When Tate Modern invited Berlin based Olafur Eliasson to do a sequel to Weather Project, the 2003 show that established him as one of the world’s leading artists by drawing over 2 million visitors, he surprisingly turned up with a project in which the giant sun that dominated Weather Project was replaced by Little Sun, a hand-sized solar-powered lantern, primarily meant to bring light to the 1,6 billion that have to survive off the grid.

In 2012 Little Sun was selected as one of 100 projects that were highlighted in Form Follows Foco, a groundbreaking exhibition and publication in which Max Borka and Mapping The Design World gave a worldwide overview of what was happening in the field of Social Design. Five years later, Borka and Mapping went on the search for what happened to these 100 projects. A Work in Progress of which the exhibition Now and Then, How Sustainable was my Sustainability? shows the first results at the state of DESIGN, BERLIN 2017 festival.

This is what the studio of Olafur Eliasson replied to the question how the project was doing:
Dear Max Borka,
We now §almost) have 3 products
- Little Sun Original (…): We distributed over 500.000 lamps since its launch in 2012, half of them going to rural areas in Africa

- Little Sun Charge: A solar phone charger with integrated LED light. That was a response to the fact that people in Africa asked us if they could also charge their phone with the Little Suns, as access to a phone/internet is key for communication and development. We launched this product in September 2015 with a very successful crowdfunding project (we raised 250.000€).

- Little Sun Diamond: Just revealed by Olafur at Design Indaba, a smaller lamp with a stand – launch in SeptemberJust revealed by Olafur at Design Indaba, a smaller lamp with a stand – launch in September.

- (…) Olafur and Little Sun try to raise awareness for energy access wherever we can, for instance at the climate conference COP22 in Marrakesh, through education workshops (…) or with installations !...).

-(…) Little Suns are increasingly successful with refugees, IDPs and host communities in South Sudan, Nepal, Lebanon and Greece among others – as a source of reliable light and energy and as a source of pride, happiness and empowerment.