Visual Voltage Exhibition Explores Energy Through Smart Design

Visual Voltage Energy Aware Clock

Energy Aware Clock, photo by Interactive Institute

A lamp that is at the same time a laundry drying rack, a curtain that collects light during the day, an Energy Aware Clock that shows the daily energy rhythms at home and a power cord (image below) that visualises the electricity running through it are just a few object on show at the Visual Voltage exhibition, opening tomorrow in Brussels (Berlin in November). Seeing electricity helps us reflect on our energy consumption, and thus, lower it. And if it's done through fun and well designed objects, even better!The objects at Visual Voltage are the result of a few Swedish artists and designers working together with engineers, to create smart prototypes in order to trigger a greater interest in energy consumption and environmental issues. One such example is the Flower Lamp (left image below), which blossoms when the family's energy consumption has been low for a while, and hence rewarding them with its beauty. If then, the energy consumption of the family goes up, the lamp closes, which also results in it emitting less light. The collective electricity use in a household is reflected in both the shape and light of the Flower Lamp.

Visual Voltage exhibition Flower Lamp and Power Aware Cord.jpg

Left image: Flower Lamp, photo by Anette Andersson
Right image: Power Aware Cord, photo by Carl Dahlstedt

Visual Voltage combines the disciplines of art, design and energy. Visitors are invited, through a number of prototypes, concepts and installations created by well-known Swedish designers and artists, to experience energy in a variety of forms and give thought to energy consumption. Just imagine that by looking at your power cord, you can see just how much electricity is flowing though it. That is the idea behind the Power Aware Cord (right image above), designed to visualise the energy of the current use of electricity of the appliances connected with it through glowing pulses, flow, and intensity of light. That way you might discover what forgotten objects, such as your mobile phone or your TV on standby, steal energy without you noticing.

Visual Voltage can be seen at Design Vlaanderen in Brussels, September 10th - October 25 2009 and then at ENBW Showroom in Berlin, November 5th - January 5th 2010. For those of you who can't make it to any of these two cities, check out Designboom's Visual Voltage report with plenty of pictures from the show. Thanks Sergio C. for the tip! ::Visual Voltage
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