The GFRY Studio at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago presented their “2000 Watt Living” project at this year’s Milan Furniture Fair. The ultimate goal of their initiative is to reduce the average American’s daily energy consumption to 2000 watts – just one sixth of what it is today. Definitely not your typical student work, GFRY students designed objects and systems that either reduce our energy consumption or allow us to generate our own electricity. While these projects may not be hitting store shelves just yet, they do serve to further deepen the discussion of developing more sustainable habits in our daily lives. Read on for some of our favorite projects!
Cara Ellis’ Digeotruss Structural System was used as the platform to present GFRY’s projects. The project addresses the conflicts that can arise between efficient form and sustainable methods of production. Digeotruss proposes a middle ground between digital fabrication techniques and feasible construction.
Designed by Bo Rodda, The Active Cloud Lighting System is able to predict the user’s particular lighting needs through gesture and movement. Users can throw light down a dark hallway or bring a cluster of task light with a simple flip of the wrist.
Deep Space Lighting is a ceiling system developed by Jungwhan Chei. The system is made of a continuous flexible and reflective membrane, which can be stretched and reconfigured to precisely reflect light according to user needs. Such control enables buildings to reduce their dependence on immense energy consuming lighting fixtures, and to maximize natural light and low-power lighting.
Watt Watch is for iPhone users who strive to consume less electricity in their everyday life. The application developed by Daniel Sommer utilizes Energy Star databases that allow a user to instantly start comparing the power consumption of the devices operating in their home.
Another gem by Daniel Sommer, the Half Bag has been designed for cyclists, travelers, and commuters who need better options for carrying business attire. Unlike the current inconveniently sized and inflexible garment bags, the Half Bag allows users to continue using any bag or pannier they might already own while slipping the Half Bag inside. The bag promotes the continuous usage of environmentally-friendly methods of transportation without sacrificing wrinkle-free fashion.
Tourists and locals alike traditionally spin a multitude of prayer wheels throughout any given day in Tibet. Taikkun Yang Li’s Prayer Wheel Energy Generator introduces a way collect and transform all that positive energy into enough electricity to provide evening lighting to the adjacent homes on the street.
Tuan Nguyen’s Urban Sun project investigates adjusting a city’s zoning envelope to maximize sun exposure and to be able to collect enough light to generate local energy. A simple computer program was developed to scan any city’s form and carve away the parts that send out or receive excessive shadows. Left behind is the most energy efficient form for that city to gather energy from the sun.