Earth revolves around the sun, and so may our energy future. That’s the promise that , a manufacturer of solar cells and other eco-friendly power equipment, holds out at the Hanergy Renewable Energy Exhibition Center. Considering the company’s financial problems, making headlines internationally, this museum in a former office building in Beijing’s Olympic Forest Park is almost certain to be the best news to come out of Hanergy this year, and that’s due to the sophisticated interior architecture and installations by project manager Lu Yijing.
The visitor experience is highly choreographed. A video wall screens a short orientation film. Guides then lead groups through a 22,000- square-foot environment defined by polished stainless steel, copper, futuristic plastics, and backlit acrylic prints. To trigger the multimedia programming along the way, guides push buttons in the walls or tap the screens of tablet computers.
Installations recount the rise of fossil fuels, then point toward Hanergy’s bid to power the world sustainably. The centerpiece, both physically and symbolically, is a large glowing sun assembled from hand-painted fiberglass layers and internally lit with LEDs. Cartoonlike white neon depictions of a lightbulb, a telephone, and the like flash on when someone sparks up what looks like an old-school generator. It’s pure theater, though: Electricity here is generated by Hanergy solar panels mounted outside on the roof and facade.
Project Team: Daniel Strauss; Fabian Schludi; Roger Nientient; Xiaolu Ludwig-Wu; Marc Becker; Gero Kindermann; Ralf Bähren; Marion Wagner; Jelena Blankmuhr; Sven Stuckenschmidt; Carolina Beutnagel; Thomas Laub; Tan Jun; Alexander Bartneck; Hajo Gawins; Fabian Katz; Barbara Linke; Yvonne Kottner; Nils Kreter; Christian Weissman.