PhotoSynthesis – Elita Award Winner @ Salone Milan 2012

PhotoSynthesis – Elita Award Winner @ Salone Milan 2012

Photosynthesis by Akihisa Hirata conceived for Panasonic is the official 2012 Elita Installation Design winner (field of approx 500 exhibitions) …. “For his ability to engage and surprise the audience through an installation with a high-tech analogue at heart, able to capture a pure emotion that recalls nature’s rhythm”

The installation which was as impressive as it was poetic, was been created by Akihisa Hirata, one of the most promising Japanese architects of the new generation who has been chosen to represent Japan at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – The Venice Biennale.

The installation has been inspired by the photosynthesis to show the new electric and electronic devices manufactured by Panasonic, through a symbolic representation of this biologically essential process for storing the solar energy.

“Based on the dynamic of photosynthesis, I envisioned the leaves, fruit and flowers of a tree linking the entire corridor space in a cyclical network of creating, storing and saving energy. A new image of human endeavor open to the limitless energy of the sun, to the energy channels we have built and to the cycles of the biosphere. I wanted to shape a new interpretation of nature at this historic juncture.” .. Akihisa

The installation, which is the first outdoor exhibit for Panasonic, was designed by noted young architect Akihisa Hirata, whose organic vision of a living, breathing architecture reflects the open yet interdependent symbiotic cycles in nature.

Panasonic Corporation showcased its total solutions for creating, storing, saving and managing energy at the Milano Salone del Mobile 2012 exhibition

The project is first and foremost a synthesis of Panasonic’s commitment to innovation in the field of energy optimisation, focused on researching a system for the production, storage and efficient use of renewable energy designed to enable the use of the accumulated energy over time.

The installation uses several of Panasonic’s most innovative lighting products transformed into the elements of an artificially built ecosystem and inspired by a tree where photovoltaic panels become leaves, energy storage battery fruit and energy saving LEDs and the OLED panels become flowers.

Panasonic presented an energy cycle, comparing it to an ecological cycle that begins with photosynthesis, starting with energy creation (through solar panels), and continuing to energy storage (through storage batteries) and energy saving (through LED and organic LED lights), with each stage of the cycle being controlled by an energy management system.

This photosynthesizing “tree” uses a new 3D arrangement of photovoltaic cells floated on clear polycarbonate “leaves” unlike the typical flat “turf” or “moss” of horizontal solar panels. The shiny plastic surfaces randomly reflect the plants, lights and arched facades of the courtyard, mixing natural and artificial, historic and contemporary.

Glowing “flowers” make a dynamic contrast to the historic ambience of the cross-vaulted archways. LED-mounted balloon lamps in different sizes and shapes showcase a variety of light qualities. These very contemporary light “blossoms” scattered throughout creates an even more magical mood when reflected in the surfaces of the pavilion at night.

If the human species is part of the biosphere, then the things we make must also be part of that natural world. No dichotomy. Just as the living order of our world knits together from micro-proteins to macro-forests, I want my architectural spaces to entangle the beautiful diversity of life.

About Akihisa Hirata

Born in Osaka 1971.

Masters in Engineering from Kyoto University in 1997.

Worked for Toyo Ito & Associates, then started Akihisa Hirata Architecture Office in 2005.

Awards include the 2004 SD Review Asakura Award for House H, 2007 Japan Institute of Architects New Face Award for Masuya Showroom, ELLE DECO Young Japanese Design Talent 2009 for animated knot, and 2nd place in the 2011 Kaohsiung Maritime Cultural & Popular Music Center International Competition.

Chosen to exhibit in the Japan Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale Architecture Exhibition.

Sees architecture as weaving “rooms to entangle” within its surroundings to emulate life and vitally engage our physical nature.

Active both in Japan and abroad, his writings include Akihisa Hirata: Tangling

About Elita Awards

The Elita Awards is the prize for best exhibition of Fuorisalone, born out of a partnership between the Elita festival and IED (the European Institute of Design in Milan), in collaboration with and Future Concept Lab.

The jury made up of Rossella Bertolazzi (IED Visual Communication), Dino Lupelli (Elita festival), Cristian Confalonieri (, Valentina Ventrelli (Future Concept Lab), the jury chairman Lorenzo Palmeri, made their final decisions on the award winner, at the closing event of this 5 day festival.

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