There are products that manage to be iconic, strikingly beautiful, and classic at the same time: A Porsche 911, Eames mid-century plywood furniture, even a Dyson vacuum — these are all instantly recognizable. Soon we might add another to the list: the Lumio. This unique lamp is a collapsible, portable, USB-rechargeable, and utilizes LEDs to create a modern, lighting fixture for the tech age. Designed by Max Gunawan, a former San Francisco architect, the lamp morphed out of Gunawan’s quest to design a modular, collapsible home. After an extremely successful Kickstarter program, Lumio was recently released to the public.
Lumio starts out as a closed “book,” and like a book, when opened, Lumio enchants you and tells a story.
A luminosity that begs to be used every night. I must admit, I was captivated.
Lumio automatically turns on and off as you open and close it. You control its brightness by adjusting the angle of how wide the book is opened. You can open the book flat (like you were reading it), open it up at varying degrees and stand it on its end, or fully open it to create a 360-degree light show. Powerful neodymium magnets are secretly housed in the front and rear covers and they snap the covers together to create a large glowing orb. Use the wooden dowel and leather strap between the covers, and you have a pendant worth hanging in any room of your house. The magnets also allow it to be mounted on anything metal; I never thought my metal binder shelf could look so good.
Lumio’s high-output LED lights produce 500 lumens — equivalent to a 40-watt bulb — at a warm 2700K color temperature. The built-in battery can be re-charged through a micro USB power connector located discreetly near the book’s spine. Take care when connecting the cord as our sample disengaged from charging from time to time, and the red charge light would turn off. Jiggle the connection, and the light reappears and it starts charging again. A lithium-ion battery pack is integrated into the Lumio. And while it is recyclable, it is not replaceable. Thankfully, the light will still work when plugged in. And while the overall product is modern and beautiful, it is a bit on the fragile side.
Lumio states the lamp has eight hours of life on a single charge. I didn’t see more than six hours before it turned off. It also doesn’t recharge while on and plugged into a computer’s USB port. I tested this by charging it for eight hours while lit, unplugged it, and it died about 10 minutes afterward. It’s a bit disappointing that you have to charge it while off for several hours before it could go portable. But just like any mobile device, Lumio can be permanently plugged in for 24-7 happiness.
In Lumio’s closed position, it really looks just like a book. It weighs approximately a pound and measures 8.5 inches tall, 7 wide and 1.25 thick. A meticulously manufactured wood cover surrounds all three sides; front, back, and flexible spine. The crisp white plasticy-feeling “pages,” are made from Tyvek. This lamp is made with environmentally friendly materials, including Forest Stewardship Council-certified (FSC) wood, and is available in walnut, maple, and cherry finishes. The Tyvek shade is water-resistant, so it’s at home either indoors or out. Plus, it’s 100-percent recyclable. With its petite size and powerful light output, this will surely find its way in your bag for outings of all sorts. On the go, it will shine beautifully along the way no matter where you put it.
Although the battery life might be a bit shorter than claimed and the unit is a bit fragile, Lumio will be the light of your life when you get it. It is just that cool. And at $160, it won’t break the bank, either.