Ever wonder what the inventor of the Lava Lamp is up to these days? Not unlike that other 60's British import, the Rolling Stones, Mathmos just won't quit -- and they've managed to keep the novelty lighting thing technologically and aesthetically relevant.
These days they're into LED and computer chip-controlled lighting, and many of their new products are fun, attractive options for adding functional or mood lighting to a room or party.
Our hands-down favorite is the mystical Airswitch, pictured here (and blogged by AT:LA a while back), which is bright enough to use as a reading light. The lovely thing is that it's controlled with a gesture: you float your hand over the top (perfect for a sleepy bedside lights-off). Shaped intriguingly like a beaker full of vapor, Airswitch costs $85 with shipping.
Alan Rincover's Bubble adds a tactile dimension to cordless lighting. It's made of silicone and squeezes on and off. Great in clusters. $75, shipping and tax included.
The Aduki (named after the bean) also caught our eye. Like a cross between Candela and a mood ring, it charges up like a cell phone, nestles into the palm of your hand and fazes through a range of colors on contact. $60, shipping and tax included.
Mathmos's other products include pendant shades, votive light holders, and yes, lava lamps, all at novelty item prices.