Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

When an artist approaches sustainability, all the lights turn green.

By Sandy Skees on April 13, 2009

 It might be presumptuous for me to talk about great design when my area of expertise is public relations and branding. But I can assure you that launching any product into the marketplace successfully has two basic requirements – a deep understanding of the market and its customer needs, and a beautifully intuitive response to those needs. Right now, I am working with a new company that perfectly demonstrates the value of great design for a shifting market. It began with a little known fact about electricity usage: 22 percent of all electrical power generated in the world is used for lighting. A quarter of that power is used for exterior lighting, which costs $3.2 billion per year in the U.S. alone.

There’s a market need that can be met with beautiful design. Enter world-renowned sculptor Tom Joyce, and Qnuru is born. Tom Joyce is an artist, designer and blacksmith who forges sculpture, architectural ironwork and public art for projects throughout the United States. For over 30 years he has freely shared his design concepts and working knowledge in lectures presented in Europe, Africa, the US and Canada. His work is in many public collections and has been exhibited in numerous museums internationally including the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Detroit and Minneapolis Institutes of Art, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the Museum for Kunsthandwerk in Frankfurt, the Museum of Applied Arts in Moscow, and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

He founded Qnuru with venture accelerator Noribachi because, “we all see that we have a problem in our world and in some ways we’re all implicated. As the creator of functional objects, I have a unique opportunity to express a new realm, to showcase solar technology in a more aesthetically compelling way. This is about toolmakers’ problem-solving.”

Qnuru is a revolutionary solar lighting firm that integrates sophisticated, contemporary lighting design with advanced solar technologies and control systems to create lighting for commercial and residential installations. What Joyce has done is design solar landscape lighting with natural materials, utilizes proprietary, custom-designed power control system, so that the resulting products are completely untethered to the power grid.

When developing the launch strategy for Qnuru, we looked at the various influencers that would be interested in such a solution. The breadth of the horizon became quite significant because we had a great design that would illicit a broad human response to its beauty and would tap into the universal need for lighting at night. Environmental, green, electrical power, design, landscape, architecture, sculpture, lighting, homes, public spaces -- these myriad concerns and industries will be affected by Joyce’s innovation and will define how untethered lighting can be deployed to meet the market’s growing need for illumination.

Image credit: Nick Merrick-Hedrick Blessing