Bionic Chandelier

Designed by Julian Melchiorri in 2017, the Bionic Chandelier is a living chandelier that purifies the air within London’s V&A museum. Envisioned through a collaboration of innovative engineering and biotechnology, the Bionic Chandelier mimics the biological process of photosynthesis as seen in nature. Performed by the microalgae within the leaf modules adorning the chandelier, indoor air is purified as the light illuminating the space simultaneously stimulates the photosynthetic action. A symbiotic relationship is thus created within the different elements of the chandelier itself, both natural and man-made. Melchiorri highlights the role of waste within the relationship, wherein such waste (the carbon dioxide the algae is feeding off of) enables the metabolic processes (in this case, the releasing of oxygen to purify the air). Even the structure of the chandelier itself is biomimetic, with a single leaf module of three different sizes repeating itself 70 times on a radial array, similar to how shells and plants are naturally shaped. The Bionic Chandelier is also connected to a life support device, which ensures the maintenance and self-regulation of the algal microorganisms. While critics could easily label such use of resources as wasteful, and therefore antithetical to the ultimate aim of the piece, the Bionic Chandelier is an art piece at its core and will remain within the V&A for as long as possible as part of its permanent collection. 


Aesthetic/Leisure, Pollution