ross lovegrove: solar tree at clerkenwell design week
original content
may 26, 2012
ross lovegrove: solar tree at clerkenwell design week


‘solar tree’ by ross lovegrove, installed in london for clerkenwell design week 2012
image © ashley bingham (A&M photography)

‘solar tree’, designed by ross lovegrove and manufactured by artemide, is bringing solar powered night lighting
to london’s st. john’s square in its first UK installation, completed for clerkenwell design week 2012.

the sculpture unites solar panels and LED lighting units in a piece of urban furniture modeled on natural forms.
the london installation is composed of 20 ‘stems’, leading to six leaf-like solar panels, four large lights, and 10 ‘grass stalks’,
each also capped with an LED.

‘solar tree’ can function completely independently for up to three days, or alternatively work on the grid to feed back
excess energy. its behaviour is controlled via an embedded AI system that automatically switches the LED lights on at night,
balancing the light intensity dependent on the batteries’ energy level and the environmental light conditions.

designboom covered ‘solar tree’ in advance of its first exhibition in 2007. the london installation of ‘solar tree’
will remain in st. john’s square throughout the olympic and paralympic games, until late september 2012.


closer view of the panels
image © ashley bingham

the ‘solar trees’ communicate more than light… they communicate the trust of placing beautifully made, complex
natural forms outside for the benefit of all. they bring nature to the grayness of urban environments and optimistically
lift our senses towards the future and how the physicality of all the objects that surround us will inevitably change,
either through need,though enlightenment or simply just the celebration of new form in industrial art that complements
the new quest for biological forms in architecture
.’ – ross lovegrove studio


full view
image © ashley bingham


looking up from ground level


at nighttime, the lamps use stored solar energy to glow

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