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Design

Six Students Design Solar-Powered Lamps From Collagen, Black Beans, and Agave Plants

June 1, 2020

Grace Ebert

Six lamps designed by Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey students

A 2019 study notes that 1.8 million residents of Mexico live without electricity, while some sources say an additional five million have limited access. In an effort to provide affordable, sustainable solar power, six students from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey have designed lamps that can be constructed easily with materials commonly found throughout Mexico’s rural areas. Using wicker, agave plants, coconut bark, adobe, collagen, and black beans, the designers have created hand-held vessels powered by reusable solar cells and LED lights.

Inspired by artist Olafur Eliasson’s (previously) similarly sustainable Little Sun, Moisés Hernández, who led the project,  told Dezeen that students were tasked with creating lamps with easily reproducible exteriors. “With these new material ideas that came from different sites across Mexico, where the weather and context are so different, the students visualized new scenarios where these type of technological objects can be assembled and distributed to local people,” Hernández said. When the lamps need to be replaced, users simply can remove the solar and LED components and position them in new vessels.

 

Black bean lamp by Oscar Andrés Méndez Hernández

Adobe, recycled paper, and cactus slime lamp by Luis Fernando Sánchez Barrios

Coconut lamp by Rafael Sánchez Brizuela

Lamp of wicker made by craftsmen in Tequisquiapan, Queretaro, designed by Aniela Mayte Guerrero Hernández

A lamp of collagen spread over a coconut shell form by Naoto Ricardo Kobayashi Utsumoto

Agave-plant waste lamp by Viridiana Palma Dominguez

Coconut lamp by Rafael Sánchez Brizuela

 

 



Art Design

Solar-Powered Air Balloon by Tomás Saraceno Shatters Records, While Protesting Lithium Mining

February 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Aerocene Foundation. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

In late January in Salinas Grandes, Jujuy, Argentina, artist Tomás Saraceno (previously) launched a black air balloon powered only by the sun and air, forgoing lithium, helium, or fossil fuels. By absorbing ultraviolet rays to heat the air and allow it to raise, the balloon can hold 250 kilograms, or about two people. The project, titled “Fly with Aerocene Pacha,” became the world’s first sun-powered flight with a pilot and was exhibited as part of Connect, BTS, an arts initiative organized by the South Korean boy band. The global project has connected five cities with 22 artists who have helped fulfill the mission of redefining “the relationships between art and music, the material and immaterial, artists and their audiences, artists and artists, theory and practice.”

Breaking six records with the World Air Sports Federation,  Aerocene Pacha eclipsed previous markers in altitude, distance, and duration for both men and women, thanks to pilot Leticia Marques. During its flight, it reached an altitude of 272.1 meters above ground and crossed 2.56 kilometers. The longest flight lasted an hour and 21 minutes.

In a statement, Saraceno added context to the project that falls at the intersection of art, culture, and environment, speaking to the abundance of lithium in the area that’s being mined for use in batteries. “This extractivist attitude is evidenced in the Salinas Grandes by the recent rush to mine lithium, furthering the man-made violence that incites climate change and mass extinction, the race to colonize space and disturbed balance of interconnected ecosystems,” he writes. The ballon prominently displays the phrase, “El agua y la vida valen más que el litio,” or “Water and life are worth more than lithium.” Activists from indigenous organizations attended the launch of the balloon, protesting the extraction process.

The Kirchner Cultural Center in Argentina is hosting a special exhibition, which includes video of the historic flights, devoted to Saraceno’s work through March 22. To see more of the artist’s ethically minded projects, check out his Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)

Aerocene Tethered Human Flight, launches in White Sands, NM, United States, 201.5 Courtesy of Aerocene Foundation. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2015.

 

 



Design

Solar-Powered Chicken Caravan Keeps Farm Birds on the Move

December 11, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Designed by Tom Gottelier and Bobby Petersen, who work together as Designers on Holiday, the Chicken Caravan is a solar-powered chicken coop. The lightweight, automated, mobile unit was created for The Ecology Center farm in San Juan Capistrano, California. Activated by solar sensors, the aluminum-clad cabin doors automatically open at sunrise to allow the hens out. The coop itself can be towed by a tractor to help fertilize new areas of the farm with the chickens’ manure—it also comes with a portable fence to keep the birds in the desired zone. Lastly, a solar battery keeps everything charged and ready. See more of Designers on Holiday’s innovative projects and explore their collaborative camp for designers on the company’s website. (via Inhabitat)

 

 



Design

Uplift: An Endlessly Rotating Stair Sculpture Powered by the Sun

May 21, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Uplift is a architecturally-minded desk sculpture that slowly rotates using the power of the sun. The walnut work hovers inside a glass bell jar, powered by a steel and brass mechanism that allows the staircase endlessly rotate. The mesmerizing design was invented by friends Tom Lawton and Ben Jandrell, seasoned inventors who spent the last two years optimizing the technology behind the spinning object.

The first generation of Uplift sculptures are currently produced by the pair in Lawton’s home town of Malmesbury, UK, and are being funded through Kickstarter. You can see more of Lawton’s inventions, like this motion-activated running light he co-invented with Jandrell, on his website.

 

 



Photography

A Sea of Glistening Solar Mirrors Photographed at the Nevada SolarReserve by Reuben Wu

September 2, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Chicago-based photographer Reuben Wu (previously here and here) recently photographed the Nevada SolarReserve, a grouping over 10,000 mirrors which power nearly 75,000 homes both day and night during its peak season. Wu photographed the mass of reflective panels during nightfall, allowing the brilliant colors of the sunset to be doubled into the shining surfaces below. Wu likens the energy facility to a topographic ocean, considering it one of the greatest land art installations ever built.

One of Wu’s previous series “Lux Noctis” recently won a grand prize in Photo District News’ The Great Outdoors Photo Contest. You can see more of Wu’s natural and manmade landscapes on his Instagram and Facebook.

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Design

A Solar-Powered Glow-in-the-dark Bike Path by Studio Roosegaarde Inspired by Van Gogh

November 12, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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This stunning illuminated bike path in Nuenen, Netherlands was just unveiled tonight by Studio Roosegaarde, an innovative social design lab that has risen to prominence for their explorations at the intersection of people, art, public space, and technology; most notably their research with Smart Highways that could potentially charge moving cars or intelligently alert drivers to hazards. The swirling patterns used on the kilometer-long Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Bicycle Path were inspired by painter Vincent van Gogh (who lived in Nuenen from 1883 to 1885), and is lit at night by both special paint that charges in daylight and embedded LEDs that are powered by a nearby solar array. You can read more about the project over on Dezeen.

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