Glowing Canals In Amsterdam

The area of Falmouth close to Montego Bay in Jamaica is famous for its Luminous Lagoon, where water naturally illuminates due to the micro-organisms living in the shallow, warm area where salt and fresh water meets. The fish and giant rays can even be observed from a boat, creating a certain discomfort if one is afraid of big fish. There are only four places in the world where this phenomenon can be observed, but the Italian architect Carlo Morsiani is determined to change that…

Morsiani, who presented his work at our last PechaKucha in Amsterdam on 24 April, has come up with this brilliant idea for urban decoration. The concept: using luminescent bacteria to turn Amsterdam’s canals into glowing turquoise water. The bacteria would illuminate the canals and purify them at the same time.

In theory, the combination of two bacteria (the first called Shewanella) converts electricity into motion, and the second (called Photobacta) consequently emits light in moving water. This bacteria is implemented to design lighting elements at different scales — from entire canals to window elements. Morsiani presented his idea at Delft University’s Faculty of Architecture. The Project is “easy to explain but difficult to achieve”, says Morsiani.