Solar Buoys Light Up Strait of Gibraltar

Project Heracles issued designers a unique challenge: design and document a piece of infrastructure on a single postcard capable of connecting Africa and Europe across the Strait of Gibralter.

One of the most noteworthy responses to this challenge (which was offered by Domus magazine) is Lanterna di mare, a concept by italian designer Alessandro Loschiavo in collaboration with Francesco Nava. His concept design is an installation of luminous buoysmarking the shortest sea passage between the two continents, encouraging swimmers to cross the strait in stages.

According to Designboom, these buoys are powered by solar, offering swimmers a clear destination at night. They’re also set up as way stations, complete with floating platforms where tired swimmers can take a load off and gather their resources for the next leg. (Basic medical supplies are also stored here, in case of emergencies.)

Lanterna di mare solar bouy installation

image via Designboom

This design is interesting in that it eschews any type of permanent structure — such as a bridge or a tunnel — in favor of one that encourages athletes to bridge the distance themselves with their energy, patience and skill.

Lanterna di mare is currently on display at the Gopher Hole Gallery in London with the other Heracles Project postcards.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.