Danielle Trofe Design – Delivering Innovative Design in a Sustainable Way

ShannonMcGarry June 23, 2015 2 min read

Growing your art? That’s exactly what Danielle Trofe Design, a Brooklyn-based design studio that promotes a function-forward, sustainable and socially responsible approach to furniture and lighting design is doing.


“As a designer, my mission is to promote a function forward, sustainable and socially responsible approach to design. My creativity is fostered in the desire to create functional and accessible design that encourages a departure from conventional materials and production techniques.” says Danielle Trofe.


Danielle’s recent work, the Sand-Powered Hourglass lamps, is a set of table and floor lamps that are powered by kinetic energy generated from grains of falling sand. This off-the-grid lighting solution illuminates interior environments using LEDs through the power of gravity. Grabbing the attention of Gizmodo, Inhabitat, Web Urbanist , Mother Nature Network and WorldNews.com, the concept design, which launched publicly at WantedDesign NYC in 2013,quickly became a desired lighting product.




The Sand Powered Hourglass Lamps are powered by kinetic energy generated from falling sand. To ignite the lamps, the hourglass is flipped over and sand passes through an internal mechanism (similar to the concept of a water wheel), generating energy which is then stored in a small, internal battery. The battery then connects directly to a set of LEDs that illuminate as a result of the passage of sand through the mechanism. When all the sand filters to the bottom, the lamp switches off. In order to restart the lamp, the user simply flips it back over. The need for human interaction and the limited time span of illumination creates a user connection and a greater awareness of the value and finite source of light.




“This exploration into a new example of sustainable design that strives for a minimal environmental impact is intended to challenge the lighting industry to reexamine the future of light energy.” says Danielle.


The project began as a concept backed by research and development and evolved into the fabrication of a first prototype. Danielle now uses Fusion360 to aid in the second round of R&D. Building upon initial information gathered during the first prototyping phase, the aim is to refine the functional model into a production-ready lighting fixture with the help of the 3D software.




Danielle’s past and ongoing work includes designing and fabricating vertical, self-sustaining planter systems that harnesses hydroponic technology and promote the incorporation of living plants in indoor, urban spaces; as well as a collection of lamps and planters that are grown, not manufactured, from mushroom mycelium and agricultural byproduct. The Mush-Lume and Much-Blum collections are organic, sustainable and biodegradable and are part of an initiative to redefine what our interior objects are made from.




Danielle and her work were also recently featured on a news segment with CUNY in New York City. Check it out here.


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