Gallery: SonUmbra Solar Powered Tree Lights up the Night


As advancements in lighting technology unveil fresh materials, we’re thrilled to see designers exploring new ways to light up the night. SonUmbra is a solar-powered tree composed of strands of light-emitting fabric woven into a lucent web of branches. The installation’s canopy of photovoltaic panels captures light during the day, and once the sun sets the tree blooms in an interactive flourish of light and sound.

We were thrilled to catch a glimpse of SonUmbra at this year’s London Design Festival, where its beautiful glow signaled a bright future for energy-efficient lighting. Designed by Loop.pH, the “sonic shade of light” is intended to be “planted” in remote areas, where it offers shelter from the sun by day and serves as a gathering place for the local community at night.

The installation is constructed from a light emitting fabric that is crafted into a lattice of electroluminescent fibers. As passerby move around the solar tree, the installation strikes up an interplay of light and sound that encourages interaction. According to loop.PH, “This latticed pattern is animated in concert with the generated surround sound and visually illustrates the visitors’ position within the constellation. Wandering unaware or actively gravitating towards Sonumbra each person plays a part and becomes a note in a unique composition of light, sound and space.

+ SonUmbra

+ London Design Festival 2009 Coverage

Lead photo by Antonia Halse for Inhabitat


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  1. Robert Sultani September 20, 2014 at 10:03 am

    not very bright

  2. Pacra October 17, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Hate to break it to you guys but -all- trees are, quite literally, solar-powered.

  3. chris dominguez October 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    this is all good and great but how do i purchase one ???? :'(

  4. Charles Sloan January 3, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    How do I buy some of those?

  5. davidwayneosedach October 1, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    They’re beautiful! But very delicate. I can see having them in your yard but not on city streets. Children will want to touch them.

  6. Solartown September 28, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    This is really cool! It has such potential for saving cities energy on street lighting. Not to mention, a more beautiful way to provide light!

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