Lamp Recycles Solar Energy As Ambient Light

The warm breezes of spring will soon give way to the scorching heat of the summer months. During the work day, I like to stay indoors, sheltered from the direct rays of the sun, but it always seems that by late afternoon, the heat inside is too much to bear. Backyards, porches and patios are great places to escape from the stuffy indoor climate, since the outdoor temperature drops quickly once the sun begins to set.

Unfortunately, when the sun disappears, it takes both the heat and light with it. Enjoying outdoor areas after sunset means switching on costly, heat-producing, artificial lights that are a magnet for buzzing pests. With their latest series of Trace outdoor solar lamps, designers Gionatta Gatto and Mike Thompson find a way to repurpose the sun’s light into artistic nighttime illumination.

Trace Solar Lamp

image via Gionatta Gatto and Mike Thompson/DesignBoom

As noted in this review, the handcrafted lamps get their solar-harvesting qualities from photoluminescent pigments used in combination with polyurethane rubbers. “As darkness descends, a ghostly trace of light is revealed as the high concentration of photoluminescent pigments radiate recycled light energy as an intense, ambient glow.”

Trace Solar Lamp

Image via Gionatta Gatto and Mike Thompson/Design Boom

The design resembles the underside of colorful umbrella if you were to open it on a sunny day. The combination of cool greens, blues, and neutral colors gives the lamps an oceanic quality, soothing as well as constantly moving. According to the designers, the lamps utilize a combination of ambient solar and electrical energy. With only about 30 minutes of charging the photoluminescent pigments are supposed to be capable of holding several hours of light.

Check out this video to see how Gatto and Thompson create their lamps:

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog


  • Reply May 13, 2012

    Dan Kennedy


  • Reply May 13, 2012

    Dan Kennedy

    Wow! That is simply amazing. If and when you have something you are ready to sell to consumers please contact us. We would love to offer this product to our customers at

  • Reply May 14, 2012


    awesome.. It was amazing… this technology, if you wan to sell it, just call us..

  • Reply May 18, 2012


    sun power is the gift of the gods.. from the sun comes all things for life.. worship the god that is the sun

  • Reply May 18, 2012


    we be lunar people our days are Po meaning night and dark. nightime is for the gods as we sleep, The sun nourishes our crops, lets us get out jobs done, keeps the cycle of of life moving. remember the sun does not rise nor set.

  • Reply June 25, 2012

    Eco One

    Definitely beautiful.  What a fantastic idea.  Living in Arizona Eco One believes in the sustainable power we get from the sun.  These solar lamps will greatly increase the beauty of any home.   

  • Reply December 14, 2013


    What is the current status of this great idea? Is it commercialized yet and who should we contact? I am interested in showcasing it at

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