Los Angeles-based firm Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) has won the “Switch to Pure Volvo” competition to design a portable pavilion showing off the Swedish car company’s V60 plug-in electric hybrid. The 13-foot-tall, 16-foot-wide project’s sinuous form is composed of a moiré-patterned, vinyl-coated polyster fabric imbedded with flexible photovoltaic panels tensioned over CNC-bent aluminum rods. The display’s three sections echo the three modes of the car—hybrid, gas, and all-electric—and its curving form is also practical—its torqued compression between frame and skin enables the structure to stand without any extra support.
The bendy solar panels will power the car while it’s on display, and the whole installation can be broken down into small parts for transport. The fabric gets folded up and the aluminum tubes shrink down like tent poles.
The first stop is Rome this September, then Milan, and SDA principal Alvin Huang said Volvo is considering traveling the display worldwide. The idea of a movable power source could really catch on, said Huang, especially if such structures can be broken down into small parts. “With electric cars you now have to go to a power source instead of you bringing your own power source,” said Huang. Maybe that’s beginning to change?