A tree offers many benefits: carbon sequestration, habitat, shade—but did you know it can also serve as an energy multiplier? A team of students and teachers from the Design Department of the Art Academy of Latvia (AAL) perfectly capture a tree’s ability to “multiply its energy” in their innovative project “Welcome on Board.” The installation, which will be presented at the International Design Fair in Milan, explains that effect through the story of a single birch tree used to produce 70 skateboards.
“Welcome on Board’s” progressive design concept asserts that when a tree is used to make a product that facilitates physical activity, it can also be understood in the abstract as an energy provider and multiplier. AAL’s presentation explores that idea with their simple formula of energy that equates one single birch tree—capable of producing 70 wooden skateboards—with energy for 70 people. The idea is that instead of sitting in an office or traffic jam, these people are empowered by their skateboards to move and exercise.
“Welcome on Board is a call to join the team physically as well as mentally through the change of thinking,” write the designers. “It is a call to notice the huge energy source that comes from a single tree aimed at those people who choose and practice an active lifestyle in the city. Movement is the new comfort—it is faster to move on a longboard through traffic jams and at the same time movement helps you stay fit.”
In addition to presenting an innovative design concept at the International Design Fair in Milan, AAL will also be representing Latvia as a country, “where the connection to…nature is still important because of Latvian people’s ability to skillfully use local resources for a sustainable and green lifestyle.” The project fits the Design Fair’s 2015 theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” a motto identical to that of Milan’s 2015 World Expo.