Tom Lawton
8 min readDec 18, 2017


A spiralling solar sculpture to soothe your soul

Powered by the sun

Uplift’s relaxing motion creates a calm, never-ending spiral, which is mesmerising to watch as it unwinds and flows.

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 in to electricity and then in to 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.

Works perfectly on a window sill or under lamp light

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.

A magnetic wand lets you interact with the wing

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.

A sustainable design hand made in England

Sustainable innovation

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!

The solar engine

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.

A peaceful revolution

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!

Designed to last a lifetime

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.

Three sketchbooks and several dozen prototypes

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.

Uplift must sit on a perfectly flat surface

Why 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 tenancy is for Kickstarter projects to scale up straight in to 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 if demand rises…

Individually numbered

Each of the first 500 units will be individually branded with it’s 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 loose)

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.

Engineered to last a life time. Designed for a future world with zero emissions and no such thing as waste.

Be the flow my friend :)

Our dream is that somehow we get the word out there and lots of good folk just really *get* 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. You’ve got to dream, right?

Imagine a greenhouse adjacent to a little factory unit in Wiltshire full of hundreds of Uplift’s flowing in the sun.

The Upliftery

The Creators

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).

Both innovators are good friends and are also behind the critically acclaimed and award winning Million Mile Light, which found its success on Kickstarter here and here.

Our Board of Wizards

Bringing a project like this in 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

The secret to winning is to rest

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 way 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.

See the wind — Firewinders on Glastonbury Tor

Uplift is a registered design of Tom Lawton and Ben Jandrell © 2018