The Solar Hourglass was an entry to the 2014 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) design competition held in Copenhagen. The goal of LAGI is to bring together artists, architects, designers and engineers to design public art installations that also produce utility scale clean energy.
The project won first prize due to its practical and symbolic approach. The concept behind the installation is to create an environmentally friendly and sustainable power producing hourglass that resembles not only the shape of these beautiful artifacts but also the way they work, only using a solar beam instead of sand as a trickling material.
This way, the project does not only convert heat into electricity, but it makes a visual spectacle out of it, providing at the same time an outstanding platform from which to enjoy incredible views of Copenhagen’s harbor and the installation itself.
The project was the result of an extensive research in the field of solar energy and the innovating technologies of solar tracking heliostat power plants, or solar tower power plants. This technology tracks the movement of the sun through a series of small flat mirrors called heliostats, which collectively concentrate the solar heat on a single spot containing a heating medium that is later used to produce water steam and run a turbine generator.
The Hourglass somehow reminds us that energy is just as precious and fleeting as time, and thus we should take care of it, appreciate it… not waste it. The project aims to send an optimistic message to those who visit it; that we still have time to make things right environmentally; that we are not beyond the point of no return… and most importantly, that we don't need to be.