Sunny Memories is the fusion of solar technology and industrial design. A project that involved more than 80 students from four leading design schools, this exhibit explores the broad new realm of technology, energy, and design that solar dye cells have heralded. Led by the EPFL+ECAL Lab, in Lausanne, Switzerland, the “Sunny Memories” workshops took place in collaboration with the University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL), the California College of the Arts (CCA), the Royal College of Art in London (RCA) and the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Creation Industrielle in Paris (ENSCI). Under the tutelage of design leaders like Yves Behar from San Francisco’s fuseproject, Jean-Francois Dingjian of Paris’ Normal Studio, Sam Hecht from London’s Industrial Facility, and Swiss designer Jörg Boner, students began their projects with the following challenge: how do we use energy to record our memory, heritage and knowledge? How can we employ solar energy to preserve history, while increasing autonomy, mobility, and sustainability?
The source of this solar innovation is the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne), the “MIT of Switzerland.” There, professor Michael Graëtzel began to use molecules from colorants to transform the sun’s light into electricity. Inspired by photosynthesis, he developed an award-winning technology that allowed solar dye cells to take all sorts of shapes, colors and forms. As industrial production of these solar cells has begun, it is now up to the design community to create products that meld this new technology with great design. Sunny Memories signals a new relationship between technology and design: designers have the freedom to explore the multiple meanings that a new technology can bring about.
Sunny Memories, with the Embassy of Switzerland, January 18 – February 8, Washington Design Center, Washington D.C.