written by:
May 8, 2009

Producing power by harnessing kinetic energy from human and animal movement is a great idea but one with few good results. Disco-ball lights powered by club-goers getting down on the dance floor is a fun concept but ultimately unsustainable—one can only do the Electric Slide for so long—and there are simply not enough hamsters in the world for those rodent-wheel-energy fantasies to be fulfilled. Recently, Swedish designer Karin Johansson approached the concept with a slightly new angle, generating light through a familiar activity: Spinning a globe.

The Dynamic Lamp (stationary) by Karin Johansson<br><br>"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of
The Dynamic Lamp (stationary) by Karin Johansson"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of producing your energy where you are, instead of transporting it in all directions across the earth. The sole by-product is exercise."Photo by Andreas Nyquist
1 / 8
The Dynamic Lamp (in use) by Karin Johansson<br><br>"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of prod
The Dynamic Lamp (in use) by Karin Johansson"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of producing your energy where you are, instead of transporting it in all directions across the earth. The sole by-product is exercise."Photo by Andreas Nyquist
2 / 8
Pyriform glasses and decanter by Andreas Dahlberg<br><br>Andreas Dahlberg based the design of his Pyriform glasses and decanter on the shape of birds' nests made by cliff-dwelling birds who lay their eggs on narrow ledges, which are often conical rather t
Pyriform glasses and decanter by Andreas DahlbergAndreas Dahlberg based the design of his Pyriform glasses and decanter on the shape of birds' nests made by cliff-dwelling birds who lay their eggs on narrow ledges, which are often conical rather than circular or spherical, Dahlberg writes about his design.Photo by Andreas Nyquist
3 / 8
Lux necklace by Mae Yokoyama<br><br>Mae Yokoyama's necklace combines haute couture and high technology to highlight the benefits of solar energy. During the day, the solar panels create a bold collar necklace. At night, the energy accumulated during the d
Lux necklace by Mae YokoyamaMae Yokoyama's necklace combines haute couture and high technology to highlight the benefits of solar energy. During the day, the solar panels create a bold collar necklace. At night, the energy accumulated during the daytime illuminates small lights to create the effect of a string of pearls, Yokoyama writes about her design.Photo by Andreas Nyquist
4 / 8
Lux necklace by Mae Yokoyama<br><br>Mae Yokoyama's necklace combines haute couture and high technology to highlight the benefits of solar energy. During the day, the solar panels create a bold collar necklace. At night, the energy accumulated during the d
Lux necklace by Mae YokoyamaMae Yokoyama's necklace combines haute couture and high technology to highlight the benefits of solar energy. During the day, the solar panels create a bold collar necklace. At night, the energy accumulated during the daytime illuminates small lights to create the effect of a string of pearls, Yokoyama writes about her design.Photo by Andreas Nyquist
5 / 8
Look Around-Loosen Up vase by Stine Mærkli<br><br>Mærkli's vase is an example of her work investigating body language, gestures, and movement in glass design. The Look Around-Loosen Up vase consists of stiff and mobile sections that reflect "a direct tran
Look Around-Loosen Up vase by Stine MærkliMærkli's vase is an example of her work investigating body language, gestures, and movement in glass design. The Look Around-Loosen Up vase consists of stiff and mobile sections that reflect "a direct transfer of body movements to functional objects," she writes about her design.Photo by Andreas Nyquist
6 / 8
Expandable Living chair by Knud Brandt and Jens Gustavsson<br><br>"Stockholm is said to be the city with the highest percentage of single person households in the world—many of them are students. As a student, you often have a great circle of friends but
Expandable Living chair by Knud Brandt and Jens Gustavsson"Stockholm is said to be the city with the highest percentage of single person households in the world—many of them are students. As a student, you often have a great circle of friends but less square meters to invite them to," Gustavsson writes about his design. "This is a one-man chair for a one-man household that can expand to be a bench for ten friends."Photo by Andreas Nyquist
7 / 8
Expandable Living bench by Knud Brandt and Jens Gustavsson<br><br>"Stockholm is said to be the city with the highest percentage of single person households in the world—many of them are students. As a student, you often have a great circle of friends but
Expandable Living bench by Knud Brandt and Jens Gustavsson"Stockholm is said to be the city with the highest percentage of single person households in the world—many of them are students. As a student, you often have a great circle of friends but less square meters to invite them to," Gustavsson writes about his design. "This is a one-man chair for a one-man household that can expand to be a bench for ten friends."Photo by Andreas Nyquist
8 / 8
The Dynamic Lamp (stationary) by Karin Johansson<br><br>"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of
The Dynamic Lamp (stationary) by Karin Johansson"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of producing your energy where you are, instead of transporting it in all directions across the earth. The sole by-product is exercise."Photo by Andreas Nyquist

Johansson's Dynamic Lamp comprises a globe stand, a semi-opaque white sphere that looks like a blank canvas for a world map, a dynamo affixed inside the sphere, and a light bulb. When one spins the sphere, the dynamo (which is essentially a mechanically-powered electric generator like what you find in hand-crank radios or flashlights) turns the human power into electricity, which turns on the light. When the sphere, and thus the dynamo, stop spinning, the lamp turns off.

Though far from perfect—a single spin illuminates the lamp for slightly less than 30 seconds (click here to watch a video of the lamp in action)—the design adds to the ideas about and possible solutions for turning human kinetic energy into electrical power and reducing our demands on fossil fuels. The Dynamic Lamp also makes a statement: “It looks like a globe of the Earth so it moves you to think about how today’s energy issues are a global problem,” Johansson says. She also enjoys the more whimsical aspect of the design: “It’s like a fairy tale,” she says. “It’s almost like putting fireflies in a jar to make a lamp.”

Johansson is a student at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design’s InSpace interior architecture and furniture design program, from which she graduates this spring. She created the Dynamic Lamp for her master’s thesis project, and though it is not currently being produced, she is looking for a manufacturer. Her lamp, as well as work by over 50 other master’s students throughout the university, will be exhibited at the school, in Stockholm, May 12-24.

Click the “View Slideshow” button at the upper right-hand corner of this post to see a selection of the projects that will be on display and visit konstfack.info for more about the school and exhibition.

The Dynamic Lamp (in use) by Karin Johansson<br><br>"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of prod
The Dynamic Lamp (in use) by Karin Johansson"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of producing your energy where you are, instead of transporting it in all directions across the earth. The sole by-product is exercise."Photo by Andreas Nyquist
 

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): a shared belief that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment living room vertical oak slats
For the modernists among us, these spare spaces are a dream come true.
February 08, 2016
The square fountain at the courtyard's center is a modern rendition of a very traditional feature in many Middle Eastern homes.
From a large gathering space for family or a tranquil sanctuary, these seven designs feature some very different takes on the ancient idea of a courtyard.
February 08, 2016
stdaluminum 021
Since windows and doors are such important aspects of your home, it’s always a good idea to take the time to evaluate how they fit within the lifestyle you want. Whether you’re in the middle of constructing a new home, or you’re considering replacing your current setup, there are multiple elements to consider when it comes time to make the final decisions. Milgard® Windows & Doors understands how vital these choices are to the well-being of your home and has developed ways to turn the process into a journey that can be just as enjoyable as it is fulfilling. Not sure where to start? We gathered some helpful insights from their team of experts to help us better understand what goes into the process of bringing your vision to life.
February 08, 2016
modern fire resistant green boulder loewen windows south facade triple planed low-e glass
These houses in Broncos Country prove modern design is alive in the Rocky Mountains.
February 08, 2016
french evolution paris daniel rozensztroch living area eames la chaise butterfly chair moroccan berber rug
A tastemaker brings his distinct vision to an industrial loft with a centuries-old pedigree.
February 07, 2016
senses touch products
The haptic impact can’t be underplayed. The tactility of a material—its temperature, its texture­—can make the difference between pleasure and discontent.
February 07, 2016
senses taste products
Ambience is a key ingredient to any meal—materials, textures, and mood all impart a certain flavor.
February 07, 2016
senses smell products
The nose knows: Though fleeting and immaterial, scent is the lifeblood of Proustian memories, both evoking and imprinting visceral associations.
February 06, 2016
design icon josef frank villa beer vienna
Josef Frank: Against Design, which runs through April 2016 at Vienna’s Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, is a comprehensive study of the prolific architect, designer, and author.
February 06, 2016
senses sound products
From an alarm to a symphony, audio frequencies hold the power to elicit an emotional call-and-response.
February 06, 2016
Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016
The Greenhouses of Half Moon Bay
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 03, 2016
Deck of Australian addition to Edwardian home.
A 1,500-square-foot home in Melbourne welcomes a modern black and white kitchen, dining, and living area.
February 03, 2016
open plan concrete home in japan
Embracing the organic, imperfect material, these raw concrete surfaces are a step up from exposed brick.
February 03, 2016