Friday Fun: Solar-Powered Benches for Public Spaces

Benches with solar panels in Berlin's Potsdamer Platz light up public spaces and serve as an innovative landmark. Photo by Nathan Bush.

Ross Lovegrove, an industrial engineer known for his work with organic forms and structures, creates innovative benches with solar lights to occupy public spaces. With 360 solar cells and LED technology, the Solar Tree collects energy during the day and lights public spaces at night. But most importantly, “the Solar Trees communicate more than light,” says, a Hungarian design blog. “[The lights] communicate the trust of placing beautifully made, complex natural forms outside for the benefit of all of the society becoming a museum.” That museum, mentions, later serves as an incubator of change in society.

In a 2005 TED Talk, Lovegrove explains the foundation of his inspiration for all of his projects. “I’m just interested in natural growth patterns, beautiful forms that only nature creates,” Lovegrove explains. “I’m also interested in growth patterns: the unbridled way nature grows things, so you’re not restricted by form at all.”

Displayed in the public spaces of Berlin and Barcelona, Lovegrove’s design aesthetic often reflects into practical and functional public works of art that enhance the public space. In addition to the Solar Tree above, Lovegrove’s Love Lamp is another innovative seating example for public spaces, especially near public transit.

Click here for more examples of Lovegrove’s work.


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