Really, one of the best ways we know to create outdoor lighting magic in warm months are with Shoji Solar Lanterns.

Hang them over a dining table and they float like moons, as in Ikea’s Livet Hemma’s rooftop.

Mikkel Vang/Livet Hemma

Our friend Susan Dworski considers them an essential, inexpensive, mood-enhancing element that are, in her words “Pretty damned lunar at night”:

Ironically, I just replaced my tattered red Shoji solars yesterday with the familiar bluebird ones.

They are marvelous! I screwed the plastic stands (intended for tabletop use) on the bottom to stabilize them better in the wind. They add a certain Japanese gravitas.

They hang from iron shepherd’s crooks so I can distribute them among the sword ferns and not be dependent on a wire or tree branch for positioning.

Susan Dworski

Susan figured out a lovely end-use for when the lantern’s fabric finally shreds apart after 2 or 3 years outdoors:

I salvage the undamaged flat solar cells and hang them in the lemon tree where – inconspicuous by day – they continue to glow all night like tiny stars among the branches.

One of the most wondrous —and extravagant— uses of Shoji Solar Lanterns (or something like them) we’ve seen were for the suspended bubble effect French architects Marion Moustey and Alexandre Arcens achieved in their art installation “Sensual wave“, a few years ago, at top and below.

Sensual Wave by Marion Moustey and Alexandre Arcens; photo by Paul Kozlowski

Set along the harbor in La Grande-Motte Harbor, France, it comprises rows of luminous lanterns carefully hung on string, tied from one end of a floating dock to the other.

Paul Kozlowski

We love this alternative way to suspend lanterns without hanging them overhead.


“Sensual Wave” photos by Paul Kozlowski via DesignBoom

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3 replies on “Solar Lanterns Make Lunar Magic, Sensual Bubbles and, in the end, Stars

  1. Paper lanterns are one of my very favorite things to use for events. Such an inexpensive way to provide soft lighting, and I never cease to find them beautiful, like floating bubbles or planets. Have never seen them strung along a line horizontally like that before, really cool!

  2. I love this. Have never thought of hanging them horizontally. How do you keep them in place?

  3. Each lantern has a hole at each end, top and bottom. So you just turn them on their sides and pull a cord through them that you’ll secure horizontally.

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