How to generate light for 45 days with a half-liter of salt water


The Waterlight lamp was awarded a Silver Cannes in the design category and two bronzes in innovation and social responsibility, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2021 held in France.

Miguel Mojica is a Colombian designer who has lived in Valencia since studying the Master’s Degree in Product Design at the CEU Cardenal Herrera University. From Valencia, he collaborated with renewable energy company E-dina and with Wunderman Thompson Colombia as a designer of Waterlight, a lamp which generates light for 45 days using just half a litre of salt water. This sustainable design just won three awards at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2021.

According to Miguel Mojica, “there are approximately 840 million people worldwide who do not have access to electricity. The Waterlight project emerged to brighten up the life of the Wayúu community in Colombia, to take light to La Guajira, but also to reach any home that needs light but has no access to electricity, so that people can continue with their chores at night, such as adults with their craftwork or fishing, or children with their studies. Being far from my country, Colombia, I felt it was an opportunity to be a promoter of this new revolution for clean energy.” This is how Waterlight has become “a design with a social and sustainable approach, which includes innovation in a product that adapts to its real surroundings”. Features that explain why it was recognised at the festival of creativity of Cannes.

The Waterlight lamp is a device that provides electric energy from the ionisation of salt water: an electrolyte created by salt water causes a reaction, transforming the magnesium it contains into electric energy. This process makes it possible to produce light for 45 days with just half a litre of water, as well as to recharge phones and batteries with the clean and renewable energy generated. Built out of entirely recyclable and resistant materials, the Waterlight lamp design draws inspiration from the Wayúu Colombian community and its traditional art, which represents the fauna, flora and its connection to the sea.

Product design, key for sustainability

For Mojica, who completed the Master’s Degree in Product Design at the CEU UCH last year, the role of design is key for the future sustainability of the planet. “Throughout history, design has transformed the world and has revolutionised environments in a disruptive way. With Waterlight, we are taking a firm step towards responsible and sustainable design, which is a must in our profession. We can’t make radical changes from one day to the next, so small revolutions with products such as Waterlight will be the ones to carry us towards real change.”

“I am convinced – he adds –, that we are increasingly aware of the impact we have on the planet, and I believe in the change that we, the new generations of designers, are creating, as we are committed to sustainable and responsible design. Today it is a reality; sustainability has become an essential requirement when designing, which will surely help solve the new challenges that appear in the future. Furthermore, interdisciplinarity with professionals from the biological, medical and technological fields will be key to take sustainability to our day-to-day surroundings, by designing innovative products.”

A design made in Valencia

After arriving at Valencia to undertake one of the master’s degrees of the CEU UCH, Miguel Mojica became part of the ISABA project, where he is in charge of designing leisure spaces for children, both aquatic and urban, with the goal of creating healthier societies who are committed to sustainability and development through games. After four years’ worth of experience, Mojica values the nature of the design created in Valencia. “In Valencia, the concept has a key role in design, everything has a reason, nothing appears without reason. This is something unique that I have only experienced here in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, Valencia will be the World Design Capital (VWDC) in 2022, which will make it a great creative space for the world, which is why I would like to continue working on international projects from here.”



More from: CEU Cardinal Herrera University 



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