Architecture and design studio Hello Wood has created a line of unconventional outdoor furniture with smart functions for schools and universities. The sleek pieces of solid wood furniture have been installed at four educational institutions, where they also serve as a community space. The outdoor furniture designs, commissioned by MVM Hungarian Electricity Private Limited Company (MVM), reimagine the genre of public sculpture by including smart functions powered by renewable energy.
The two furniture pieces – Fluid Cube and City Snake – re-introduce modular public structures in a contemporary and sustainable way. City Snake is a 7.5m long outdoor smart bench with integrated solar panels that enable students to charge their phones through built-in USB outlets. Fluid Cube, on the other hand, is a 9m3 cube structure that has the same technical attributes, but also can serve as a safe place during rain thanks to its roofing.
The City Snake is a modular structure; its elements are variable and can fit any given site. The Fluid Cube is a fixed unit with solar cells swimming between the layers of its tempered glass top. This transparent roof blocks rain, but more importantly lets the sunlight through. Users can stretch out along the shape of the City Snake, while the openings of the Fluid Cube are designed so more than one unit can be lined up side-by-side.
According to Dávid Ráday, Co-founder of Hello Wood, the purpose of exciting and innovative design is to turn articles of everyday use into loveable objects. In order to decide which schools got the pieces, MVM decided on the distribution of the pieces by way of a tender open to educational institutions. The call received more than 1,200 applications.