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Brief Published: 16 Apr 2014

The Current Table

Marjan van Aubel, Milan Design Week 2014

The Current Table, created by Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel in collaboration with Swiss solar-power firm Solaronix, reimagines the workspace as a "self-sufficient solar cell".

The table, spotted by the Stylus team at Milan Design Week earlier this month, has a dye-sensitised solar cell embedded in its surface. This means it can recharge devices such as phones and tablets using a process similar to photosynthesis. Unlike photovoltaic solar cells, however, the table doesn't need direct sunlight to function.

"Working on our energy problem starts with combining forces; framing new technology so that it responds to our emotional and psychological needs, as well as pure scientific efficiency," van Aubel told Stylus. "Designers are able to conduct behavioural change and create awareness of our energy consumption. But what we don't want is to change our habits out of a sort of guilt. It should be integrated aesthetically, and naturally intertwined into our daily lives."

The table is a continuation of The Energy Collection, which explored the idea of giving everyday objects the ability to collect and store energy. Van Aubel suggests the Current Table could be a solution for small-scale commercial buildings such as libraries or restaurants, providing personal power outlets for visitors without the need for cables.

For more on the potential of new technology to provide cleaner, more efficient sources of power, take a look at Eco Energy: Smarter Savers. Look out for more coverage of this year's Milan Design Week, coming soon to the site.