At its minimalist worst, the Balldur is a cool-looking lamp. It’s made of smooth wood and ceramic and has a bulb that would make Thomas Edison proud. The Balldur (whatever that means) feels like an artifact from a Terry Gilliam movie—and that my friends is a good thing. In some ways, it is also reminiscent of boutique guitar amplifiers. In short, it is nice looking.
The Kickstarter campaign behind it claims it “has so many functions is [sic] such a small device.” It’s true, it does. It’s on the brink of almost having too many to get a little confusing, but in the end, I think the beautiful design of this solid-looking device wins the day.
And while little messaging flubs like showing a non-qi compatible device like an iPhone wirelessly charging on it are sure to irritate the card-carrying nerds among us (myself included), I’d still probably sign up for something like this.
In terms of the functionality (outside of letting there be light) the Balldur lists:
So, as you can see, there are many things this doodad can do for you. At the end of the day though, it looks to me like it would serve us best as a mobile app-controlled lamp/speaker combo. It’s neat looking and everyone needs a speaker for their smartphone, for sure. The wireless charging and find-your-phone add-ons are nice-to-haves.
In this age of cognitive devices and approaches like Amazon Echo or the Staples Easy System, the Balldur is sort of the anti-echo…not a sleek, cylindrical column of the future but instead sort of a reminder of the past while having present, needed functions and that’s OK. We still need tactile products in this digital world, and the Balldur has an air of craftsmanship to it…like it’s made by someone who remembers the past and cares about it.