Cool Hunting c/o Quarterly Co: Shipment Nine

Focused around the sun, this gift holds two solar products helping communities and the world


We created this edition of Cool Hunting’s Quarterly with Africa on our minds. Inspired by the sun’s potential to power our world in ways both big and small, we partnered with two innovative brands implementing solar power in inventive, intimate ways that also give back to the communities that inspired their products. A virtuous circle, if you will.

The Luci lantern from Mpowerd is an inflatable, packable and durable lighting solution that churns out 65 lumens of light for up to 12 hours on a full charge, easily achieved with a day in the sun. It’s one of our favorite things because it is so practical; useful during power shortages in big cities and remote villages without electricity. It is clever, lightweight and inexpensive—and Mpowerd provides the opportunity for buyers to donate to NGOs by purchasing a light for someone in need via the Solar Justice Movement. We bring these with us every time we travel there and give them to those who can benefit the most.

Another favorite we wanted to share is Q&Q‘s SmileSolar watch. Made from recycled materials, the watch comes in a range of playful colors and patterns. A day in the sun charges the watch’s battery through the thin smile-shaped solar cell that hides between the face and the case—and powers the watch for a whole year. In a clever twist of consumer culture, we worked with Q&Q to create a limited edition version of the SmileSolar watch that was given to students at the Mfuwe Day Secondary School, a school we work with in the remote village of Mfuwe in northern Zambia. For many of the students, it was the first watch they have ever owned. Our Quarterly subscribers received one of the brand’s many styles.

We brought both of these useful products with us on our CH Edition: Zambia trip in July 2014 (more on this soon) and thought our subscribers would enjoy them too. As a launch partner with Quarterly, we’ve delivered all kinds of innovative and inspiring items over the last few years—from a 3D-printed skull by the artist Joshua Harker to a hand-beaded Huichol peyote disc from Mexico. To receive our next Quarterly box, subscribe online.

Images by Cool Hunting