Spotted at Designboom, Lightly is a plastic clothespin with a miniscule solar panel at the top of the clip that, with the assistance of a tiny embedded battery pack, collects and stores sunlight throughout the day. When the sun begins its descent, an integrated motion sensor triggers a colored LED and voila … you have yourself a delightful little glowing clothespin. Throw it across a darkened backyard and you have Tinkerbell.
Described as an “intelligent twist on an ordinary household chore,” Lightly looks most dramatic when spread out in multiples across a generous clothesline. The result, as you can see, is quite festive, even Christmas light-y. And while much more fussy/complex — and one would imagine, expensive — than a simple wooden clothespin, the concept allows you to kill two birds — drying your wet knickers and spreading decorative yuletide cheer —with one clever stone. And in addition to the holidays, a string of Lightly clothespins would look lovely year-round as mood lighting for garden parties and backyard get-togethers both rowdy and intimate (added bonus: you wouldn’t feel pressured to remove the still-damp laundry handing in the corner of your backyard before guests arrive).
In their design, Noyberg and Bulka were obviously influenced — “an everyday item that lights up the cityscape in a sea of vibrant colors” — by a heavily romanticized, old world vision of line-drying that disappeared from America long ago with the rise of the suburbs and the hulking, energy-guzzling machines that live in our basements. You know, little old ladies in headscarves poking their heads out of third-story windows as they string laundry (probably undershirts belonging to their grown bachelor sons who still live at home) out to dry and gossip with their neighbor across the alleyway.
While inherently more striking dangling across a bustling urban streetscape, there are also key advantages to using Lightly clothespins in a suburban landscape: they're great at tormenting HOAs and can serve as beacons should you ever find yourself stumbling around the backyard in the dark after deciding it was a good idea to combine laundry time with margaritas.
Related stories on MNN:
- Adventures in urban line-drying
- Line-dried propaganda
- Blindry: A multitasking window blind that comes in handy on laundry day