Onkalo Lamp

A lamp inspired by the storage of nuclear waste in Onkalo, Finland

See no evil

In Finland, a permanent facility to hold the country’s nuclear waste is in construction. Onkalo, the Finnish for “cavity”, is an immense system of subterranean tunnels 520 metres deep into the earth. The facility is built to last 100,000 years, the demi-life of the nuclear waste.

The facility provokes questions about design for the future, and sustainable design. Thousand of tonnes of radioactive waste will be buried in the cavity, and must go untouched for years. How do you ensure this facility is left alone for 100,00 years, perhaps even after the danger of its toxic contents is long forgotten?

Lampe de bureau

During my Erasmus at Haute école des arts du Rhin in Strasbourg, I used this as starting point for a lamp design project. The project brief was simply to create a lamp for an office desk, be it a home office or a professional office. Interested in the Onkalo waste facility in Finland, I decided to visually and thematically base it on nuclear waste, designing for the future and sustainability.

I was inspired by the forms of the industrial cylinders used to contain nuclear waste. With the fluorescent bulb, I played with the principals of Onkalo to make a lamp within a wooden cylinder. The bulb represents the nuclear rod, hidden from sight, yet still active.