Biomimetic Chandelier of 500 Photovoltaic Butterflies by Jeroen Verhoeven

Photos: Bas Helbers, Giulietta Verdon-Roe

We've seen chandeliers made from recycled bicycle parts and cultured crystal, but this imaginative take on fusing lighting and renewable energy generation must be the ultimate in solar-powered gadgets. Taking its biomimetic cue from real-life butterflies that use their wings to gather vital solar energy, this spectacular chandelier is made from 500 butterfly-shaped blue cesium photovoltaic cells, which in turn self-powers a large, hand-blown glass bulb in the center. Dubbed "Virtue of Blue," it's designed by Dutch artist-designer Jeroen Verhoeven and masterfully blends ecological design with art and functionalism.



According to the website Demakersvan, the chandelier is a "self-sustaining" piece that features four different shapes and breeds of butterflies, which seem to flutter around the central light source. Also, for you design theory-buffs out there, the design can be interpreted as symbolically self-signifying, since the

...semiotics of this design are highly significant as the butterflies become signifiers of the light's self-sufficiency; physically, these insects also power their own bodies, using their wings to absorb the rays of the sun, in turn raising and sustaining their own body temperatures to that which is necessary for their survival.

A nice touch. Currently, the butterfly chandelier is being exhibited as part of "The Curious Image" show at Blain | Southern Gallery in London, so if you're in the area, you'll have until July 16 to bask in its solar-powered light.


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