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The Kikkerland RainbowMaker seems, on the face of it, a wholly impractical item. Its sole purpose, after all, is nothing more than to rotate and “create a swirl of rainbows.” But I can say with complete sincerity that nothing has made me happier in my quarantine home life than this spinning crystal.
I first heard about it in Slate’s guide to “unassuming yet revolutionary gifts:” Former staffer Leon Neyfakh recommended it, writing, “The indoor world can be a dreary place in the winter, but you can fix it—with rainbows.” I remember earmarking the product—it seemed like a fun, frivolous purchase that could bring a bit of joy to my life at some point in the future. When I moved into a new apartment midpandemic, Neyfakh’s recommendation sprung back to mind—I knew I’d be spending an immense amount of time in this new “indoor world,” and my decidedly dreary environs needed a bit of pizazz. And so my first purchase for my new place—even before I visited the local hardware store for necessities—was the rainbow-maker.
It’s a delightfully simple device. Inventor David Dear dreamed it up when working in the display industry, where he saw firsthand how much window shoppers enjoyed admiring refracted rainbows. When he finally decided to create it, he settled on a see-through design, so you can watch how the solar cell powers a little motor that sets the multifaceted Swarovski crystal turning, sending dozens of tiny rainbows spinning around a room.
Its solar power means you need to be intentional about its placement in your home—I had to reposition mine a couple times before I settled on a spot near a south-facing window, where it springs to life for a few hours every afternoon when the sun powers it up. The room is done in elegant, minimalist white tile, but for a short time every afternoon it’s filled with playful color and light. This summer, when much of day-to-day life has been subdued and repetitive, it brings a much-needed infusion of fun and whimsy.
I’ve now had it for almost two months, and I’m still taken when I walk in the room to see rainbows racing happily around the walls for the first time that day. Since moving, I’ve also bought my first house plant and framed some art, but nothing feels as dynamic and joyous as those three hours of dancing rainbows.