As someone who watches consumer trends and attempts to predict new ones, I am always fascinated at how they seem to “trickle down” from one segment of our culture to another. Environmental concerns are a terrific example of this. Once the domain of the auto industry and other emissions-producing corporations, it soon became apparent that we all needed to become ecologically-conscious consumers.
First it was recycling, then composting, reusable bags at the grocery store and fluorescent light bulbs; then it was eco-friendly building products, organic fabrics and locally-grown produce. The list could go on and on, but one thing is certain; concern for the environment has become a global phenomenon that impacts everyone’s life.
One of the latest buzzwords is “sustainable products,” those products that provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle, from extraction of raw materials until the final disposal (Wikipedia).
In keeping with the mindset of most Zen practitioners, “sustainability” has become a major influence on products such as yoga cushions, tatami mats and other meditation accessories, but it even extends into home décor; hence the latest offerings in “sustainable lighting.” Whether it is a hanging paper lantern, shoji lamp or sustainable table lamp, these ambient lighting solutions are known for giving a home that “Zen” feeling.
An interesting footnote about Japanese-inspired lighting: it maintains such a simplistic and modern design, even though it has been around for years. Some of the latest offerings in sustainable table lamps are a great example of this. They take the basic model of a Shoji lamp and use colorful plant-based shades to add warmth and character to a room.
Sustainable Butterfly Leaf Table Lamp
The butterfly leaf, also known as the Alibangbang, is well known in the Philippines for its medicinal and culinary qualities. These sustainable leaves are dyed by fair trade artisans with organic coloring, resulting in various shades and hues, and then fused to a heat resistant lamp backing.
Sustainable Cocoa Leaf Table Lamp
Inspired by nature, the cocoa leaf table lamp is away in rich and vibrant earth tones, creating the perfect mood in any space. The leaves on this lamp are harvested from living cocoa trees and tinted with organic and non-corrosive dyes. Once complete, the shade is fused with a wrought iron frame which has bamboo legs. All of this is done by native fair-trade artisans in the Philippines.
Durian Table Lamp
Nature-inspired and multi-textured, this sustainable lamp is like a work of art in itself. Not only does it provide an eco-friendly lighting solution, it is certain to be a conversation piece. Starting with a shade that is crafted from Durian tree fibers and organically dyed, this lamp adds another element; the outer shade, which is made from twisted nito vines. Designed to recreate the plant’s natural growth pattern, the vines connect and sprout upward around the circumference of the shade.
Shoji Geisha Table Lamp
If you prefer a more traditional Japanese lamp, the Shoji table lamp features a beautiful Geisha scene that is superimposed on its translucent organic shade. These lamps are versatile enough to be used as an accent lamp in the living room or as a bedroom table lamp. They also make an excellent addition to a tatami room or sacred space. Backed with durable Shoji rice paper, the shade and lamp together are 18” tall and 7.5” square.
People may spend thousands of dollars adding new furnishings, flooring or wall colors, but if you want to improve the ambience of your living space a Japanese lamp will do wonders. Not only are these lamps made from sustainable materials, they are also rich in tradition and designed to match any décor. Unlike many Western style lamps which can overly bright, sustainable table lamps glow with warmth as they provide ambient lighting to any space.