Circular Lighting Report

Festive fireworks ‘could be replaced with light displays’

Spark London

Festive fireworks for events such as New Year’s Eve could be replaced with more environmentally friendly alternatives, say experts.

They point to a new generation of biodegradable displays, such as those pioneered by Dutch lighting designer and innovator Daan Roosegaarde.

Roosegaarde successfully trialled his firework alternative – dubbed Spark – earlier this year at the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival 2022 in London.

An organic firework performance in the grounds of Greenwich University, the former Naval Collage, used thousands of biodegradable elements which  organically floated through the air, rising to a height of 50 metres and visible for miles around.

The technology was inspired by the light of fireflies and ‘a desire to update the culturally ingrained ritual of fireworks’.

Through a combination of design and technology, the bubbles – which number is thousands – are made of biodegradable materials which float through the air, lit up by powerful projectors.

The bubbles look like light sparks floating in the wind, reminiscent of fireworks, but without the noise and air pollution.

Roosegaarde says the technology provides ‘a sustainable alternative for communal celebrations that want to harness the visual power of light whether in the context of events such as the Olympic Ceremonies, New Year’s Eve or Bonfire Night.

‘We want to cherish traditions but we need to keep modernising them to be relevant. To show contemporary organic fireworks in this historical context is a true honour and shows the beauty of a new, sustainable celebration.’

Traditional methods of celebration – including balloon releases, sky lanterns and plastic confetti – have come increasingly under fire in recent years as environmentalists point out the negative impacts.

The Spark display at  the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival 2022  isn’t Roosegaarde’s first foray into alternative technologies.  His Smog Free Project used seven-metre-high towers to hoover air from inner cities and create diamonds from collected carbon, is currently being used in urban parks across China. Urban Sun, which will feature at the upcoming Solar Biennale, uses safe far-UVC 222nm light to clean public spaces of the coronavirus. In Seeing Stars he will collaborate with the Dutch city of Leiden on 25 September 2022 to turn off its city lights, unveiling the majesty of the skies above and ‘reiterating the need for human connection with our natural universe’.

• Recolight offers special one-day training workshops on ‘Lighting product design for a Circular Economy’. Hosted by industrial designer Simon Fisher of F Mark, the CPD-accredited event explores the design criteria, regulations and standards to help lighting manufacturers apply and demonstrate circular economy principles in product development. More HERE.

Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.