Showcasing solar technology as art is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate how fascinating and beautiful it can be, and this enchanting solar flower installation does just that. Standing at 12 meters tall, the gorgeous glass and steel structure "blooms" during the day to reveal photovoltaic panels on its petals and uses the energy it collects to illuminate its 350 strands of light fibers at night. Called the London Urban Oasis and designed by architect Laurie Chetwood, the flower also features a number of other clean energy innovations to passersby drawn in by its glow.
During the day, the sculpture, which we first covered when it debuted at the Chelsea Flower Show, opens and closes its petals to expose its solar cells to sunlight. Inside the structure, there is a central trunk that acts as a thermal chimney that powers a wind turbine. The energy collected from the PV panels and turbine is then stored in an innovative hydrogen fuel cell system. Last but not least, the flower also catches rainwater to provide water for irrigation and to cool the area.
At night, the Oasis is illuminated by a light stream that is an analogy for the harvesting of natural resources into energy. Handcrafted color changing side glow fibers intertwine within like vines while a matrix of 40 light emitting diodes spirals up the trunk to generate lightning pulses which interact with people passing by. Global engineering firm Arup consulted on the mechanical, electrical and lighting components of the design.
The Oasis has traveled to Clerkenwell, Manchester, Brindleyplace and Cannes, France as well as to the Chelsea Flower Show.