Brightness in Woodness

Made in an effort to resurrect the essence of the night markets designer Lee Leong Chye knew as a child. Specifically Chye hoped to find again the loving glowing glowing love of the kerosene lamps – each of them pressurized with a hand pump, set aflame with a match, preheated and pressure adjusted to the perfect combination of settings, and poof! Like magic, there was that iconic flame. Chye brings this world to live with a nearly all-wood reinterpretation of the lamp. Gorgeously cut and fully functional.

I’d like to share with you the story of Chye’s night market experience, as I think you’ll agree it’s integral to the full project:

One day I sat there thinking about my younger days and what I missed the most. It was the simple family outings that were most prominent…I miss those days. Often my family and I would visit the pasar malams (night markets) where we would casually stroll around soaking up the sounds of hawkers pushing their wares, music playing loudly from portable cassette players, laughter of children, the smell of food being cooked at the roadside stalls…it was a feast for the senses.

Almost everyone in those days used pressurized kerosene lamps, it was the norm. At dusk it was common sight to see stall owners preparing their kerosene lanterns. It was like a ritual, pressurizing the tank via the hand pump, striking the match, preheating and adjusting the pressure…and finally…light. The lamps were used everywhere. Not only were they necessary as a light source but they significantly contributed to the mood and environment of the pasar malam. The humble kerosene lamp…without it there would have been no pasar malam for me and my family.

Such a fantastic loveliness. This new lamp also has to be charged by pumping, periodical pumping needed to keep the light alight. For those that experienced the old market, a renewed memory – for those who are young, brand new memories. All excellence.

Designer: Lee Leong Chye of Little Thoughts Group design collective