The Center for Architecture Hosts Sunny Memories – Solar Technology and Industrial Design Exhibition

New York City, – Solar panels are no longer just silver boxes on roofs. A new generation of solar cells harnesses solar energy through flexible, colored or even transparent surfaces, creating endless possibilities for innovation at the crossroads of design, engineering and architecture. An energy-producing portable speaker, public park furniture that glows at night, a sensor-based mailbox that sends SMS when full and a refrigerator that can keep itself cool off the grid: these are amongst the 28 exciting projects that will be on view at the Center through June 5, to coincide with the 22nd International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

In Sunny Memories, four leading design schools explored the broad new realm of technology, energy, and design that solar dye cells have heralded. Led by the EPFL+ECAL Lab, in Lausanne, Switzerland, the “Sunny Memories” workshops took place in collaboration with the University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL), the California College of the Arts (CCA), the Royal College of Art in London (RCA) and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris (ENSCI). Under the tutelage of design leaders like Yves Béhar from San Francisco’s fuseproject, Jean François Dingjian of Paris’ Normal Studio, Sam Hecht from London’s Industrial Facility, and Swiss designer Jörg Boner, students began their projects with the following challenge: how do we use energy to record our memory, heritage and knowledge? How can we employ solar energy to preserve history, while increasing autonomy, mobility, and sustainability?

The source of this solar innovation is EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), the “MIT of Switzerland.” There, professor Michael Graëtzel began to use molecules from colorants to transform the sun’s light into electricity. Inspired by photosynthesis, he developed an award-winning technology that allowed solar dye cells to take all sorts of shapes, colors and forms. As industrial production of these solar cells has begun, it is now up to the design community to create products that meld this new technology with great design. “Sunny Memories signals a new relationship between technology and design: designers have the freedom to explore the multiple meanings that a new technology can bring about, and transform it into real user-centered experiences,” comments Nicolas Henchoz, Director of the EPFL+ECAL Lab.

Opening Party and Panel: Sunday, May 16, 2010, 5-8pm (5-7 Panel, 7 8 Party)

Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York City

http://cfa.aiany.org

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