Glowee: Lighting Up The Future

Alternative light sources are necessary for creating sustainable cityscapes. But how exactly do they work? And how can we normalize natural light into our communities? We spoke with Sandra Rey, Founder, and CEO of Glowee, to learn about bioluminescence, sustainable light sources.

Sandra’s background is in industrial design. In 2013, she worked on a project while earning her Industrial Design Degree. Now, that project has developed into Glowee. Then, while earning her Master’s Degree in social entrepreneurship, she further strengthened her company. 

RELATED ARTICLES: Science for Good: A New Breed of Entrepreneurs with Science-Based Solutions for a Positive Impact |Liter of Light: Making Solar Energy Accessible To All | LuminAID, a Brilliant Idea to Bring a Source of Light Where Needed

What does Glowee exactly do?  

Sandra Rey: We are a biotechnology company developing natural sources of light through bioluminescence. The goal is to create natural light through microorganisms. The organization works with various energy sources, such as architects, construction, and real estate, to implement bioluminescence in cities. 

Along with encouraging actors to implement bioluminescence, we have created the Glowzen Room. This is a meditative experience in which users can book a session to experience a room lit only by microorganisms. 

In the photo: City with bioluminescence. Photo credit: Glowee.

Primarily, Glowee implements conferences and educational initiatives for children to learn about bioluminescence. One of the key measures of Glowee’s success is simply informing the public of alternative light. The kids’ content includes drawing contests, web conferences, and a board game design contest. 

Where are you based? 

S. R. : We are headquartered in Paris, France but we do a lot of work outside Paris; also 40% of our contacts and partners are from outside France. 

In the photo: Bioluminescence in use. Photo credit: Glowee.

While the Glowzen room is not available – for now – in other European countries, Glowee has hosted conferences in over 10 countries.

Working in other countries improves the visibility and legitimacy of our project. Discussing the possibility of bioluminescence on an international platform serves to increase its presence. 

What is your mission?

S. R. : First and foremost, Glowee is centered on changing the narrative of light resources. By implementing and encouraging alternative light sources, Glowee is attacking alternative energy from all angles. We really want to make it a possibility for everyone. We don’t have limits, our goal is to democratize bioluminescence

The Glowzen room is highly meditative. Its focus is to improve focus and creativity, improve mental health, reduce stress, and improve positive emotions and mood.

In the photo: The Glowzen Room. Photo credit: Glowee

Aside from these direct benefits, Sandra outlines the key importance of education. Sandra explains that it is extremely important to educate future generations. Children are far less likely to question new, innovative ideas, says Sandra.

For children, it’s not surprising. We can easily show them it’s OK to light ourselves with fireflies. We’re showing them the superpowers of nature.

What challenges does Glowee face? 

S. R. : Of course, it is difficult to get people on board with large scale change. Sandra explains that Glowee only pushes bioluminescence in areas that are feasible. Glowee is entirely focused on working with communities for tangible, feasible solutions. When it isn’t plausible, Glowee shifts its focus on education. 

This is where other challenges arise. Glowee’s two main challenges, says Sandra, are education and funding. You have to change the way we produce, consume, and act. You have to convince people its normal and then convince them to act.

This is why Glowee’s platform is far more education-focused than product-focused. The organization is looking at the bigger picture in order to normalize its goals. And of course, funding is just another obstacle. There are many hurdles and the process is long. 

Where is Glowee heading in the future? 

S. R. : Despite these challenges, Sandra is extremely optimistic about the future. With increasing presence and initiatives, Sandra is certain that Glowee will grow across nations. Especially with an educational mission, there are far more avenues to explore.

Glowee’s mission ultimately relies on social attitude. As generations become increasingly more receptive to alternative energy, bioluminescence will be a part of our lighting narrative. Sandra is excited to grow Glowee.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own, not those of

About the Author /

Liz is an undergraduate senior at the Haas School Of Business and an Editorial Intern for ImpakterUP. As a member of Capital Investments at Berkeley, a student led collaborative fund and educational initiative, she was introduced to ESG and impact strategies. Now, Liz is looking to expand her understanding of the impakt space, particularly in technology startups and venture capital.

Scroll Up