Ross Lovegrove, revered industrial designer and visionary is renowned for his flowing and organic inspired designs (some of which for suppliers bd Urban Transit and Bernhardt Design are available at KE-ZU) and has a passion for sustainability and forward thinking:
…everything around is ( … ) open to new interpretation, we have gone to see a big physical change in our collective environment worldwide, we have to because of the issues of sustainability and efficiency. Efficiency will drive everything; materials, form, ideas... efficiency will be the big one and efficiency exists in science and biology and all of that but it also needs to exist in design without being dried out or boring...
Lovegrove’s work in 2007 titled quite simply “Solar Tree” is almost exactly how it sounds, however it’s not that simple. Solar Tree is a revolutionary urban lighting project which incorporates advanced solar technology respecting important environmental issues and acknowledging cultural and social aspects of our current community living requirements.
Solar Tree finds its form in a series of gracefully twisted steel pipes representing a tree, each pipe supporting a cluster of LED lights at its peak which are illuminated using 38 solar cells which connect to a battery system hidden in the base of the structure. The entire structure is then illuminated in public domains, omitting the need for other sources of power such as electricity or battery.
Interestingly, through its solar cells Solar Tree collects more power than is needed to generate the light source, and therefore possesses the capacity to power more than just itself. Lovegrove envisages options of perhaps selling energy back to the grid and incorporating outlets to charge electronic devices, obviously the potential in this vein could extend even further.
Lovegrove was interviewed on CNN about Solar Tree and sustainability. You can see the interview here – don’t forget to take note of Ross’ “Bubble Car” – his idea for solar transportation in the future - cool!
With Europe placing Solar Trees in Vienna, Milan, Paris and Frankfurt – the Solar Tree is a remarkable step in the right direction from a master designer and thinker.
Lovegrove’s other projects can be seen on his website.