Panasonic will soon be revealing its Akihisa Hirata-designed “Energetic Energies” exhibition during Milan Design Week. The structure, measuring about 30 meters in length, is installed underneath the University of Milano’s Largo Richini Portico and is made up of a large number of solar panels spread over a depiction of the rooftops of a city.
Japanese architect Hirata chose not to position the solar panels the traditional way, but rather opted for smaller solar units “growing” from the city in a natural, tree-like fashion to imitate the way plants adapt to the sun’s position.
The “Energetic Energies” exhibition is a continuation of last year’s “Photosynthesis” exhibit (also a Hirata and Panasonic production) which attempts to redefine the way solar panels are installed. Hirata’s design consists of a three-dimensional arrangement of the solar panels, similar to how plants grow on a hill, rather than arranging the panels to face the same direction as is the norm.
The end product, on top of the cubes representing the cityscape, resembles a solar energy-powered garden which blends nature and technology.
According to Akihisa Hirata, bigger does not necessarily mean better, and neither should the panels all face the same direction because the sun’s movement from east to west means that the angle between the earth and the sun is always changing.
It’s no wonder the leaves and branches of plants grow in different directions so as to trap the maximum amount of sunlight. He added, “If we really want to efficiently provide energy for a city, I think we should rethink how we deploy solar panels”.