In our connected age, it’s hard to live a healthy, balanced home life. In Homebody, we test one product that claims to help.
I have a well-documented issue with lamps. I don’t like the way they look. I don’t like how much they cost. They just make me uncomfortable.
This is a strange prejudice, I know. Good lighting is important for any home. Lighting sets the mood; it helps me focus or relax. (Or even, as I learned recently, fall asleep and wake up.) The light we surround ourselves with says a lot about us, and guides our lives on the peripheries — when we wake up, when we fall asleep, whether we wear blue light filter lenses or even like to soak up summer rays for warmth or tanning.
I’ve been trying to figure this out for a bit now — my “lighting identity.” A few things I know: as I mentioned, I’m vexed by traditional shade lamps. Track lights are not my thing. The latest experiment in home lighting is Dyson’s Lightcycle Morph, which by its do-it-all design seems a challenge: if the Lightcycle Morph can be any light for any person, built by a beloved and innovative company, then it ought to be the perfect lamp to define my own light-self by. I used it in my home for a month to find out.
Dyson’s an interesting company. In 1986, after years of struggling to innovate vacuum design and warring with companies like Hoover, James Dyson sold his vortex design to a Japanese company. The ensuing product, called the G-Force, sold like hotcakes in Japan — it had an attachment that turned it into a table — and eventually won Dyson a Japanese design prize in 1991. The income from the G-Force helped Dyson get his struggling company off the ground. Since the ‘90s, Dyson has been known for its tech-centric designs for various home items, including vacuums, hand dryers, “bladeless” fans and heaters, air purifiers and hair dryers. At the outset of the Coronavirus crisis, they were contracted by the UK government to build 10,000 ventilators.
LED Lighting has been a relatively new introduction to Dyson’s product line. In 2011, they released the CSYS, a high-end desk lamp that cost more than $800. Since then, the CSYS’s price has continued to drop, and in 2019 they released the Lightcycle Morph, a highly adjustable do-it-all LED lamp available in both floor and desk sizes. The floor size, which is what I tried, retails for $860.
The Lightcycle Morph’s features are impressive. Like the CSYS, it uses some technology (“satellite cooling”) that looks and sounds like it ought to be in the latest NASA Mars rover to “protect LED light quality for decades”—sixty years or so, to be more precise. The lamp has multiple light settings, with adjustable color temperature and lumen intensity, that can be adjusted with slide touch controls or an app. It recognizes time zones for precise daylight tracking wherever it is, then matches its brightness and color temperature to the light outside. And its highly flexible design is meant to be adjusted for use as a desk lamp, accent lighting, a floor lamp or “precision” lighting for tasks.
It’s a hell of an impressive lamp on paper.
I’ve always heard from Dyson owners who swear by their products. But generally, Dysons and their extensive features — a vacuum cleaner with adjustable pieces that feel more like doodads and whatzits — have left me confused rather than impressed.
The Lightcycle Morph changed that impression. It’s well built and its design is relatively simple — just a tall base and an arm that pivots and swings from multiple joints. My first impression was to use it as a desk lamp, where its soft but powerful light immediately helped with the eye fatigue I’ve felt from staring at a screen all day and using an overhead light at night.
Then I decided to try it as the main light source in my living room. Pivoting its head to throw light against the wall and adjusting it to a warm yellow with a simple touch on its sliding buttons filled the whole room with light, without any of the harsh glare that my old apartment’s (admittedly terrible) wall sconces had provided. My fiancee took to turning it to a bright white natural light during the day and facing it as a grow light on our houseplants. At night, I’d swing it around and adjust it to its warm, relaxing yellow. I even tried its strange “docked” position, which throws warm yellow light through its perforated base. It looked kind of like a fireplace, or perhaps the power core of a futuristic spaceship.
I finally loved a lamp. Yes, its cost is prohibitive. But I have to admit, that’s the only downside I could find with it. The Lightcycle Morph’s design is intuitive. Its look is stylish. Most importantly, the light it provides is adjustable enough to make it perfect for pretty much any use you’d want for a lamp. The only problem, really, is that price tag, and the fact that you can’t tote it around your apartment whenever you need it in a new spot. That would require buying a few of them, which is something I and many others probably can’t afford.
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