Olafur Eliasson crowdfunds solar-powered phone chargers
Little Sun Charge by Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson launches crowdfunding campaign for solar-powered mobile phone chargers

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson's solar energy company Little Sun has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of a mobile phone charger with a built-in lamp.

The campaign, which launched today, seeks to raise €50,000 (£36,000) on the crowdfunding platform for the Little Sun Charge.

The square device is designed to both appeal to those in the developed world and provide a useful tool in developing countries.

Little Sun Charge by Olafur Eliasson
Little Sun Charge prototype in Berlin. Photograph by Inka Recke

"Little Sun Charge is a stylish, smart and socially responsible way to charge your mobile phone without relying on the grid – no matter where in the world you are," said the company in a statement.

Created by Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen, the product incorporates solar cells that turn the sun's energy into electricity for powering up devices including mobile phones, tablets and MP3 players.

Little Sun Charge by Olafur Eliasson
Little Sun Charge prototype in Berlin. Photograph by Inka Recke

"It charges your phone with solar power – it makes you powerful, and it connects you to others," said Eliasson, whose bridge spanning a Copenhagen canal opened last month. "Once connected, we can create a movement."

According to the company, the Little Sun Charge can fully power a smartphone after only five hours in the sun, while most other solar chargers currently take between eight and 20 hours.

Little Sun Charge by Olafur Eliasson
Little Sun Charge prototype in Berlin. Photograph by Inka Recke

The product – which also includes an LED light and an optional stand – is a development of the original Little Sun, a small yellow solar-powered lamp designed for those who have limited access to reliable energy.

Little Sun was launched in 2012 as part of an exhibition at London's Tate Modern gallery, and 300,000 have been distributed since.

Little Sun Charge by Olafur Eliasson
Little Sun Charge prototype testing in Zimbabwe

The lamps sold in on-grid areas – for activities such as camping, festivals and educational purposes – are priced to help keep the products more affordable for off-grid users in developing countries.

The Kickstarter campaign for the Little Sun Charge has raised almost €44,000 (£32,000) at the time of publishing, with 31 days still to go.

Original Little Sun solar-powered lamps
Original Little Sun solar-powered lamps

Excess proceeds from the campaign will go towards supporting "solar entrepreneurship" in Africa.

Eliasson is best known for his large-scale installations, which have included a landscape of stones meant to emulate a riverbed in a Copenhagen gallery and beams of light intended to skew viewers' perceptions of space at Frank Gehry's Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.