Glow-In-The-Dark Trees Could Replace Street Lights

by | Apr 22, 2014 | Video

According to Daan Roosegaarde, the future of art and design is awash with spectacular innovation. From giant vacuum cleaning systems aimed at eradicating smog to “smart” apparelthat becomes translucent when the wearer is turned on, the Dutch artist/designer/architect has helped imagine some hair-raising projects that could propel us into a new era of aesthetics.

His newest endeavor — a plan to replace light fixtures with bioluminescent plants — is no letdown in comparison.

Taking a cue from biomimicry, Roosegaarde is hoping to transform your average street-side trees into beacons of light for passersby. Like the luminescent abilities of jellyfish, mushrooms or fireflies, Roosegaarde, scientist Alexander Krichevsky and the State University of New York are all on the case, splicing DNA from luminescent marine bacteria with the chloroplast of a houseplant.

The smaller-scale, glow-in-the-dark specimens would act as the basis for a project of greater proportions — light-emitting installations that look like trees. “What happens when technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of the things that we wear and the roads that we drive on?” Roosegaarde muses in the video above.

Watch the short clip to hear the artist speak more about his ambitious plans and the reason he’s ventured to the United States to pursue his quest. Let us know your thoughts on the merging of nature and technology in the comments.