In the heart of Amsterdam, a remarkable design project has come to life: Bloomlight. This innovative street lantern, designed by the Amsterdam-based studio VOUW, is not just a marvel of technology but a statement in interactive public art. Completed in May 2021, Bloomlight has transformed the way we interact with urban spaces.
The Concept of Bloomlight
Bloomlight is inspired by the natural movement of grass swaying in the wind and addresses the pressing issue of light pollution. Unlike traditional street lamps, Bloomlight actively responds to passersby. These dark lanterns intriguingly bend towards individuals, opening up to emit a soft, warm glow reminiscent of a living organism. This interaction offers a unique experience where technology acknowledges and reacts to human presence. As one moves away, Bloomlight gracefully returns to its initial upright position, dimming its light, embodying both aesthetic beauty and functional purpose.
VOUW: The Minds Behind the Project
Behind Bloomlight are the creative minds of Justus Bruns and Mingus Vogel, founders of VOUW. Established in 2017, VOUW sits at the intersection of design and technology. Their philosophy is grounded in the concept of ‘slow tech’ – a design approach that emphasizes human connection and real-world interaction over the rapid pace of technological advancement.
VOUW’s portfolio includes projects like City Gazing and Chairwave, both of which reflect their commitment to enhancing public spaces through design. City Gazing, for instance, is an outdoor public artwork highlighting the technological impact on urban light footprints, while Chairwave encourages people to sit and connect.
Recognition and Impact
VOUW’s work, particularly Bloomlight, has garnered significant acclaim. Bloomlight was honoured as a winner in the Interactive Lighting Products category at the Lighting Design Awards. Fast Company lauded it as the best in Urban Design for 2021, and Hackaday praised it as a vision of the future we aspire to live in. These accolades reflect not just the innovation of Bloomlight but also its resonance with the public and the design community.
Design Philosophy and Studio Culture
The studio’s design philosophy revolves around enhancing human happiness and fostering patience and connectivity in an increasingly digital world. This philosophy is evident in their approach to public spaces, which they regard as the last frontier for genuine human interaction.
Operating from their open-space studio in a former shipyard in Amsterdam Noord, Bruns and Vogel oversee all aspects of their projects. While Bruns focuses on the business aspect, Vogel leads product design. Their collaborative approach ensures a seamless fusion of creative vision and practical execution, essential in pushing the boundaries of design and engineering.
Global Presence and Accessibility
VOUW’s commitment to public accessibility is demonstrated through its installations across global cities like Milan, Beijing, Dubai, Singapore, and Sydney. Their recent permanent installations, including City Gazing in Taiwan and Bloomlights in Qatar, underline their international impact.