Beating the Blues

Ville Kokkonen has created a pristine light-therapy lamp for Artek.


For sufferers of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, light-therapy lamps have been shown to improve the lethargy and moodiness that can come with the winter months. But, as objects, they are typically quite ugly. “People use them and then they put them away,” says Ville Kokkonen, the design director of Artek, who observed light-therapy users during the research phase for White, his new collection of fixtures. Its centerpiece is a therapeutic tabletop light that winter depressives can proudly leave out on display—and whose pristine form should appeal to any admirers of clean modern design.

From the beginning, the design of Bright Light 1, as it’s called, was guided by its therapeutic potential. To get a fixture certified as a light-therapy device, it must first meet certain size and brightness standards (in Europe, anyway—there is no such certification in the United States). “One of the requirements is that the light level on the panel be equal from corner to corner,” Kokkonen says. “And that’s something that we looked at very carefully, that the light is sharp on each part of the surface. It actually became our main design driver—I wanted the white light to be as perfect as we could make it.” Here, Kokkonen points out the other key details of his mood-enhancing light box, which debuted at the Milan furniture fair last spring.

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