Powered by the sun
A spiralling solar sculpture to soothe your soul
Available as a limited edition batch handmade by Tom & Ben.
We successfully launched on Kickstarter in May (here's our campaign) and plan to open up for pre-orders shortly. If you'd like to know when our shop goes live then please sign up below.
Uplift’s relaxing motion creates a calm, never-ending spiral, which is mesmerising to watch as it unwinds and flows.
Watch the following video to learn what, how and why this project came to be.
Feel yourself unwind
Uplift creates a never-ending geometric spiral, which is mesmerising to watch as it flows upwards or down, depending on your preference.
Waking each morning as the sun rises and resting again when it sets.
Visualising the positive energy flow of the sun by instantly and elegantly transforming its rays into electricity and then into motion, calming your mind and encouraging a natural flow state by… well, just being really hypnotic :)
Uplift loves light and works best positioned on a south facing window sill, but it doesn’t need direct sunlight and will work under an overcast sky or indoors beside a lamp.
In bright sunlight the wing rotates up to around 60rpm, slowing to just under 30rpm in lower light, gently responding to the available light while keeping a calm but energetic flow on the brightest day.
The wing is suspended at the top through the glass dome by a magnet while hovering at the base, providing an exquisite, efficient and finely tuned solar powered kinetic sculpture.
There isn’t really a wrong or a right way. Steam rises, whirlwinds and smoke flow upwards — molten lava, water falls and whirlpools flow down.
If you live in the northern hemisphere the sun moves clockwise across the sky, in the southern hemisphere the sun moves the other way. So it’s up to you!
Using the wand provided, and stowed in the base, you can interact with the wing direction to please yourself.
Made from recyclable materials and operating entirely by renewable means, the precision balanced solar engine silently and gracefully turns the helical wing through the day, proving a gentle accompaniment to a more environmentally balanced life.
The key to Uplift’s silent and super efficient performance is the ‘solar engine’ — a cleverly designed rotary drive system (or motor). Unlike most motors our brush-less axial motor design has no contacts or brushes to wear out, there is also no iron in the stator making for a super smooth and low inertia start up… and it only consumes a tiny 1 MilliWatt (1000th of 1 watt) in operation!
Uplift has been designed to work for decades to come with minimal maintenance — with only one moving part (the centre shaft) and no batteries to worry about. The digital electronic control chip housed in the solar panel enclosure has been optimised to pulse the single coil at a fixed frequency at all light levels so it can’t ever over-spin in bright sunshine.
The product is designed for disassembly at the end of its useful life and can be easily recycled — but in truth — we don’t know how long they will work for? A lifetime? Perhaps!
It’s all an experiment and this venture is as much art project as product design so we’re starting by restricting our production capacity to a limited edition batch. But rest assured we know what we’re doing. We’ve built dozens of these to refine the design and several units have been in perfect daily operation for many months.
Hand-made with love
Hand assembled and finished just for you by creators Tom & Ben — and friends. Uplift stands at around 12 inches tall. Carefully packaged and delivered anywhere in the world in early summer for the first 500 units. Pricing will be subject to shipping charges.
Let’s see what happens if we exceed 500.
Well, to make each unit relatively affordable and not super niche we need to make a mould to produce the glass jars and the minimum order run for doing so is 500 pieces. It wouldn’t be practical to hand manipulate each glass dome as we have done for our prototypes.
We are comfortable with this volume too… it means we can gear up to a batch production and make advantage of bulk purchase and assembly. But no doubt, it’s going to be a big job and one that we want you to be a part of… by backing this project you are enabling us to make things in a new way — you are empowering us to do it ourselves in our hometown.
If you live locally to Malmesbury, Wiltshire or you can travel this way you are more than welcome to come and complete final assembly of your own product — it’s an incredibly satisfying and ultimately rewarding experience. We’ll post details how if we are successful.
Normally the tendency is for Kickstarter projects to scale up straight into far eastern production. Well, this project is different — we like it too much to let it go out of reach. For now, it’s the best way we can guarantee the most sustainable and ethical production line — to do it ourselves! Let’s see what happens when demand rises…
Each of the first 500 units will be individually branded with its production number and you will receive a handmade certificate with the product to warrant your ownership. We will start at 001 for whoever backs first.
Priced at £140— each carefully boxed Uplift includes five important parts:
1. Wing — A laser cut black walnut wing, hand finished and assembled on a steel engine rotor with brass collar and neodymium magnet array
2. Base — A velvet lined hand turned black walnut wooden base with base magnet and electronic solar module
3. Glass — A custom moulded boroscillicate glass bell jar
4. Top Magnet — A neodymium top magnet (the thing you don’t want to lose)
5. Wand — A magnetic wand
All parts are easily assembled together upon unboxing. It’s a delightful experience to get to know your product as you care for it, occasionally clean and interact through the seasons ahead — you’ll get to know how the sun moves about your living space. We’ll be sure to post lots of how-to videos when the time comes.
Our intention is to get the word out there and that lots of good folk will be *captured* by this project and register their interest in purchasing one. Then, once we’re comfortable there is enough demand we will get our ducks lined up with production and launch a Kickstarter campaign to get Uplift off the ground. Of course our hope is that once we start making them we never stop. This will be a dream come true.
We've already secured an old cotswold stone skittle alley (next door to a legendary local pub) where we plan to make the first batch. We are now imagining an adjacent greenhouse full of hundreds of Uplift’s flowing in the sun, ready to make their way to your home.
Since first sharing detail of this project online in early April 2018 we've received a number of requests for the design to be made available at a much larger scale. So, working with bespoke glass blowers in Central Europe we have established means of making them, well, pretty darn big. Like cathedral bell big. As you can imagine there is a price to match - and no, we havent' worked out shipping logistics yet! But we'd love to hear from anyone else who's been inspired by this project and can imagine it working on another scale.
Press and Media
The Uplift story has already been picked up by a few blogs with interest in wellness, lifestyle, modern spirituality, self development and mental health. This interview with Tom for Ivory Magazine provides a great introduction as to how and why Uplift came to be.
Wednesday April 11th 2018
Tom Lawton is an award winning artist, designer, inventor and environmentalist.
Tom is a winner of the Green Dot Award (Los Angeles) for environmental excellence in product design and 100% Design Sustainability Award (London) and has been published in numerous books and magazines on sustainable design, while also appearing on BBC television as an expert in planned endurance — as well as being the star of his own Channel 4 TV series ‘Tom’s Fantastic Floating Home’.
Ben Jandrell is an eco-innovator and renewable energy specialist.
Ben is a mechanical engineer and expert in micro power generation with extensive experience across DIY and professional renewable energy projects, collaborating with Orange, Nokia, Glastonbury Festival and LG. Amongst other innovations, Ben was the technical brain behind Orange Power Wellies, which were listed amongst TIME Magazine’s 50 Best inventions (2010).
Bringing a project like this to fruition isn’t easy but thankfully we have have had help from these clever folk.
Matt Judkins — Strategy
Jono Taylor — Engineering
Paul Mullen — Electronics
Once upon a Firewinder
If there’s something about this project that feels familiar you may not be surprised to learn that Tom created a spiralling wind powered light around a decade ago. Firewinder, the original windlight was an ornamental outdoor light that captured a breeze and transformed it in to a upward spiral of light to mesmerise and delight.
Uplift is in many ways a reincarnation of that idea, reborn for your home or work space and now powered by the sun. If you’re interested to learn more, make yourself comfortable and read the story of how it all happened.