Ambio bacterial lamp by Teresa van Dongen | Yellowtrace

Ambio bacterial lamp by Teresa van Dongen | Yellowtrace

Ambio bacterial lamp by Teresa van Dongen | Yellowtrace

Click here to watch the embedded video.


Ocean waves glowing blue in the dark of night – anyone who has ever experienced this knows how magical it looks. This phenomenon is caused by bioluminescent micro-organisms in seawater that emit light when exposed to oxygen. This principle inspired young Dutch designer Teresa van Dongen to combine her passion for design and biology into a bioluminescent light installation. ‘Ambio’ balances two weights and a glass tube, half-filled with a “Artificial Seawater Medium”, containing a carefully selected type of these unique luminescent species. By giving the lamp a gentle push every so often, it’s weights will keep it moving and thus glowing. Ambio is a physical manifestation of the research on how to use nature as a source of energy.

is a young Amsterdam-based designer. A great passion for science and nature and her love of glass are the core and foundation of Teresa’s work. Prior to her design education, Teresa studied Biology at the University of Amsterdam. In June 2014, she graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven with her projects “Ambio” and “Lumist”.


Lumist lamp by Teresa van Dongen | Yellowtrace

Lumist lamp by Teresa van Dongen. “Energy is a precious commodity, but often we don’t notice when it’s wasted. I looked for a way to use the heat lost by halogen lamps and created Lumist – a lamp and a humidifier in one. The heat from the bulb keeps the surrounding water just under boiling point, and therefore causes the water to evaporate. More water is constantly provided by the adjacent reservoir. By capturing the contradictory traits of water and light in glass, I visualise this otherwise lost energy.” Photo by Hans Boddeke / Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven.


[Images courtesy of Teresa van Dongen & Design Academy Eindhoven.]


About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

Leave a Reply