Saturday, May 11, 2013

11 Must-See Art Installations, Inspired By Solar Panels

We beg to differ — and apparently, so do artists around the world. Here are 11 of the most artful uses of solar panels we’ve ever seen.


1. Solar Installation, Zwickau, Saxony (Germany)



2. Solar Intersections, Davis, California (USA)



3. The Silicon Forest, Portland, Oregon (USA)

Where else but Portland, right? Local artist Brian Borrello is a visual artist, designer, educator and public artist. His experience with a broad array of sculptural and graphic techniques, and a versatile range of conceptual approaches is evident in his paintings, sculptures and public art pieces. As a visual artist, Brian is particularly interested in creating awareness of human life in balance with other life forms and with our shared environment. In his art for the public realm, he seizes opportunities to make ‘places’ by activating urban spaces through image, form and symbol, in response to history, community and context.The Silicon Forest is powered by solar panels and can be seen at the Interstate/Rose Quarter Station in Portland.


4. Seed-Pod, Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA)

Birmingham, Ala. artist Dee Dee Morrison is quickly becoming one of our favorites. Listen to her describe her own work: “As a sculptor and installation artist, my work has been influenced by my interest in biological forms and light; coupled with the interest in the natural world is a fascination for technical and scientific advances. As a result, a unique style has evolved to reflect my understanding of the natural world by using heavy industrial metals, laser jet cutting methods and organically inspired designs to create solar powered sustainable sculptures.” How cool is that?
(SPOILER ALERT: You’ll see another of Dee Dee’s works later.)


5. Energetic Energies, Milan (Italy)

Japanese architect and sculptor Akihisi Hirata introduced the world to two solar-inspired installations at Milan Design Week showing how solar panels could be used in the future to power entire cities. According to the All That Is Interesting blog, Hirata had this to say about his goal with the pieces:
“Nature is three-dimensional and filled with living organisms. Future cities should be similar if they are to coexist with nature. And solar panels hold greater potential to actually create more livable cities, aesthetically speaking, than their current form suggests.”
We couldn’t agree more.


6. Solar Peace Sculpture, Moving Exhibit



7. Solar Glacier, TBD

OK, this is an artist’s rendering (by artist Ap Verheggen, who also happens to be the UNESCO-IHE’s cultural ambassador) of the SunGlacier project, which combines art and the practical aim of bringing cleaning water to people who don’t have it, using the power of solar panels to achieve it.
Here’s our second Dee Dee Morrison project (what can we say? We love her work.), this one in Clearwater, Fla. From our friends over at
A new solar-powered Sun-Catcher lighting installation recently popped up in Clearwater, Fla., where it brightens the night using energy from the sun. Part of the city’s Sculpture360 program, the 15-foot-tall Sun-Catcher was made by Deedee Morrison’s studio. It’s built from recycled aluminum and striking yellow lucite panels. An integrated solar panel captures the sun’s energy during daylight hours and lights up the sculpture — and downtown Clearwater — at night.
We just think it’s cool.


9. Spherical Solar Concentrated Solar Generator

Like Ap Verhegen, architect André Broessel created this concentrated solar generator for two purposes: art (we think it’s gorgeous) and science. Our friends over at The Verge wrote:
André Broessel’s spherical glass solar energy generator is one of the more elegant examples of concentrated photovoltaics technology we’ve come across. . . .Broessel’s generator utilizes a ball lens (complete with optical tracking) to achieve higher energy efficiency than typical PV units — up to 35 percent, according to his tests. . . Broessel’s structure is an impressive feat that borders on art, and it’s nice to see fresh innovation when it comes to improving solar tech.


10. Lunar Cubit Solar Panel Pyramids, Abu Dhabi

If you didn’t think there was any way to improve on the architectural marvels that are the Egyptian pyramids, think again. From Materialicious:
Lunar Cubit, is a pyramid-shaped solar power complex designed by Robert Flottemesch, Jen DeNike, Johanna Ballhaus, and Adrian P. De Luca to power thousands of homes in the Abu Dhabi desert.
The proposal placed first in the Land Art Generator Initiative, a contest which asks designers to integrate art and interdisciplinary processes with the concept of renewable energy. Each proposed project must generate enough green energy to power thousands of homes, while also serving as an innovative public art installation.
And from Inhabitat:
Lunar Cubit consists of eight small glossy solar panel pyramids that surround a central large pyramid in a semi circle. . . .By day, the pyramids function as solar energy-producing power plants. Each of the frameless solar panels is made of glass and amorphous silicon, and they’re able to produce enough renewable energy to power 250 homes. That may not seem as productive as a solar power farm, yet it is truly exceptional considering it is also a public art installation. If actually constructed, Lunar Cubit would pay back its cost of construction in five years, through the megawatt-hours of clean renewable energy that it produces.


11. The Sun Boxes, Everywhere

Wouldn’t you love to have these at your next backyard BBQ? From Earthtechling:
The Sun Boxes, created by Craig Colorusso, are a collection of solar-powered speakers that can be arranged in any space as an installation and, when operating, emit soothing chords. The concept behind the Son Boxes is to encourage people to slow down and appreciate their surroundings, typically the outdoors. The solar panels not only allow them to be clean and easily transportable (no wires), but they add to the idea of interacting with and being part of the natural world.

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