The Idea of a Tree: Solar Powered Factory

Shape and colour of each product determined by the amount of sunlight available during manufacture.

Viennese designers Mischer’Traxler have taken the concepts of sustainable design, biomimicry and product customization and produced The Idea of a Tree.

A tree is a product of its specific time and place. It reacts and develops according to its surrounding and constantly records various environmental impacts in its growth process. Each single tree tells its own story of development. The goal of ‘the idea of a tree’- project was to bring the recording qualities of a tree and its dependence on natural cycles into products.

The final outcome is an autonomous mechanical production process which is a hybrid combination of natural input and mechanical process. It involves the translation of natural inputs through a mechanical apparatus in order to create one object a day. The recorder is totally dependent on sun light. Driven by solar energy, it reacts and incorporates the light intensity into an object.
The outcoming object reflects the various sunshine conditions that occur during a day. Like a tree the object becomes a three dimensional recording of its process and time of creation.

The machine starts producing when the sun rises and stops when the sun settles down. After sunset, the finished object can be “harvested”.
It slowly grows the object, by pulling threads through a colouring device, a glue basin and finally winding them around a mould.

The length/height of the resulting object depends on the sunhours of the day. The thickness of the layer and the colour is depending on the amount of sun-energy. (more sun = thicker layer and paler colour; less sun=thinner layer and darker colour). So far a bench and a lamp are outcomes of the machine.

It would be really interesting to see this taken a step further with digital manufacturing so that the form of the object was also dictated by an element of the surroundings, be it the wind, ambient noise or pollution. With this the difference between the harsh Australian sun and the overcast English sky would be augmented by the clear air and diesel fumes respectively.

great work Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler. Check it out at Youngsters, Arena Eichenstrane 4, Berlin, Germany.

via Dezeen via Josh Judkins via Jamie McLellan via twitter ………..

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3 Responses to “The Idea of a Tree: Solar Powered Factory”

  1. Ponoko Blog Says:

    [...] a more leisurely approach. Peter Cook and Beckey Northey are Pooktre, the tree shapers. Much like the Idea of a Tree, the shape and colour of each product determined by the amount of sunlight available during [...]

  2. Twitted by lukism Says:

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  3. Kristen Says:

    this is so cool