photosynthesis by akihisa hirata for panasonic
photosynthesis by akihisa hirata for panasonic
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.

photosynthesis by akihisa hirata for panasonic full view of the installation ‘ecosystem’

photosynthesis by akihisa hirata for panasonic full night view of installation image © designboom

photosynthesis by akihisa hirata for panasonic closer view image © designboom

photosynthesis by akihisa hirata for panasonic the orbs were conceptualized as ‘flowers’ in the abstracted ‘plant’ image © designboom

photosynthesis by akihisa hirata for panasonic suspended orbs and lighting along the corridors of the courtyard extend the reach of the ‘miniature ecosystem’ images © designboom

photosynthesis by akihisa hirata for panasonic architect akihisa hirata portrait © designboom

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

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

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