by , 05/24/07

Mini Designer DIY Battery Lights, DEK Emulator Lights, Designer Battery Lights, Mark McKenna, DEK lights, 9-volt battery lights, mini designer lights, Emulator lights, ICFF 2007

One of our favorite finds from this year’s ICFF is Mark McKenna’s collection of pocket-size do-It-yourself designer battery lights. We’ve seen 9-volt batteries acting as light sources before, as in Richard Lawson’s DIY LED light, but these ‘DEK’ (Designer Emulation Kits) bring iconic design to another (albeit small-scale) level. The kits consist of a series of flat pieces that you remove from the printed circuit board, assemble, and hook up to a 9-volt battery. They come in five models, all representations of some of the most famous designer lamps (Ingo Maurer’s Lucellino, Castiglioni’s Arco and Toio, Sapper’s Tizio, and Philippe Starck’s Miss K). We love the high-design-meets-DIY aspect of these mini-lamps, and at $26 each, they won’t break the bank.

$26 From Mark McKenna

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  1. it2051229 July 18, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    hehehe.. funny..

  2. pk July 18, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    Wow… what a bunch a preachy babies there are here… you know for a group of people who can’t see any benefit to these things it would seem fairly hypocritical for all of you to even be on a power-sucking, plastic encased computer in the first place. secondly, aren’t you windbags wasting a ton of energy by bitching about something like this instead of creating your own solutions? this site is great and they’re offering “greener” options… there’s degrees to everything. sure these things might be a little not-so-cheap and there may be better/more green options but this sight isn’t telling you you have to buy one so cut them some slack. i mean, something tells me you all don’t drive hybrids or bio-diesels, have solar cells on your south-facing roof and ride stationary bikes hooked to a generator in order to cut back your power consumption. this is why green-minded people get a bad rap, because there are so many with a holier-than-thou attitude who ruin it for the rest who just quietly go about trying to make the world a better place. these items are certainly greener than regular flashlights and rechargeable batteries would make them greener still. note also that these are more of a novelty item, not something you’d use for the everyday situation. get off your high-horses… seriously.

  3. Jac May 31, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Cute but not economic for the pocket nor the earth, seriously. 26 bucks?! I rather opt for an energy-efficient light bulb! I can also make a prettier lamp by reusing coloured glass bottles, esp the blue ones from Ty Nant.

  4. JS May 30, 2007 at 7:53 am

    Jill, you said:

    ““Sustainability” isn’t just about the earth, energy useage and cradle to cradle materials. Its also about human society, social justice, economy, consumerism and production. And we think that this design addresses enough of those social issues (together with the LED + battery) to make it worth covering here.”

    Umm…actually I’d argue that sustainability starts exactly and first with the earth because any right of human society, fairness and social equity is embedded in the right to enjoy a clean environment — one that doesn’t add toxins to your body without your express agreement, etc…

    How does this light address social issues exactly? Batteries aren’t so green and LED’s are great, but with anything, it’s all in the application.

  5. JS May 30, 2007 at 7:50 am

    Well…green goes beyond wind energy and solar power. Obviously. I’m sure nobody seriously would disagree with that…so why write it?

    My issue with certain green sites is the inherent push to consume, even if it’s 80% less. It’s the difference between a community planner asking whether cars are even necessary, or designing for the latest and greatest hybrid. Same goes for lamps, countertops, and even clothes.

    So it’s greenwashing issue.

  6. speedmaster May 28, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Very cool, I like it!

  7. mihnea May 27, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Quite nice, I’ll write about this on my blog. Great idea!

  8. Peter Hoh May 26, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    If you want a portavle light that supports human society, social justice, and reduced consumerism, try this one:
    For $25, you get one, and someone in Africa gets one, too.

    Spotted in the NYT on May 20

  9. Christian May 25, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Perhaps I am missing something here. How is it that this lamp design supports human society, social justice, and reduced consumerism (generally considered to be a facet of sustainability?) How is this an example of economy? 26 bucks for a lamp that runs off a nine volt battery doesn’t seem like an especially good deal to me.

    Like I said before, cute design. Not exactly what I’d call “good” design, however.

  10. Max May 25, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    In all fairness to the website, the products are actually green. The color green.

  11. Jill May 25, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Hey guys- (to those who want to be the Inhabitat cops! 😉

    Please cut us a little bit of slack here. Not every post on this site is going to be about wind energy and solar power. We decided to write about this lamp because we feel the LED 9-volt lighting is really interesting and innovative and has a ton of potential for future-forward green design. Sure, this application itself doesn’t do much for the state of the planet and is more a funny commentory on “iconic design” than anything else. But even the social commentory about DIY and democracy in design is noteworthy. “Sustainability” isn’t just about the earth, energy useage and cradle to cradle materials. Its also about human society, social justice, economy, consumerism and production. And we think that this design addresses enough of those social issues (together with the LED + battery) to make it worth covering here.

    Best wishes-

  12. Mike May 25, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    You guys are harsh, I mean, I understand this is an environmentally centered site and all, but this is still a lot better than buying a lamp with a ton of plastic (not so environmentally friendly) and other stuff on them.

    Don’t want to waste batteries? Use a rechargeable.

    I think they are awesome. I do agree though, they need an on and off, and they could do that with a simple small button switch soldered directly to the board.

  13. J May 25, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    I completely agree with Tyler. These mini lamps belong on another design blog, not one that professes to be green.

  14. Tyler May 25, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    With all due respect to the design aspect of these kits (which are clever), you can check the mission statement of inhabitat anytime you would like. It reads “Green design is good design, good design is green design.” These lamps are not green design. A set of symbols should not be necessary for each post as EVERYTHING on this site is assumed to be environmentally conscious in its design. Not to disrespect the writers here in any way (who constantly provide examples of innovative green design), but perhaps this product is better suited for a site that is not centered around environmentally friendly designs. When reviewing sustainable designs, every step of the design process must be carefully scrutinized, and it appears that these “lamps” fail to be eco-friendly at any stage.

  15. Nick Simpson May 25, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Sorry – here’s that post again, minus all of the typos! Please delete the earlier one!

    I can see everyone’s point here, these aren’t hugely green. But then I do think we need to give the writers here a break, they come through with some excellent stuff and the vast majority of it is thought-provoking one way or another. Maybe people would like articles to be categorised? For instance next to the title of the article could be one or more of a number of symbols, for instance innovative design, architecture, prefab, green consumables etc. Then, much like on mocoloco, you could search through the site based on the categories… Maybe that’d help, as everyone at the moment seems to expect everything on this site to be simply green, when maybe innovations in other areas are just as deserving of a place on the site?

  16. Christian May 25, 2007 at 6:00 am

    Interesting idea, and kind of cute. But isn’t the presence of the template leftover from stamping out all the little pieces a waste problem? Also, I wouldn’t call 26 bucks a particularly good deal.

    I have several small LED lights, each about the size of a campaign button, which operate for hours from small lithium batteries and provide a surprising amount of bright light. They are extremely portable, usually under fifteen dollars apiece, and very durable (I have even laundered them by mistake with no ill effects.) They are highly useful under a variety of challenging conditions–in fact, I bought my first small LED when I was in the US Army Officer Candidate Course at Ft. Benning Georgia. They come in a great variety of colors. Now that’s good design. Make them solar powered and I’d say we will have reached the apex of small LED technology.

    These little kits are more like elitist designer toys. Cute, but not exactly useful.

  17. Michael May 24, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    I go one of these as a gift. First, it didn’t fit together very well. I bought #4 and the smaller parts just didn’t match up. Next I realized there’s no on/off switch so you must unplug the battery to turn it off. Sorry, but that’s just bad design.Then I thought I’d just leave it on to see how long the battery would last. It ate a 9-volt in about 48 hours. Just the fact that it runs on batteries should been enough to keep it off this site, but somehow it gets a glowing review from Inhabitant for it’s “high-design-meets-DIY aspect”. But unfortunately, this product is in no way eco-friendly. I don’t know about you but I’d rather find a little lamp charges via dynamo, shaking, solar, something besides batteries that will go in a landfill after 48 hours use. This is nothing more than an artsy junk novelty that will likely end up in the trash next to all the batteries it has devoured.

  18. Celeste May 24, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    These are great. Years and years ago I splurged and bought myself a Tizio. It’s cool to see that it is iconic enough to have made it into this little collection.

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