EPISODE 7: SOLAR
The sun is the central factor governing existence on planet Earth. Solar rays have helped guide the way human beings navigate their environment, their soil, and their habitat. It is the ultimate source of energy; the sunlight that hits the Earth’s surface in a single hour provides more energy than the global population consumes in one year. While the sun is mostly a free energy source, the ability to store energy has emerged as one of the challenges of our time. Today, batteries require the continued extraction of lithium, cobalt, and other minerals, but battery technology is evolving toward more efficient forms of storage. An improved ability to harness solar energy will transform civilization as a form of decarbonization. Forms of generating energy with solar design reach back to ancient times and far beyond battery power. How will designers and communities tap into this diverse history and continue to critically engage with solar rays as a generative material in the built environment?
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Alice Wong is a story designer and a specialist tutor at MA Information Design of Design Academy Eindhoven. She focuses on translating complex information into comprehensive, sharable storytelling. Her research is rooted in understanding how our perception of reality is shaped, prompting the question: Who told you so? Her principal topic of interest is the intersection of biographical documentary, media, and social phenomena. Currently, she is undertaking a 12-month work placement at Atelier Luma with the artistic director Jan Boelen, under the support of HKYDTA.
Amor Muñoz is a member of the National System of Art Creators in Mexico. She has been a resident at the Bauhaus Dessau (Germany) and at the Google Arts and Culture–Jacquard Artist Residency (Paris). Her work has been exhibited in various museums, galleries, and festivals, including 21 Haus, Belvedere (Austria); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; MUAC Museum (Mexico); Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (Hong Kong); National Art Center, Tokyo; G Museum Nanjing; Prix Ars Electronica (Austria); Havana Biennial; and Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, among others.
John Perlin collaborated with Nobel Laureates Dr. Walter Kohn and Dr. Alan Heeger on the film The Power of the Sun: The History of the Evolution of the Science of Light and Photovoltaics. He led a symposium at University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2018 on Eunice Foote, who in 1856 discovered the phenomenon of global warming. Perlin is the author of A Golden Thread: 2,500 Years of Solar Architecture and Technology, A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization, From Space to Earth: The Story of Solar Electricity, and Let It Shine: The 6,000 Year Story of Solar Energy.
Marjan van Aubel is co-initiator of the Solar Movement and the Solar Biennale. She is an award-winning solar designer who brings solar energy into daily life, designing for a positive future through combining the fields of sustainability, design, and technology. She is creating lasting change through solar design, integrating solar power seamlessly into buildings and objects, with the goal of making solar power more accessible for everyone. Among her most notable works are Sunne, Current Table, Power Plant, and the roof of the Netherlands Pavilion at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. She has collaborated with global brands such as Cos, Timberland, and Swarovski, with the aim of accelerating the global energy transition to solar.
Neel Tamhane is the Solar Strategy Lead at SPACE10, IKEA’s global research and design lab. In this role, Tamhane leads research and design explorations to identify opportunities for how democratization and decentralization of clean energy can bridge the gap between people with limited means and empower people in urban areas to make the energy transition, by taking power into their own hands. Tamhane previously led product development at SOLshare, a novel localized energy-trading platform in Bangladesh, building decentralized solar-powered grids bottom-up.
Pauline van Dongen is the cofounder of the Solar Movement and the Solar Biennale. As a designer and researcher, she explores human-garment relationships and alternative fashion (design) practices through the development of smart textiles and clothing. Her design studio received international recognition with projects such as the Solar Shirt, Phototrope, and Issho. Projects such as these enhance the sensory and emotional experience of clothing and reveal the nurturing potential of textiles. Van Dongen has pioneered with creating solar garments and textiles since 2013. Her studio is currently developing Suntex, an architectural textile with woven flexible solar cells.
Peter Niessen is a designer based in Utrecht. In 1993 he graduated as a fashion designer at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht (HKU), after which he started his career in theater costume design and production for dance performances, plays, and operas. In 2001 Niessen joined Inside Outside to work on the design of large-scale curtains in projects such as OMA’s Casa da Musica Porto, Hackney Empire Theatre (Tim Ronalds) in London, and the Toledo Glass Centre (SANAA). His knowledge of and experience with different kinds of fabrics and textile techniques are key to articulating the finesses and technical details of Inside Outside’s curtain installations. With his curiosity and experimental attitude, he often pushes the boundaries of textiles by developing custom details and production techniques.
Lindsey Wikstrom is the cofounding principal of Mattaforma, a design and research practice, and an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Her research has been supported by the SOM Foundation, published in Cite, eflux, Faktur, and Embodied Energy and Design: Making Architecture between Metrics and Narratives, and exhibited at the XXII Triennale di Milano, (Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival. Wikstrom’s first book, Designing the Forest and Other Mass Timber Futures, will be available in spring 2023.
Matylda Krzykowski has an independent practice in which she plans, designs, writes, and talks about digital and physical space. Since 2021 Krzykowski has been artistic lead of CIVIC, new exhibition space and social infrastructure project at Academy of Fine Art and Design Basel. She writes the built-environment column Things Might for Arts and the Working Class magazine and is advisor at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. Recently, Krzykowski co-curated Institution Building at CIVA Brussels and Total Space at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, and she developed the online TV show Airtime – What Is Wanted? for the Swiss Consulate General in New York. Krzykowski is curator of The Energy Show at Het Nieuwe Instituut Rotterdam.
Alex Nathanson is a designer, artist, technologist, and educator. His work is primarily focused on exploring both the experimental and practical applications of sustainable energy technologies, particularly photovoltaic solar power. Nathanson is the founder and lead designer of the education platform Solar Power for Artists and its partner studio, Energy Transition Design LLC. Both platform and studio are focused on making sustainable energy accessible, tactile, and understandable. As a solar power designer, he has created interactive and educational projects for the Climate Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, Solar One, and the NYC Department of Education, among others. His book A History of Solar Power Art and Design was published in 2021.
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This session will be led virtually through Zoom, a free video-conferencing software. Participants are encouraged to use a computer, smart phone, or tablet with a camera and Internet access, if possible. Participants may also dial in using a phone line. Participants will receive a Zoom link upon registering.
This event was made possible through a generous gift from Emilio Ambasz. The Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment is a platform for fostering dialogue, promoting conversation, and facilitating research about the relationship between the built and natural environment, with the aim of making the interaction between architecture and ecology visible and accessible to the wider public while highlighting the urgent need for an ecological recalibration.