Not that long ago, a lit window would have been very unusual. Most homes didn’t have electricity, and people would be sitting around the weak light of an oil lamp, far from their windows. The city was actually a lot darker when we didn’t have electricity and incandescent light bulbs. These bulbs basically changed everything. Our day-night rhythm, what our streets looked like… everything.

Nevertheless, we took leave of this specific technology years ago. Nowadays, we have LED lighting. A lot more efficient – making them better for the environment. Still, we could have been nicer to the incandescent light bulb before consigning it to the ash heap of history. All of a sudden, it was treated as a thing of no value, something that we needed to get rid of.

But the incandescent bulb deserves a dignified send-off. That’s the idea behind this artwork, Gloeilamp (the Dutch word for incandescent light bulb). It takes proper leave of a good design that has nevertheless had its day. The inflatable bulbs floating here were made by artist and inventor Theo Botschuijver. Through them, he wants to pay his respects to illustrious predecessors like Thomas Edison, Alexander Lodygin, Joseph Swan, Henry Woodward, Matthew Evans, Heinrich Göbel and others. The people who dispelled the darkness after a ‘light bulb went off in their head’.

About the artist

Designer Theo Botschuijver is an expert in making inflatables. Over the years he has produced a great collection of inflatable objects, sculptures, spaces and interactive installations. His triangular and cubical floating objects called 'Waterwalk' make it possible to walk on water. Perhaps his most famous work is an enormous inflatable floating pig made for the cover of Pink Floyd's album Animals.

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© Janus van der Eijnden