Runners Up in the Metropolis Design Mag Competition


A little while ago I wrote the article about Civil Twilight and the Lunar Resonant Street Light, the winner of Metropolis Magazine’s Next Generation Award.  Metropolis had another article about the contest, displaying the runners up for this competition.  There were a solid number of light and lighting-centric ideas in this competition, and you need to see them!

Keep in mind that all the runners up had great projects – I’m showcasing the ones dealing with light as a medium.  See all of them here.

Alberto Villareal from San Francisco:

BrightWalk trainers let after-dark joggers put their expended energy to good use, lighting the way and alerting cars to their presence. Every time a sole strikes the ground, piezoelectric transducers convert the shock into electricity, which in turn stimulates electroluminescent polymers–low-heat-generating light sources–embedded in the shoe’s toe and heel. With a customizable upper, the sneaker allows sporty nocturnal types to exercise in safety and style. “This shoe introduces the concept of ‘empowered fashion,’” Villarreal says.

Boris von Bormann and Nik Hafermaas from Los Angeles

Von Bormann plans to brighten urban centers with his solar-powered light installations–a public-art project that he envisions as a poetic source of community pride. Initially conceived for the new “Innovation Corridor” in Pasadena, California, PowerSEEDs are decorative site-specific light sources that embed into pedestrian sidewalks or other sun-exposed surfaces. Individually controlled by programmable timing devices, they coordinate to create luminous displays. “You don’t need any wiring,” von Bormann explains. “You simply drop them in the ground.” As well as adding a lively touch to city landscapes, PowerSEEDs are meant to raise public awareness about renewable energy sources and blaze the trail for further positive innovations by demonstrating the possibilities of sustainable technologies. With the prototypes completed and plenty of ideas for future applications, von Bormann’s first installation is set to illuminate Pasadena streets at the end of the summer.

Eric Olsen from Ann Arbor, Michigan
Electro-Conductive Gypsum Wall Board

Olsen hopes his electro-conductive gypsum wallboard will eliminate the need for electric outlets altogether. By embedding flat-wire technology into low-cost fire-­resistant gypsum cladding, he’s created a working prototype for a conductive surface that could radically alter how we access electricity–we’d simply plug directly into an available piece of wall. Olsen believes that in addition to providing more flexibility in how we arrange our gadgets, his product can curb energy consumption by supplying electronics with only as much power as they need. His low-voltage wallboard eliminates the need for point-of-use transformers that reduce the current between the electrical source and the device. “Conventional wall outlets may be a thing of the past,” he says.

Jerad Tinnin from Wellington, New Zealand

Big ideas can come in small packages, as Tinnin dem­onstrates with this design for a diminutive LED desk lamp that monitors the energy consumption of its users. Tinnin understands that helping people visualize the environmental impact of their decisions is crucial for fostering energy-conscious consumers. Luminet connects to a computer, showing users not only their own contribution to greenhouse gas reduction and resource savings but the contributions of the entire Luminet community. As well as being an energy-efficient light source, the lamp has low embodied energy. To reduce the shipping burden, it comes in compact packaging, which when reversed becomes a prepaid parcel that can be mailed back for reuse or recycling. Users can even track the life cycle of their Luminet boxes online via their bar codes. “This product aims to represent a global community of conservation and thoughtfulness,” Tinnin says. “It’s a beautiful yet utilitarian desk light and a network of people making a simple change.”

All descriptions and images came from the Metropolis “Next Generation” website.  I wanted to give the lighting related folks a little love!

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