Sol Design Lab is a studio dedicated to the development of progressive solutions for urban sustainability.
· Ecological design
· Public art installation
· Educational programs and curriculum development
We are interested in engaging and educating the public about sustainable systems thinking. Our goal is to aid in the shift from the current system relying on coal and gas for our primary power and transportation needs to a more sustainable solution. The placement of functioning solar art in public places serves as a springboard for conversations about effective design and renewable energy.
SolarPump Charging Station
The SolarPump re-imagines public space and civic infrastructure, providing a shady resting place with a utilitarian purpose. The station is a self-contained island of free solar power for the public to charge electric bicycles and mobile electronics. Similar in size to a bus stop, it offers seating and inspires conversation about energy consumption, solar power and electric vehicles. The project was envisioned to combine the repurposing of an American car culture symbol (a 1950s Citgo gas pump) with an interactive display harnessing solar energy to charge electric bikes and mobile electronics. The power comes from special bifacial solar panels on the roof of the station, there's no charge for use of the electricity. The face of the gas pump has an LED digital display to indicate solar panel voltage to the batteries, power output to the inverter, and battery level. The station design incorporates furniture made from recycled street signs, wireless internet, lockers and shade.
The SolarPump charging stations have made appearances at college campuses, city streets, renewable energy fairs, and music and arts festivals. 2010 events include the Bioneers Conference, San Rafael, CA; 01SJ Biennial: Build Your Own World, San Jose, CA; SXSW, Austin, TX; Lollapalooza, Chicago, IL; Bay Area Maker Fair, San Mateo, CA; Coachella, Indio, CA; the Roskilde Music Festival, Denmark and the Hayes Valley Farm in San Francisco, CA. Press about the project has appeared in Poptech, Technology Review, Make Magazine, Tree Hugger and SXSW World.
In 2011, at the Hampshire College Lemelson Center in Amherst, MA, we will be teaching a course solar charging station design. This course will start a new partnership with universities and schools to engage students in a solar design curriculum. To see one of the stations in action, you can travel to the Hayes Valley Farm in San Francisco or come to SXSW 2011.
Founding director of Sol Design Lab
Beth Ferguson is an ecological designer, public artist and founding director of Sol Design Lab. She has an MFA from the University of Texas, Austin and a BA from Hampshire College (both in ecological design and social innovation). Sol Design Lab creates interactive renewable energy projects that generate social change and climate smart communities. Thousands experience the power of solar energy with Sol Design Lab’s iconic SolarPump Charging Stations on the streets of San Francisco, Austin, Amherst and at SXSW, Coachella and festivals across the US. Charging electric bikes, phones and mobile devices, her unique brand of street furniture is constructed with up-cycled materials, re-purposed 1950’s gas pumps, pay phones, and interactive media. With exciting collaborative consumption partnerships brewing, Ferguson also teaches and co-creates site specific campus installations with students at Design, Art, and Technology program at Hampshire College.
Dallas Swindle, Industrial designer, fabricator, artist, and computer aided design specialist
Dallas has been in the field of CAD and rapid prototyping for 10 years. He developed a line of unique event tents for Artful Shelter in Asheville, NC before moving to Austin, TX to work with Sustainable Waves creating solar powered portable staging solutions then on to working with the Art Seen Alliance in festival and concert production and Sol Design Lab to help develop the SolarPump solar charging stations. Some of his other projects have appeared at: Burning Man, the Electric Picnic in Ireland, Coachella, SXSW, Bonnaroo, Lollapaloosa, Maker Faire, 01San Jose Biennial, and Art Outside.
Misa is a recent graduate from California College of the Arts' Master of Architecture program. Her thesis focused on the current trend of mobile and temporary architectural solutions as a means of stimulating urban growth and renewal in the face of oppressive building regulations and a difficult economy. This interest in small-scale interventions translated perfectly into a relationship with Sol Design Lab, where she enjoys helping create beautiful, educational structures that enrich the communities they serve.
Prior to earning her degree in architecture she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Dartmouth College in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese Language and Literature.
Our crew setting up our first charging station at SXSW 2010. From left to right: Dallas, Beth, Rick, Maverick, Dann, Sachi & Christie.
view & download the SolarPump Info Sheet