The Solar Manifest
We believe the sun is the most natural and humane source of electricity. It’s the answer to the smaller question (How to power our life?) and the Big one (How to live it?). As designers, those are the exact questions we pore over every day. How to rhyme the purely practical with societal issues. How to make things and make them meaningful.
Well. With solar.
While the sun was always right there—a source of power and beauty—we waited until the fossil fuels were finally finished to turn to her. Well, now, it’s her turn.
However, you can’t simply plug the sun into the socket. In come the designers. We who make things and make them better, shape the future. A solar future, which we pledge to make the default option.
This world has questions.
We should desire and design new answers.
Always sunny side up.
1. Sharing is caring
Design-tech collaboration is key
Solar designers are collaborators at heart. Our job entails a continuous balancing of creativity and technical insight. So let’s pool resources and minds to meet the needs of our planet with the needs of her inhabitants. To create decent solar design, working together will lead us to better products in less time.
2. Bottoms up
Solar design is contextual
When working with solar energy, take into account the local parameters. Local weather conditions, social practices and needs of specific communities and cultures all influence the outcome. To make solar design work, we should build the technology on local knowledge, materials and techniques. Bottom-up, taking our cues from the knowledge that’s already there.
3. Pretty pleases
Expanding the material aesthetics of solar energy
Part of our job as solar designers is to find new ways to integrate solar power. Let’s make the technology colorful, soft, cuddly, pliable, invisible, modular, full of playful patterns. By proposing new ways to integrate solar technology with materials, we have the power to make solar energy easier to understand and to use. In other words, more likeable.
4. It flows both ways
Turning consumers of commodities into prosumers
With solar, consumers aren’t dependent on buying their energy from the net. They can produce their own. In other words, consumers become ‘prosumers’. It’s an opportunity for us, designers, to make the relationship between those who use and those who produce a more balanced one.
5. Power to the objects
Solar design for energy-sensitive interactions
With solar design, there’s the potential to add energy to just about any material, surface, or object. This possibility comes with a responsibility. Make every object or building you design able to harvest its own energy. Where solar leads, form and function follow.
6. All them feels
Solar design calls for a holistic approach
Solar technology is typically assessed using quantified data such as efficiency, or financial feasibility. Let’s not forget it also brings about joy, playfulness, empowerment, togetherness, comfort, and a feeling of self-sufficiency. The impact of solar design must be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively.
7. Solar solutions
Using sustainable material & strategies
Today, solar technology is not circular. It’s our responsibility to make solar design just as sustainable and renewable as solar energy itself. Let’s choose our methods and materials wisely and be critical of the materials we use to harness the sun’s power. Clearly, finite resources like lithium offer no solace. Make sure your solar solutions don’t generate new problems.