‘Energetic Energies’ Concept Shows Our Solar-Powered Future

If we get it right, future cities won’t stand in such stark contrast to the natural world. Though they’re likely to be rife with sophisticated, energy-generating technologies, many predict that urban areas of the future will actually enhance our connection to nature, rather than interrupt it.

Energetic Energies‘ is a conceptual art installation created by Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata for Panasonic. With it, the artist and architect imagines a city where solar panels wind around and through the city like the tendrils of a growing plant, rather than assembled in static lines on a rooftop.

energetic energies installation

Image via Akihisa Hirata Architecture/ © santi caleca

In his installation, Hirata uses transparent cubes to represent buildings clustered in a city. But instead of focusing on the structures, one’s eye is instantly drawn to the cascading solar panels, which seem to sprout from every surface and spill down toward the ground like branches of a weeping willow.

“When viewing the installation, one is struck by its conceptual similarity to a vibrant metropolis of the future, where artificial  solar panels integrate seamlessly with nature,” explains DesignBoom. “The overall effect is designed to convey a sense of inclusiveness, a world in which city and nature exist in harmony, with natural energy amply and efficiently available to all.”

“Conventional wisdom has it that bigger is better when it comes to solar panels, and that they must always face one direction. I don’t buy into that,” explained Hirata. “The sun moves from east to west, with its angle relative to earth constantly changing. That’s why plants grow their branches and leaves in so many different directions; they want to catch as much sunlight as possible. So if we really want to efficiently provide energy for a city, I think we should rethink how we deploy solar panels.”

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog