Living lamps / 2015

Bioluminescence is the living organisms’ ability to emit light. Contrary to common beliefs, this phenomenon occurs very often, especially among the organisms living in the depth of sea. We can observe the biolominescence by looking at the fireflies, the light is emitted by the female’s abdomens to attract attention of the potential partner. During the night we can also very often stumble across the rotten wood that also emits light. This phenomenon is caused by the mycelium of the parasitical fungus of the Armillaria mellea. 

It’s the bioluminescence that inspired Pani Jurek to create eco lamps. Together with Stanisław Łoboziak, a biologist from Biology Lab of Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, the designer created lighting fixture that can emit light without the necessity of suppling them with the electricity. To make it possible we used the bioluminescent diatoms that live in the sea. Diatoms can be observed in nature, when waves full of diatoms hit the shore, the water flares with blue magical light.

These special organisms have some kind of a biological clock that is responsible for controlling the emission of light. The diatoms do not emit light during the day, it occurs only during the night and when they are in motion. The energy that is needed to produce the light is gained during the fotosynthesis. Only daylight and the microelements that are in the sea water are enough for the diatoms to survive. What is more, during the fotosynthesis process the diatoms absorb the carbon dioxide that causes the greenhouse effect. The lamp that is enriched in the diatoms can emit light even for 6 to 9 months, depending on the pace of the diatom’s growth, and if we want it to work for a longer time we simply have to dilute the cultivation and the whole process can be renewed.

Lamps consist from glass jars and wooden handles of different shapes that enable user easily put diatoms in motion. They can be rocked, shaken, used as a shoulder bag or an hourglass. Screw tops hidden inside the wooden elements enable to change the shaped of jars. They can be also easily replaced when anything is broken.

Project of bioluminescent lamps is a form of experiment. Our goal is to show the potential of bioluminescence. It can be used in future to lighten our houses, streets and cities in a way that does not affect our planet like the contemporary sources of energy do. Lamps have been shown for the first time in autumn 2015 during the Przemiany Festival in Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw.

PS. Diatoms are single-celled organisms without nervous system. They do not suffer when are closed in jars or when are in motion.