Welcome to The Esquire Endorsement. Heavily researched. Thoroughly vetted. These picks are the best way to spend your hard-earned cash.
Overhead lighting should be illegal. It is an affront to the eyes, casting unflattering, blue-toned glare across the room, revealing dust motes and dirty corners and over-loved furniture. No one looks good in overhead lighting, and everyone wants to look good. So buy nice lamps and set them up everywhere. And then go one step further in the pursuit of flattering—to you and to your surroundings—lighting: Buy a lantern. One that moves around freely and doesn’t burn kerosene. Balmuda’s newish Lantern is the one to go with.
It’s got all the ambiance you could want.
I don’t think I’m breaking any news to you when I say that a lantern, besides providing ambiance, also provides…light. Funny how that works. But I’ve found myself really needing an extra light source when I’m at home, which is often. I take it with me to the kitchen table to shed soft light from behind my laptop (or brighten up a Zoom situation). I put it on my nightstand to ward off demons/set a mood if I’m watching TV or reading in bed and my bedside lamp is too aggressive. I crank it up in the backyard at dusk, and eventually, I’ll take it camping and hang it from a tent strap. It’s only LEDs, but this thing glows warmly like a real flame. It is welcoming. The circle of light it casts is inviting and cozy. Besides, camp gear is cool. Take what is traditionally used outside—i.e. a lantern—and move it inside, and you’ve made it clear you follow your own path.
It is beyond simple to use.
Balmuda’s aesthetic is pure, matte minimalism—crisp, clean lines, no overkill, very easy on the eyes. It functions as such, too. You’ve got one dial. When you turn that dial, the LED tube bulb gets brighter. At its lower levels, it emits a smoldering orange glow, and as you go higher, it transitions from that orangey amber to yellow to nearly white. It is USB-rechargable (what isn’t these days), and depending on how bright you set it, it can last from three to 50 hours on a charge. And that’s about all you need to know.
Balmuda is a brand worth paying attention to.
Balmuda doesn’t make a heck of a ton of products, but we at Esquire whole-heartedly throw our support at the ones it does. Such as the Balmuda steam toaster. The same idea as the lantern drives the toaster’s design: beautiful matte finish, simple controls, never a waver in functionality. If Balmuda made paper clips, we’d buy ‘em. If it veered into motorized vehicles, we’d pay attention. In fact, the Japanese outfit just revealed a smartphone. Yes, it is beautifully matte. Which is all to say that the brand, which has built itself a nice little cult following, is one that earns any money you choose to throw at it. Start with $149 for a very good lantern.
Photography by Philip Friedman. Prop styling John Olson for Halley Resources.
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