The Windstalk concept recreates the swaying traits of a windswept wheat field with modern materials and kinetic-energy harnessing technology. Devised by New York design firm Atelier DNA, the project offers a new means to employ wind power, and an aesthetic alternative to the standard turbine.
The proposal calls for 1,203 carbon fiber reinforced resin poles, each reaching one hundred and fifty feet in height, anchored to the ground via round, concrete bases. These bases, butting up to one another, create platforms and passageways on which one may wander amongst the towering “stalks.” Within each pole are piezoelectric discs and electrodes capable of generating an electric current from the slightest movements. Attached to the peak of each poll is an LED light; off when the air is still, on when the Windstalk is active and producing juice. This charge is stored in sub-terrainian battery chambers, housed below the cement bases.
Although the Windstalk does not have the efficiency of a turbine, the concept does offer a much more structurally versatile option; height-wise and ground coverage. It furthermore functions dually, as an energy generating structure and interactive public space. In progressive design, this project demonstrates yet another attractive means of incorporating sustainable practice into everyday life.
So, its been a while since the last post, and we apologize. Been busy busy. But now, some news!
According to a recent study conducted by researchers at Duke University, solar power is, for the first time, cheaper than nuclear energy. The price of photovoltaic systems has steadily dropped with technological progression and increased demand, while the cost of building and running a nuclear plant remains high. It is important to note that this study used data pertaining predominately to North Carolina, and that the financial benefits of solar over nuclear may be even larger in the sun-rich western states. Also, concentrated solar power (CSP) systems, capable of electrical generation after sunset, were NOT included; if they were, costs for the solar side would go down even more.
The results of this study come at a prime time, with the Senate's failure to pass a climate and energy bill earlier this year, and aggressive lobbying by the nuclear industry arguing itself as the best/cheapest way to ease off fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint. Not the case. Solar is now one of the cheapest power sources in America.
In the image above: Josh Hadar enjoys the SoHo sunshine atop his workshop. The solar panels supply power to tools used to create Hadar's signature bikes and trees. It's just one step in raising awareness of evolving environmental technologies, and bringing them to the world of art. Photo: J.Bushueff
Last week, a number of steel trees were moved from the Hadar workshop to a photo studio, for a session with professional photographer Peter Reitzfeld. Working as one of Harley Davidson's main photographers, Peter is quite adept at shooting steel and highlighting the nuances of fine metalwork. The new images, which not only cover Hadar's collection of sculptural trees but his most recent (and yet to be unveiled) bike, will soon be online. Keep posted!]]>
Last week, the Hadar Metal Design crew installed the finished steel trees at the Inter-Continental Hotel. Over the course of a day, fifty some-odd, foam-wrapped pieces were trucked from the Hadar studio to 44th st., hauled into the hotel's courtyard, and reassembled into six complete trees. The branches were attached with both epoxy and set screws, and the base of each section was bolted to the cement platform on which the sculpture stands. All in all, the process was smooth as silk–somewhat surprising for an installation of size–and everyone was left pleased. However, the display has a ways to go. Between now and the grand opening in mid-July, the trees will be embellished with a base of real grass and encompassed by a reflective pool and submerged spotlights. All this will be set against a wall of semi-transparent, crimson lucite. Incomplete and amidst construction, the glimmering grove already looks stunning. Just wait until it's done!
I'm always happy to see the creative application of photovoltaic technology, believing it's the best way raise interest and awareness of it's incredible energy-providing potential. Designer and musician Craig Colorusso's most recent project, “Sun Boxes,” is doing just this, incorporating music with solar power to provide audible proof of the sun's work. The project involves twenty wooden boxes, each equipped with a speaker, PC board, and solar panel, and programmed to play a different, pre-recorded, guitar note. Together, the Sun Boxes create an orchestra of varying tones, not only powered by the sun, but controlled by natural shifts in it's intensity. The ephemeral harmonies produced during such a unique, live performance, seem quite adequate as a solar soundtrack. In a merging of art and technology, Colorusso presents a composition by the sun, an attractive manifestation of nature, and testament to the power of a clean, renewable, energy.
Sun Boxes on YouTube
If you've recently visited the Hadar studio, you may have noticed what appears to be a growing forest of steel trees, along with bits of honed branches and a sea of metal pipes. The trees are part of a display commissioned by the soon-to-open Inter-Continental Hotel, at 43st. and 8th avenue. Life size, built by hand, and composed of thousands of individually cut and welded pieces, these inspired-by-nature sculptures have been months in the making. They've just left the shop for a protective-gloss coating, the final stage before installation begins.
The tree idea came from a desire to recycle the excess tubing left from building bikes. In accordance with the bikes, which stylistically meld biomorphic and industrial design, these sculptures accentuate the free-form beauty of natures likeness–using steel, an ingredient of urbanization, as a device implying permanence to a necessary, yet vulnerable, element of our environment.
More info, updates, and images to come!]]>
Josh at work on his most recent ridable sculpture. The grinder is being powered by solar panels on the studio roof, and the finished trike will be equipped with an electric motor. This project represents a new series of Hadar Metal Design work, focussing on sustainable energy solutions in all aspects of production. Its now in its final stages, and just left the shop for a jet-black powder coat. More shots to come!
Rudy's Music in Soho is as much a museum as a guitar store. The gallery of vintage rarities and modern gems is an overview of six-string history and design, and showcases the instrument as a true piece of art. You don't have to be a player, let alone a guitar connoisseur, to appreciate the place–but if you are... well then it's just heaven.
On a recent visit, I discovered some of the most custom axes I've ever seen: AM Guitars. Rather than the usual body of alder, ash, or sandwiched mahogany and maple, these one-of-a-kind electrics are made of recycled steel. From lawnmowers, street lamps, and 50's vacuums, to BMW manifolds and Boeing airplane parts, the once scrap-yard components are cleaned up, re-composed, and outfitted with the guts of a high end electric guitar. They're beautiful and definitively unique. Sculptures that shred.
What about the sound? I'm no audio engineer, but my basic knowledge of guitar woods and their tonal properties led me to expect something harsh and “metallic.” However, with the first strum through a boutique Mercury amp, my worried expectations were broken; yes, it was wonderfully hot when wide open, but cleaned up nicely with the volume and tone rolled back. Apparently, BMW's deliver incredible sustain and effortless harmonics. In the next hour, I played nearly every model in the shop (Rudy Pensa graciously gave me the full AM guitar experience), and found each one to have a sound as distinct as its looks.
The AM Guitars offer a refreshing departure from the roughly eighty-year-old electric design. They represent class-A recycled art, flawless combinations of form and function, and extraordinary creative freedom in an area where such experimentation has been all to rare. There price tags may keep you from buying one, but they'll inspire you enough to imagine what crap in your garage would sing best when cranked to eleven.
Thanks to Rudy for the great demo. Check out the complete AM Guitar line, and a shop full of the most incredible guitars in NYC, at Rudy's Music in Soho at 461 Broome Street, just two blocks from Hadar Metal Designs.
The Mission One electric motorcycle is a true superbike. The fastest one out for production. The “green” answer, for all you speed-junkies keen on reducing your carbon footprint but hesitant to ditch your Japanese, fuel injected, crotch rocket.
The Mission One is the premier offering by, San Francisco based, Mission Motors. Designed by the Yves Behar and his fuseproject team, the build of this machine is as stunning as its top speed of 150 mph. The style is futuristic, yet particularly clean, concentrating on aerodynamic lines from tip to tail. These ergonomics typify speed, agility, and the revolutionary technology inside the Mission One's feather-weight aluminum hide. And the state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery is just the beginning. The bike uses computers as much as mechanics, providing a digital interface where the rider may access maps, battery levels, performance stats, and adjustment controls for every tunable bit of the ride. What's more, updating these settings and software takes seconds, and can be done wirelessly. Shining as a superbike, the “extremely” high-performance electric motor has zero shift points, and pumps enough instant torque to pop wheelies (if you dare such gnarly stunts) from a standstill. On a more reasonable note, a regenerative breaking system harnesses kinetic energy during operation to recharge the battery–although a 220v socket will juice it up in under three hours.
With the success of this bike, Mission Motors hopes to change the public perception of electric motorcycles and prove that there isn't any performance compromised with the loss of a gas tank. Environmentally, it's a clear upgrade. Motorcycles boast impressive mile-per-gallon efficiencies, yet lack the emissions reduction equipment found in modern cars. Not an issue for the Mission One. Crank the throttle and get your adrenaline fix, without spitting a drop of hydrocarbon.
I would like to meet this Dan Hanebrink guy. In 2003 he won an inventors-award for his “ice bike,” which proved itself in Antarctica, and now, as if that's not a hard bicycle to beat, he's put together a ride capable of devouring ALL the elements; minus the ability to water-ski and fly. Enter, the Hanebrink “all terrain electric bike”–by far, the burliest thing with pedals and a battery pack I've ever seen.
This one's in a class of it's own; a category that may only consist of bicycles bearing the Hanebrink name and vehicles made for the military. It goes 40 mph, running about an hour per charge, and costs nearly eight grand. Sure, at 71 lbs, it's in the same weight category as similarly robust e-bikes, but this one's been graced with a substantial amount of carbon fiber. The eight-inch tubeless tires look like they've been ripped from a Mars rover, and the dual-range, 14-speed gearing configuration permits unparalleled torque; supposedly making it possible to pull/carry up to 300 lbs of cargo.
Dan Hanebrink not only sketched and composed the design of this bike, but developed many of the custom components. Besides his past as a champion cyclist, and pioneer of mountain bike suspension-systems, the man is a NASA aerospace engineer–enough said. Yet, I do believe, that while any PhD in engineering leads to things making more physical sense, the bit of creativity that fosters such an “experiment” is paramount. I have no doubt that Dan's ingenuity results in-part from his simple desire to ride bikes, go fast (anywhere), and say, “Holy crap, it works!”