Sustainability and Wellness

Finding Light in Nature

Teresa van Dongen
Teresa van Dongen
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Bioluminescence is nature’s flashlight – lighting the dark inner reaches of the sea from a chemical reaction within living organisms. Most people know bioluminescence from glowing blue waves in the ocean during summertime, but a Dutch-based designer is entirely transforming the way we consider forms of energy by developing sustainable light sources from the natural occurrence.

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The octopus can attract mates, distract predators and attract prey with flashes of light in its tentacles and on its head, Teresa explains. She notes that she used these specific micro-organisms because they can, in return for nutrients and in reaction to oxygen, continuously emit light. It is not a stress reaction, and they don’t need to recharge after every flash, like the micro-algae.
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One Luminous Dot was inspired by countless deep-sea organisms, many of which have the extraordinary ability to emit light. Photographed by Hans Boddeke

I learned to accept the small risk that comes with working with living organisms
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Ambio balances two weights and a glass tube half-filled with an artificial seawater medium containing a carefully selected type of bioluminescent micro-organism.

The future of lighting can indeed be made more sustainable thanks to the natural resource of marine organisms…