Let There Be Light! Jan Klingler Turns Bacteria Into Lamps

Industrial designer Jan Klingler admits to finding design inspiration in the unexpected of places. This might explain how he arrived at his original lamp designs – custom lamps made of bacteria swabbed from people, places or items.

“We all consist of 10 times more bacteria than human cells,” reads his website. “Every living being and place has its own unique and personal microbiological fingerprint. In a crossover between science, art, and industrial design, the bacteria lamp uses this fact to create stand out conversational pieces.”

His lamps are conversational pieces, if nothing else. His website explains that the samples are taken from people, places or things that hold a position of importance, and are grown into a unique piece in the form of commissioned work. “The possibilities are as individual as each one of us,” notes Klingler, and include the location of a first date, a personal souvenir from a memorable journey, or the remainder of loved one far away (meaning bacteria swabbed from your loved ones).

After a growth period of 24 to 48 hours, the microorganisms are fully sealed within resin to stop the growth and to preserve them for eternity. An LED light source incorporated into a custom silicone plug highlights the visual quality of the growth pattern and colors from above or below.

In an interview with Sixtysix Magazine, Klingler explained that the lamps are the result of his research on how to give new objects the opportunity to be vessels of past memories and give them a deeper relationship with their owner. “When producing a piece for commissioned work, the customer is very much involved in this process, getting to choose between the colors that grow or having a pure mix of all of them,” he adds.

Here are some of his mind-boggling designs: