Each and every day, the sun showers our cities in solar energy. Every night, our cities emit light so bright that they can be seen from space. An industrial designer from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel, has designed a concept device called the UrbanTile that would harness the solar energy city buildings absorb during the day for their lighting needs at night. The UrbanTile is a small solar panel that can be flipped to reveal a light emitting screen. Banded together into rows, the panels become a window blind that forms a light and entertainment display.

The panels would made from aluminum and stainless steel with an OLED screen on one side and a photovoltaic panel on the other. Incorporating electrical motors to move them, they could be programmed to turn automatically at different times of the day. Designed to be mounted into windows, the panels could be turned to rest at various angles allowing light in during the day whilst absorbing solar energy. In the evening, the OLED screens would be turned to face indoors to light up rooms and also provide a bank of screens for media playback. At night, the light emitting side could also be turned outwards to produce patterns of light on the sides of buildings.

The thinness and brightness of OLED screens, along with their low power consumption and brilliant color reproduction would make them a good fit for this kind of display technology. The video below shows examples of how large scale uses of the UrbanTile on the sides of buildings might look. The servo motors turn the panels into different formations like a fluid canvas of light. Other uses would be for the display of messages, images and video for advertising purposes.

UrbanTile is the graduation project of Meidad Marzan for his course in the Industrial Design Dept. at Bezalel Academy of Art & Design in Jerusalem..