It may sound like something cooked up in Frankenstein’s lab, but Joris Laarman has created an incredible living lamp made out of (get this) bioluminescent, living, glowing hamster cells. Called the “Half Life,” his lamp produces a soft, ambient glow using cells from a Chinese hamster enriched with firefly genes (which are what make it light up). Biochemistry, meet interior design. IT’S ALIVE!
You’ll be happy to hear that no hamsters were harmed in the creation of Laarman’s lamp – the cells come from a culture of tissue that has been kept alive since 1957 (creepy). In the 1990’s the cells were enriched with a gene derived from fireflies that makes them glow in the dark in the presence of luciferin.
According to Laarman, “the development of bioluminescence systems in living organisms occurred naturally about 20 or 30 times in evolution. Well known examples of bioluminescence are found in bacteria, fire flies, and jelly fish.”
If you’d like to check out the Half Life lamp in real life, Joris Laarman will be exhibiting his freaky furnishings starting this Friday at the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York. Dr Frankenstein approves.