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.
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.”
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: