Viktor Westerdahl

‘The Liquid Light of Diego Garcia.’

“In ancient times Lixus was the site of a famous grove which bore golden fruit. Its flowers have petals like golden foil... ...Insects like bees with metallic bodies and golden wings gather the juices of this fruit. Inside their nests, these insects... ...manufacture a honey like substance for the nourishment of their young.”

- Pliny the Elder, Inventorum Natura, 1st cen. AD

Instead of honey, a honeybee ecology yields Liquid Light – an energy equivalent to the extraordinary future potential of solar power at an efficiency of 96%. This invented nature is inserted into the real social and ecological context of a remote island, Diego Garcia. Its previously dispossessed local community is empowered by this new zero-carbon, sustainable energy, collectively cared for in commons trusts. Trade in Liquid Light underpins the existence of the island as an independent city state.

The fragile ecology of the island is nevertheless placed at risk by the process of urbanisation necessary to harness its Liquid Light. To minimize the impact, a string of villages are placed floating in the lagoon. These form a soft infrastructure of continuously adaptable elements constructed with a context specific materiality. Buildings are thatched with woven palm leafs and structural aluminium segments are produced cleanly with the aid of the abundant energy of Liquid Light.

On Diego Garcia energy is not only an integral part of its ecology, but also central in enriching the experiences of daily life within its communities. Below a glowing sky of Lixus Bees, floating houses circle fields of luminous flowers. The village square is illuminated by vertical beehives and towering above the settlement, a community bank is sparkling with the daily harvest of Liquid Light.

In collaboration with CJ Lim, Bernad Felsinger and Rokia Raslan

Underwater view of the village

View of the village square and the Centre for Nature Rights

Axonometric view of the floating villages

View from a floating house

View of the floating market with the public forum above

Inside the Liquid Light Bank

Diego Garcia master plan