a new eco-conscious generation courtesy of Italian biotech company Bio-on and Lighting retailer Flos, is made with sugar beet and cane waste bioplastic.
- CP Lighting’s assorted tree branch-shaped New Growth light fixtures are made out of post-consumer aluminum pipes jazzed up with a brushed finish.
- In rustic yet inspired DIY style, this simple illumination solution by Luke Lamp Co. makes the most of artfully arranged manila rope and a Ball canning jar.
- Would you willingly hang a wild and wooly alpaca hair-covered, camel-hump-esque lampshade overhead? Good thing. The Gudpaka Lamp has got you sustainably covered courtesy of its fuzzy, freeform light-filtering shade made with alpaca wool industry waste. Wow, what an eyeful!