What makes a good design great? Is it looks? How it makes you feel? Or how well it performs? It's an interesting question, and one that certainly sparks intense debate. But for us, the answer is simple: a combination of all three.
Pablo's UMA Sound Lantern is a shining example of great design. It's a clever product with a range of practical features, like state-of-the-art LED technology, 360° high fidelity surround sound and wireless Bluetooth connectivity, but it's also beautiful to look at and a complete joy to use.
Excited by their endless possibility, we gave three design enthusiasts their very own Sound Lantern and asked them to document their experiences. Read on to find out what Fiona, writer and co-founder of Nor-Folk, Max an outdoor adventurer and photographer at Nest.co.uk, and Rowan a screen-printer at Hunk Print, thought after spending a weekend with this truly innovative design.
Part of the family
Fiona is a photographer, designer and creative director of the online journal Nor-Folk. She lives in a converted factory in Norwich with her husband Bobby, four year old son Stanley and their black cat Gareth.
Fiona and her son Stanley make use of the Sound Lantern's warm light while reading together.
'As a couple we strongly subscribe to Dieter Rams' ethos of 'less, but better', so our apartment is purposefully minimal. I knew the Sound Lantern would fit in well with the aesthetic of our home because of its sleek design, but the fact that it was a wireless speaker as well was an added bonus.'
With a sleek, fuss-free silhouette, the Sound Lantern is perfect for minimalist interiors.
'Light plays a huge role in motivating me – we actually bought our apartment, the former drawing rooms of a factory, because of the double aspect windows and skylight. We love to create individual zones within the open-plan space, and the Sound Lantern helps me to do just that. It has a lovely warm light that really adds to the mood too.'
The Sound Lantern features state-of-the art LED Warm-Dim technology that allows the warmth of the light to change with the intensity. Featured product: HAY Hee Bar Stools.
'I have a huge love affair with music – I'm aware how susceptible I am to the emotion in a song. The fact that the Sound Lantern is portable means I can take my music with me wherever I go. I just stream my playlists with the Bluetooth connectivity.'
Fiona takes her Sound Lantern to her roof terrace to listen to music and to add a little ambience.
'My son Stanley, who's four, is certainly following my footsteps with music. He enjoyed listening to his favourite songs on the Sound Lantern. And because it was so simple to use, he even adopted it for himself. It has a really intuitive interface with a touch-sensitive volume control, which he figured out really quickly.'
Everyone can enjoy the Sound Lantern's 360° high fidelity surround sound
'Overall I'm really impressed with the Sound Lantern. It's filled a void I didn't know I had.'
An explorer's companion
Max is an outdoor adventurer and photographer at Nest.co.uk.
The portability of the UMA suits Max's varied lifestyle.
'Exploring with my friends is a happy weekend for me – I love the fresh air and wildlife and generally being outdoors. We tend to meander around the scenic parts of the Peak District, which is right on our doorstep here in Yorkshire. We all enjoy walking and, because photography is a passion of mine, we can spend hours on long treks searching for the perfect shot. We're always conscious of losing the natural light when out on our walks, so to be able to pull out the Sound Lantern as the daylight faded was ideal.'
'In terms of its portability, the Sound Lantern couldn't have been any better. It's not too big or heavy, and it comes with a comfortable leather carry handle. It even has its own travel bag to keep it protected.'
'We go camping every year in Scotland and the Sound Lantern would be perfect for this trip. It's multipurpose so would provide the light we'd need for our sunset BBQs, and allow us to play music as well. I've been really impressed with the sound quality of the speaker, especially when you consider its compact, convenient size.'
'We got some unexpected snow on the weekend I received my Sound Lantern, but that didn't stop us from going out and getting some great shots. In fact, Sheffield looks even more beautiful under a frosting of snow, highlighted by the warm glow of the Sound Lantern.'
Art studio saviour
Rowan is the owner at independant screen-print studio, Hunk Print.
Rowan creates a sociable working environment with good tunes and ambient light.
'As a screen-printer, my day is really varied. I can go from screen-printing in the studio to writing emails in the office or even answering phone calls while on the move. Because of this, I'm constantly changing what room I'm in during the day, which can make listening to music a bit tricky. As the Sound Lantern is portable, it meant I could carry it – and my music – around with me wherever I went. There were no cables, and it was hassle free.'
Take your music with you wherever you go.
'The Sound Lantern has built-in Bluetooth connectivity, so all of my phone calls came through its speaker. The music automatically turned off when a call came in, and switched back on again as soon as I hung up. This was probably my favourite feature as it meant I never missed a call, which is so important when you rely on your mobile for your business.'
Don't be fooled by its compact size, the Sound Lantern has powerful 360° surround sound.
'Screen printing can get incredibly messy, so it's nice that the Sound Lantern comes with a handle – it meant I could hang it up and keep it out of the way of my inks and equipment. It also comes with a spare, which is a nice touch. I used one handle when it was at the studio, and then another for when it was at home, to keep it looking its best.'
Every Sound Lantern comes with two leather straps – one in tan and one in silver.
'As an artist, I could be working at any time during the day, even well into the night if inspiration strikes. Having an additional light in the studio was incredibly handy – it meant I could work much later if I needed to. Plus, it has a battery life of 8 hours, which is the perfect amount of time.'
Fully charged, the Sound Lantern has 8 hours of battery life.
By designing the UMA Sound Lantern, Pablo have created something much more than a portable light and speaker. It's a party starter, a mood setter, an ice breaker, a power-cut saviour, an indoor sculpture, a night light or even just a way to make the day go quicker. It can be any one of these things and more – how will you use your Sound Lantern?
Shop the Sound Lantern from Pablo Designs online at Nest.co.uk today. We also have a growing range of portable lighting, explore it here.