There’s something undeniably delightful about Japanese bento lunchboxes. Not only are they healthy, cost-effective, and charming —especially when their contents resemble cute anime characters — they’re also cleverly made, with a number of components designed to maximise space and please the eye and palate at the same time.
One of those components is the little soy sauce bottle, which often appears in the shape of a fish with a bright red, twist-top lid at its mouth. While these items are practical, as they contain a serving of soy sauce to add some extra flavor to the boxed meal, they’re also beautiful to look at, with an impressive amount of detail showing the scales, fins and eyes of the fish.
In fact, they’re so beautiful they’ve now inspired a design duo to recreate them in much larger form, as a stunning centrepiece simply called Light Soy.
Light soy is, as the name suggests, a light, which is available as either a table-top lamp.
▼ Or a pendant light.
Surprisingly, the soy-sauce-bottle shaped light is not a Japanese design, but an Australian one, thought up by London-based designer Jeffrey Simpson and Australian-based designer Angus Ware. The duo came up with the idea for the product one day after they’d eaten sushi and were shocked by the number of small soy sauce bottles they went through. Both Simpson and Ware, who grew up on the coast, found it “absurd” that the little single-use plastic fish bottles would end up harming marine life.
By creating Light Soy, the designers sought to highlight the problem of single-use plastic, incorporating durable, recyclable materials into its design, and manufacturing it to last with high-quality materials.
The lamp cover is made with borosilicate glass etched to a frosted finish, and uses a long-life, energy-efficient LED with powder-coated aluminium accessories. It took more than three years to design and develop the product, with two years spent on perfecting the glass-blowing process.
Light Soy comes in plastic-free packaging, in a box made from recycled cardboard and bagasse sugarcane pulp, with a cotton handle so it can be carried home as-is.
Both the universal mains-powered pendant light and the portable USB-C rechargeable table lamp, which features touch-controlled dimming and an aluminium base, retails for A$649 (U.S.$409). The products are available for worldwide shipping and can be ordered here for delivery in late April.
It’s a pricey investment but one that comes at less of a cost to the environment than the little soy sauce bottles themselves. For a more affordable style alternative, however, you might want to check out the bento box backpack, which has delicious compartments to bring a smile to your everyday.
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