POPULAR TODAY DESIGN

photosynthesis by akihisa hirata for panasonic
original content
apr 18, 2012
photosynthesis by akihisa hirata for panasonic


‘photosynthesis’ by akihisa hirata for panasonic, at INTERNI for milan design week 2012
image © designboom

working at the nexus of architecture, technology, and sculptural design, japanese architect akihisa hirata collaborated
with panasonic technologies to develop the solar-powered installation ‘photosynthesis’, on exhibition during milan
design week 2012 at the interni pavilions at the università degli studi di milano.

the concept for the project is creating an ‘artificial miniature energy system‘– a kind of conceptual prototype for future architecture–
that is powered by the flow of solar energy. the theme of the interni exhibition this year is ‘legacy’, which hirata chose to interpret
from the perspective of leaving a legacy for the future. he remarks:

the project was inspired by a reflection on the natural relationship that exists in a tree between its leaves, fruits, and flowers,
a truly interdependent cyclical ecosystem in miniature. this prompted me to envision new buildings and cities as an integral part
of the biosphere, a possible future that is inspired by an modeled after it.’


interview with akihisa hirata about ‘photosynthesis’
video © designboom

in the system, the balloon lamps and light ‘blossoms’ scattered
throughout the space stand in for flowers; the battery for fruits;
and solar panels for leaves, in a metaphor that regards both the functional and aesthetic attributes of the pieces.
the project is technically innovative for its experimentation with three-dimensional solar cell forms, which hirata contrasts
to the lower-energy-gathering ‘moss’ of conventional solar panels.

‘photosynthesis’ utilizes existing panasonic products and prototypes,
comprising eight components organized under the categories
of ‘create’, ‘store’, and ‘save’. the photovoltaic module used in the
system is the ‘HIT double’, using cells layered front-to-back
to provide increased power output; while the free-standing battery (‘store’) is a prototype lithium-ion storage battery unit.
the ‘save’ components include existing lighting that use the system’s energy: the ‘LED lamp nostalgic clear’; an OLED panel
and ultra-thin lighting module; and two small LED units, the ‘COB shop set in a ceramic base and a variable-colour LED piece.
‘photosynthesis’ also utilizes prototypes of remote controlled wiring devices, projected for production in 2014 in japan.

you can find some additional information and concept renders of ‘photosynthesis’
in designboom’s milan design week 2012 preview article on the project.


full view of the installation ‘ecosystem’


full night view of installation
image © designboom


closer view
image © designboom


the orbs were conceptualized as ‘flowers’ in the abstracted ‘plant’
image © designboom


suspended orbs and lighting along the corridors of the courtyard extend the reach of the ‘miniature ecosystem’
images © designboom


architect akihisa hirata
portrait © designboom


video of construction of project, as akihisa hirata presents his work at the INTERNI conference
video © designboom


a suspended lighting installation in the corridor leading to the pavilion where ‘photosynthesis’ was installed, back view
image © designboom

comments policy
LOG IN VIA
login with designboom
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

product library