Interconnected furniture pieces from UM Project can generate, store and distribute solar electricity for small homes and apartments

An increasing number of homes today and tomorrow will rely on solar energy, according to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association—and this trend will see more home utility batteries being used to store and regulate electricity. But what happens in small spaces or apartments where integrating a battery system isn't practical? Designer François Chambard of Brooklyn-based UM Project has created a one-off furniture collection called Patch that integrates solar energy collection, storage and distribution.

Debuting as part of the Ventura Future Exhibition at Salone del Mobile 2018 in Milan, Patch includes more than half a dozen separate pieces. An outdoor bench fitted with solar panels is responsible for generating electricity. A blue chest made from 250 enameled interlocking panels is fitted with a battery and serves as a device charging station.

Other power storage elements include a decorative wall garden and mirror that facilitates some cable management.

Chambard designed Patch to be a “humane and inviting vision of technology” to counter the engineering-focused solutions more commonly marketed today. Details like the oversized power station-inspired throw switch are touches of fun common across UM Project's work.

UM Project

An increasing number of homes today and tomorrow will rely on solar energy, according to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association—and this trend will see more home utility batteries being used to store and regulate electricity. But what happens in small spaces or apartments where integrating a battery system isn't practical? Designer François Chambard of Brooklyn-based UM Project has created a one-off furniture collection called Patch that integrates solar energy collection, storage and distribution.