Summer sunshine means barbecues. I doubt many will disagree with me on this one. But instead of reaching for that dirty bag of coal that is patiently waiting in the shed for the precious time of year to come, many people are becoming more interested in using the clean power of the sun to cook a delicious meal. No wonder among our most liked pieces here are the tutorial on How to build your own solar oven, and the very loved GoSun stove.
Now, a new invention by two promising designers- Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai, is here to challenge all other existing solar cookers around. It is called SUNplace, and it offers something that no other solar cooker does- it involves sharing.
Inspired by the Hibachi tables in Japan, and the idea of the popular South Korean style barbecues, the cooking plate is integrated in the table. In this way, everyone could sit around, and cook their own meal to their liking. What is more, people can socialize while preparing the meal, avoiding the need of having one designated chef, who sweats next to the grill while the others are having fun.
The SUNplace was introduced at the Milano Expo 2015 last week, where it definitely attracted quite a bit of attention. It is an entire cooking set, with a table and chairs. It is equipped with a fresnel lens, which concentrates the sun rays onto a cast iron grill, and it comes with all the necessary gloves and special glasses, so that everyone can cook safely.
As a big fan of cooking and having a meal together, I find this design very attractive. I guess for the hot summer days in Italy, where the makers are from, it will work extremely well. It is still a bit questionable whether it can get hot enough elsewhere, but even if it requires longer time for cooking, as long as there is good company around, I doubt anyone would mind.
Image (c) Angelo Becci