Technology

Sandra Rey’s Bioluminescence Creates Natural Light Without Electricity

The artist has raised $3.5m for her bioluminescent creations, used for art installations and lighting in public spaces.

11.10.2019 | by Christy Romer
Photo by Glowee
Photo by Glowee

Four people sit down in a room. Mushrooms hang from the ceiling; plants rise up from the floor. Birdsong flutters in the air. And in the middle, inside a tree-like structure, lies Glowee — a blue-ish haze that grows in intensity as regular lights in the room dim.

“Welcome to the Glowzen Room,” a softly accented French voice says. “You are here because you chose to experience a unique moment, out of time. To connect to nature. Balancing your body and mind.”

The scene takes place in startup Glowee’s “innovative, immersive and inspiring relaxation experience,” the Glowzen Room. The 17-minute experience promises to improve general wellbeing by improving concentration, mental health, positive emotions and mood.

And, at the heart of it is a multi-million-dollar bioluminescence technique, perfected by 29-year-old entrepreneur Sandra Rey.

 

 

Glowee

Rey tells the site Boomvibes that she got the idea for Glowee in 2014 while participating in a student design competition.

It works by inserting the genetic coding that creates bioluminescence into common marine bacteria to produce clean, safe, synthetic bioluminescence. Once engineered and grown, the bacteria are encapsulated in a transparent shell alongside the nutrients they need to live and make light.

To turn the light ‘off’,’ Rey simply deprives the bacteria of oxygen, and they become dormant.

The aim is not to replace electric lighting, but instead to help diminish dependence on electric lighting.

After five years of tweaking, her startup is creating art installations for hotels and public spaces. She’s raised €3.5 million for the creations and sold 10,000 units — with plans to add facilities for cities, such as backlit park benches, over the next few years.

Cyprien Comarmond, CEO of Mon Concept Habitation UK — a board advisor to Glowee — praised Glowee’s “huge” impact on the environment by creating light without any pollution. “It does reduce the carbon footprint of the light by using raw organic material, and on the top of that it creates a welcoming and zen atmosphere! ”

To date, Rey’s raised €3.5 million, lots of it through around 800 individual investors — which she sees as a particular strength for the company.

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