A peaceful desk lamp concept evokes a feeling of Zen with its form and soft light

Lamps come in all shapes and sizes depending on where they’re used. Some are more decorative than others because they are meant more to enhance ambiance rather than provide illumination critical for getting work done. Of course, that doesn’t mean that these utilitarian lighting can’t look good as well, though they also have to be careful in making sure that usability isn’t impacted for the sake of aesthetics. At the same, you don’t need to go overboard either just to make a lamp look pleasing and distinctive. This somewhat minimalist desk lamp, for example, barely has any notable part aside from its lampshade, but it’s precisely because of its simplicity and form that it looks like you were raising a Zen garden on your desk.

Designer: Jang Lee Jun

For some people, desk lamps are an essential piece of equipment to shed light on their work, literally and figuratively, but they also need to avoid getting in the way of your productivity. That’s the primary reason why most desk lamps are simple, minimalist, and sometimes even bare-bones, providing light without distracting you with their appearance or eating up too much of your precious desk space. Fortunately, you just need a bit of creative thinking to make even a simple design more meaningful, like what this bonsai-inspired lamp tries to prove.

The bonsai tree is one of the more popular symbols related to Zen Buddhism, meditation, and calmness. The real tree takes a lot of patience to grow and trim, but simply seeing one is enough to give our minds peaceful thoughts. Not everyone can afford to take care of the real thing, though, so the Bonsai Desk Lamp offers something similar through its shape. The flat conical lampshade held up by thin metal rods is reminiscent of those bonsai trees, especially the Korean pine tree used for these decorative plants. It may not look like a real bonsai tree with multiple branches, but it could still call to mind those lush, green plants that our brains immediately associate with a state of Zen.

The lamp has one other unique feature that makes it more peaceful than most desk lamps. Instead of shining its light directly, it bounces it off the bottom of the lampshade. This creates a diffusing effect that generates a softer light without diminishing the lamp’s utility. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem possible to move the lamp head around to change its direction, limiting its movement to raising and lowering the arm.

If there’s one worrying thing about the bonsai desk lamp’s design is that it seems to be a bit unbalanced, with the lampshade carrying the visual weight of the object. It might not actually be lopsided, but even the impression of imbalance could make people worry that the lamp will topple over at the slightest nudge, nullifying the effect of whatever feelings of calm and peace the design is supposed to evoke.