The ‘Trace series of outdoor solar lamps by designers Gionatta Gatto and Mike Thompson takes aesthetic inspiration from the ocean, as you can see. The aquatic feel of the lamp is mostly inspired by the muted blue glow of the lamps coupled with the flowing design of the shades.
Gatto and Thompson’s Trace lamps are self-sufficient units that are powered by solar energy. The flowing, almost umbrella-esque design is supposedly quite efficient at capturing ambient light, which we assume is because of the large surface area of the material. You might notice in the photos that the shades have a sheen to them. This is due to the polyurethane rubber which makes up the Trace.
According to Mike Thompson’s site, the Trace lamps come in three sizes — small, medium, and large. There are differences, beyond size, in the three versions. The smallest utilizes a combination of electrical and solar, while the largest model replaces the lightbulb with the ambient glow of captured sunlight since it has a larger surface area to charge from. The smallest and medium-sized models feature 5 watt LED light bulbs.
Here’s how Mr. Thompson describes the process of creating the Trace lamps:
Using photoluminescent pigments in combination with polyurethane rubbers, hand-made photoluminescent skins are developed to convert waste energy back into visible light. 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.
Apparently, it only takes about 30 minutes to charge the photoluminescent pigments but those 30 minutes are supposed to be capable of holding several hours of light.
If you’re interested, check out this video of Gatto and Thompson creating one of their lamps.