LED desk lamps have always been good for us - they use less energy than other light sources, there's no filament to burn out so they last longer and they don't contain any mercury or other toxic substances. Problem is they haven't always been pretty. The light emitting diodes heat up and that has often called for large fans or other unsightly cooling apparatus. Technology has made great strides and there are now ways of dissipating the heat without cumbersome fans. Here are four lamps that have captured the limelight with their tech savvy designs - and their beauty.
1. Equo: Koncept's LED designs are super sleek and their new colors - especially that burnt orange pictured above - are just right. I chatted with these guys at ICFF this year and they know their stuff. Check out the new Equo which deservedly won a bunch of awards. You control brightness via a touch strip down the stem of the lamp and the head - which holds the LEDs - rotates 180 degrees. Price: $225.95 via Amazon.
2. Leaf Light: Yves Behar's lamp for Herman Miller is a very sculptural response to a desk light. Behar has been in the news a lot lately for his LOCAL bike design but this little light was one of the first to integrate LEDs into a sexy design piece. Like the Equo you control the light with a finger-touch slide mechanism, this time on the base of the lamp. Price: $429.
3. Horizon: This LED task light really stood out from the crowd at ICFF. I was drawn immediately to the soft-edged design and the nice balance between the broad head of the lamp and its base. The lamp utilizes Thin Film Technology, where the LEDs are surrounded by layers of polycarbonate and optical films. This gives the lamp that wide footprint of warm, glare-free light. The fluid design means it will also look like a piece of sculpture sitting on your desk. Price: $475
4. Capello: This lamp is new from Canadian design company, Molo. It's a delicate design with a great story. The marble base is actually a plug from the block-shaped base of the famous Arco floor lamp designed by the Castiglioni brothers in 1962. A magnetic connection attaches the paper cap to a slim piece of wire that sticks up from the base enabling the cap to be moved around and light to be controlled. This little guy is more low tech than high but it wins serious points with that design pedigree. Price: $160.
(Image of Equo at ICFF via Pretty Little Green Things.)