Milan Design Week is still more than a month away, but we’re already excited about one eco design set to be unveiled at this year’s show – Panasonic’s dynamic “Photosynthesis” courtyard installation. The company commissioned Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata to create a high-tech ecosystem out of their solar-powered consumer electronics and green gadgets. Part of the fair’s interactive and experimental Interni Legacy exhibit, the Panasonic courtyard will compare our technological need for the sun to a plant’s process of photosynthesis.
The highlight of Panasonic’s installation is a large floating tree-like structure made of solar panels in the middle of the courtyard. These solar “leaves” collect sunlight, similar to a plant’s leaves or branches, which then activate fruit-shaped batteries and flower-shaped LED and OLED lights throughout the outdoor space. The electronic ecosystem is held together with transparent supports, creating a luminous and ephemeral atmosphere day and night. Hirata sees our green buildings and innovations as technological versions of a plant’s relationship with the sun, bringing architecture and design one step closer to nature.