Growing ever popular, energy-saving devices and furniture are yet to have their golden age, thought it’s certainly ebbing closer, with heavy on-gong research and rapid innovation emerging from all over the world. Fantastic for domestic use and indeed use in the workplace, solar and wind powered furniture doesn’t have to be the eye-sore in the room. Check out some great looking, practical energy-saving furniture below, as well as a couple of whacky ones too!
In a bid to raise awareness and premote renewable energy, Hanmak’s products use solar and wind energy to create electricity which is then stored in the battery that is used to power it. Marketed as ’street furniture’ Hanmak make benches, futons and chairs, all functioning in the same fashion – the LED strips gain power from built-in-batteries that are fuelled by the use of wind and solar energy. The material used accentuates the ‘glowing’ look of the furniture and can be a number of colours – its signature trait.
Anyone who believes the Foton Electree to be a pure ‘novelty’ device is mistaken. Ideal for charging up your gadgets and devices in the workplace or at home, the Electree doubles up as a great looking piece of decor of any contemporary space. This cool looking 41cm ultra-contemporary looking device comes in a modular kit allowing you to take control of how you’d like it to look. A fantastic piece of kit for owners and those in the hospitality sector, the Electree is sure to impress guests and clients whilst also representing your business as ethical and eco-friendly.
The solar powered ‘leaves’ can be placed in any position so you can manually maximise and harness the sun’s energy. One full charge of 36 hours will fill an IPhone5 nine times over, and you’ve got two USB ports to play with. The handy wireless charging unit is located in the wood-panelled base inside a 2,500mAh battery. This neat little charger looks the part and delivers results.
The first generation of its kind, Sol NRG’s solar charging table continues to grow in popularity in the hospitality industry, being a lightweight, simple and highly efficient piece of furniture technology. Use it to charge your devices such as phones, tablets and laptops and for plugging in your lamp so you can be out on the terrace till dark on those long hot summer nights. This is the most practical and all-round contender in our list from a restaurant or bar owner’s point of view. The table can be folded to a 90 degree angle, allowing you to save space if you need to clear it after use and being surprisingly lightweight, you don’t have to worry about doing you back in at the end of the day shifting it around. Allowing you to effortlessly reduce your carbon footprint, the Sol NRG charging table is the leader in commercial green energy. Design-wise, it’s adaptable to any decor, with its sleek and glossy black finish that blends into its surroundings – a veritable chameleon.
Still in the very early stages of development as part of the Design in Science research project at Cambridge University’s institute for Manufacturing, (though making boundless progress), BPV, aka Bio-Photo-Voltaic devices channel electricity from light energy that would have otherwise been used for photosynthesis. Using several BPV devices, the table can generate electricity. As in the photo above * the many potted plants are the natural fuel that can convert chemical energy into electric energy via organisms like algae, cyanobacteria, vascular plants and moss. So what is the energy used for you might ask?
It can be spent on smaller devices such as clocks though it is not yet able to power larger devices. So watch out solar energy – you’ve got an energy saving competitor on your tail! A similar product also in the early stages of development is Marjan van Aubel’s ‘Current Table’ (what better name to market revolutionary furniture?!), and works by mimicking the act of photosynthesis. Perhaps more aesthetically pleasing than the Moss Table, Current Table is the former’s direct competitor in bio-photo-voltaic devices.
Mechanised by solar energy, Mischers’traxler’s ’The Idea of a Tree’ stool (a name more reminiscent of something you’d find in the Tate Modern!) is a solar powered ‘contraption’ or chameleon, that can be transformed into various types of furniture. Depending on the amount of sunlight harnessed, the ‘Tree Stool’ is capable of spinning its threads to create furniture variations such as benches, stools and even extends to lampshades. This incredibly innovative and striking product is so simple in design, appearing like an enormous bamboo leaf wrapped back onto itself.
How it works – the threads are fed through dye & resin, then wrapped around a solar powered spun rotating mold, which shapes each piece of furniture – amazing right?! What could be considered a downside, though entirely a matter of opinion, is that the aesthetic and physical traits of the design are victim to the weather conditions (all OK if you live on the equator!). So if you’re not exposed to a lot of sunlight, the spinning motion runs at a slower pace thus influencing the texture of the furniture.
Whilst energy-saving furniture hasn’t quite yet found it’s consistency in most cases, the stand-out product that is the ‘finished article’ is certainly Sol NRG’s solar charging table, a genuinely viable product for those in hospitality. Meanwhile ‘The idea of a Tree’ stool has great potential for the future as does BPV technology which we’ll hopefully be seeing a lot more developments from in the next decade.
The article is brought to you by the famous interior design firm Callender Howorth.