Although Volvo has been slowly bending its traditional reputation for making simple, safe, transportation cubicles, they are finally stepping out of the box this year while debuting their new hybrid model.
Through the design magazine The Plan, Volvo held a Switch to Pure pavilion design competition to find a new way to frame their new V60 Electric Hybrid at the 2013 Italian trade shows. The shelter’s design had to be innovative, temporary, and easily disassembled for continual transport between shows. The curvaceous winning pavilion Pure-Tension by the design firm Synthetic Design and Architecture not only met the requirements, but extended the car’s capabilities to become a portable solar-charging station.
The pavilion’s design flows around and into the automobile, inviting onlookers to explore the shelter’s organic curves and technological benefits. The team accomplished the undulating structure by first experimenting with different materials to see how they distorted with stress. The result was a structure framed with carbon fiber and dressed with a high-density polyethylene mesh embedded with photovoltaic panels to absorb the sun’s rays. The pavilion balances on top of the car, plugs in to charge the battery, and folds up neatly to store in the trunk when not in use.
While the pavilion is beautifully nomadic, the design team still has some fine-tuning to do: the solar components are battling with the pavilion’s contoured design, which makes it hard to gauge the necessary placement for optimal sunlight absorption. While the project was initially designed for trade show use rather than the consumer market, the SDA team has opened a discussion for further development with Volvo. For now though the design will debut in Rome on September 15, 2013. While not the most practical, the Pure-Tension pavilion at least makes sustainability a little more attractive.