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Case Study: Design and Digital

The Good Night Lamp: a family of interconnected lamps that allow you to communicate remotely with, and feel closer to, loved ones who are far away.


The Goodnight Lamp recreates a small part of the experience of living on the same street, helping you to feel closer to your relatives and friends who are further afield. A series of smaller lamps, designed to look like houses on a street, are set to light up when the larger lamps they are remotely connected to are turned on. So when your relative or friend turns on their big lamp, a corresponding little lamp on your ‘street’ lights up to let you know they are home, or have just woken up.


There was a time when you were likely to live on the same street as your parents and in the same neighbourhood as your grandparents. Now the ease of travel, the rise of super-cities and a truly global economy have changed all that; chances are your family and friends are scattered around the country, if not the globe.


There are plenty of technological advancements to enable you to communicate, but what of the other, subtler means of keeping in touch that would be available if you were neighbours?


The Goodnight Lamp ‘street’ provides a small window into the homes of the people you care about the most, in the same way you can tell whether your neighbours are home by the lighting behind their windows.


When you leave a friend or relative after an evening out together, they’ll be no need for them to text you to let you know they got home safely; you can simply watch their ‘house’ light up.


Depending on further investment, the Goodnight Lamp should be available to buy for Christmas 2013.


How is Design involved?

The first prototype of the Goodnight Lamp was a product that looked very much like the outline of a conventional lamp, connected to identical, smaller lamps. A new injection of investment meant that the Goodnight Lamp’s creator, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, could move to the next phase with the product. She put together a team of designers and technologists to create the second prototype.


Alexandra, a London-based designer who runs the Designswarm consultancy, came up with the original concept while studying for her master’s degree in Interaction Design at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Italy.


The importance of design thinking within the innovation process was therefore paramount to Alexandra. Her team’s expertise ranges from interior design, furniture design and product design, as well as engineering and software design.


Rather than a technologist using design in the later stages of a project, or a designer coming up with concepts and then asking a technologist what’s possible, experts from both disciplines worked together creatively.


It is this iterative process, with design thinking interwoven with technological possibility from the inception and throughout, which makes this product’s journey so particular. The original concept came from a designer, but the innovation process has been borne out of the expertise of several disciplines.


What's different about it?

  • There was no ‘point at which design thinking was brought in’. Instead, the electronic and design possibilities were discussed together from the outset.
  • During innovation, a brainstorming meeting with the electronics and design experts on the team led to a total redesign of the original prototype.
  • This design thinking-led process has produced a concept and a product with both user experience and the use of new technology at the core.


“I know a lot of designers who come up with an idea and then ask a technologist to see whether it’s possible. But, with the Goodnight Lamp, we don’t have design meetings and then electronics meetings; we all meet together.” Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Inventor of the Goodnight Lamp.


Further information at



1 person has had something to say so far

Susannah Ellis
What a beautiful idea - so simple and unobtrusive, yet strangely comforting!
Posted on 07/11/13 16:50.

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