Flow – Public Lighting for the Third World – Alberto Vasquez


Sometimes it is the simplest designs that are the most moving, and that certainly is the case with Alberto Vasquez’s “Flow” project.  In his efforts to bring lighting to the public, in countries and places without access to the power grid, Vasquez came up with an elegant LED Bamboo street light.  The design is not only smart, it is amazing cheap, effective, and biodegradable.  The real question is why they are not being massed produced? Check it out after the jump!  

STUDENT: Alberto Vasquez
Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest
YEAR: 2010

” ‘Flow’ is a bamboo-made, self maintaining public lighting which operates on the principle of vertical wind turbine. The whole lamp disintegrates in nature excpet for the electronics – LEDs, wires and dynamo – which after time can be recycled without downcycling. Due to the simple junctions and mechanics, it can also be produced by the local unskilled workforce.

The light sources situated at the ends of the windblades can form continous lighting surface or slow, waving movements and play of light, depending on the speed of the rotation. Due to its spiral form, the lamp can hold the wind from every direction.

The reason of this lamp – Solving local problem with local resources

The object was mainly designed for the Colombian coasts. I am Colombian as well and I was inspired by a problem that I experienced in Cartagena – a coast-wise city in Colombia. The coast side of the city is busy and safe by day, but in the night it is abandoned and dangerous due to the lack of public lighting, as the grid cannot be transmitted to the shores.
The wind dominating the shores in the whole year is an ideal resource for the lighting. Bamboo is one of the easiest to find and cheapest to produce raw material in Colombia and its utilization is not „eco-harmful” even at small and medium serial number products.
It was a socially important aspect that the lamp can be produced by the locals, thus it can integrate to the area’s cultural and economic rhythm. Hence I designed the buildup in the easiest way. This product can be assembeled by the locals themselves, practically only an instruction guide has to be attached. During the development of the lamp my aim was the materialization of bamboo and to fit the object into the local culture’s forms.
After the design process I realized that there are lot of countries with similar problems. In the countries of the Third World the lack of public lighting is a common problem. The reason behind is that in these places the building of an electric network is too expensive or not even possible and there is not enough resource at hand: not enough raw materials, money and skilled workforce for the production. There is a need of lighting which is cheap, can be installed at places which cannot reach the network and can be easily produced with local resources. At these places the cheapest and highest in quantity raw material is bamboo, while the cheapest utility energy is wind energy.”
                                                   – Alberto Vasquez
Check out the rest of Alberto’s work at www.alberto.hu
All text and Images via Alberto Vasquez

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