Alberto Vasquez is the man behind Igendesign, the Budapest-based design firm responsible for the bamboo Flow light you see above. The Flow, intended for developing nations, uses windpower to provide juice to onboard lights; by virtue of its form, as it rotates, it gives off a distinct series of kinetically-interesting light shows.
Pretty though it may be, the Flow was designed not just for decoration, but for a very specific type of utility:
...We intended to solve a serious problem of the Colombian seaside. Due to the lack of public lighting the busy beaches become abandoned and dangerous at night, as the electric network cannot be channeled to the beach. Additionally, our aim was to stand up against the trends in design and to create a real eco-product.
The constant prevailing wind on the coast is an ideal source for lighting. The product is a self maintaining public lighting for the coasts of Cartagena (Colombia) based on the principle of vertical wind power plants, and it is made of bamboo. 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. The whole lamp decomposes in nature, except for the long life electronics components - LEDs, wires and dynamo.
Since the concrete manufacturing is a rather harmful procedure we tried to avoid using that material. The sections at the joinpoint are filled with a bamboo fiber composit resin, and we fix the construction in the ground with crossing bamboo bars instead of concrete basement.
It was an important consideration to adapt the design to the native culture and make it easy to manufacture by the natives themselves. The assembly of the electronic components and bearing is very easy because high precision is not required due to the simple construction.
A corporation called Empresa Colombiana ("Colombian Enterprises") has expressed interest in producing the lamps, and following testing in Hungary this spring, Igendesign plans to begin installation in Cartagena next summer.