Solar Street Furniture Shines On The Champs-Elysees
Does this clover-like lamppost fit in with Paris' stony sensibilities?
French designer Mathieu Lehanneur has always had his eyes set on a big prize, Paris, as the site for his creations. Having previously designed fiber-optic internet oases for the city’s denizens, Lehanneur has moved on to other multifunctional street furniture, and this time, instead of literally incorporating plants, he has used a botanical inspiration as a jumping-off point for a streetlamp called Clover.
First and foremost, Clover is a solar-powered street-light design. Its method of storing energy allows for three hours of energy autonomy. Large aluminum domes direct light exclusively downward, maximizing lighting efficiency. This unique method of distributing illumination also prevents the light pollution that makes so many urban skies glow orange.
As chief designer for Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, Lehanneur was also alert to the poking need of many a weary urbanite: a place to sit and peacefully charge their phone. Perhaps thinking of the long history of people illegally tapping streetlights in various cities in order to power squats and other illegal initiatives, Lehanneur envisions including a hatch that opens to reveal a charging outlet.
A variety of seating benches have also been prototyped to accompany Clover, including some up to 15m long. In relation to the street landscape, Lehanneur writes, somewhat cryptically, that he “always dreamed of a long bench as a landscape…at the landscape scale.”
Perhaps, in calling landscapes to mind, he is referring to Clover’s effort to simulate nature in unexpected ways. While appearing to be whittled by hand, Clover’s lamppost and bench are actually “digitally machined according to an unprecedented industrial process” that allows for the use of several different woods at the same time.
The lights debuted at COP21 in December of last year in front of Paris’s Ministère de l’Écologie.