Designers Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai have designed SUNplace, "for cooking and sharing, using the most basic, self-sufficient, clean and inexhaustible energy source : the sun."
Unlike our beloved GoSun stove, which uses mirrors to concentrate the sun on a tube, SUNplace uses a big fresnel lens to concentrate sunlight on to a cast iron grill. Everyone sits around it like one of those Japanese Hibachi tables; the social aspect is as important as the cooking.
The station requires the full involvement of all its users, well-equipped and protected by gloves and special glasses; this team-work will also promote interpersonal relationships with conviviality. Historically the hearth was the center of the tribe and family; Sunplace wants to recover the ritual of the banquet as a shared moment.
It was created as part of an exhibition for Milano Expo 2015, and I do wonder whether it would really work, whether that steel grill might act more as a heat sink rather than a hot surface, and whether one really needs all the protective gear. But it certainly is going to be an entertaining dinner. Thanks Fast Co Design for tip.