From headlights to streetlights
Posted on December 19, 2011 9:21 AM
One of the unique attributes of Walter Hood’s design for the Powell Street Promenade is that it actually has two distinct personalities. One during the day, and the other at night when the promenade comes alive thanks to a series of LED lights which accent and reflect off the installations like glistening jewels.
The inspiration for the lighting comes directly from the LED headlights on the Audi A7. The Audi LED technology is one of the most identifiable features of the brand — an engineering feat unto itself, re-creating daylight in a headlight. LED is more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and last the lifetime of the vehicle. This defining characteristic immediately became a fascination for designer, Walter Hood. “One of the things that is really beautiful about Audi design is the way the technology inspires form, particularly with the lights. It's one of the first cars where you look at it and you actually see the LED technology."
But what is most remarkable about the LED lights on the Powell Street Promenade is what’s powering them. Audi is dedicated to efficient and sustainable energy solutions and envisioned a space that might showcase this philosophy. And so a series of “gateway towers” were erected along both sides of the street with photovoltaic solar panels mounted on top. The captured solar energy is transformed into electricity by battery packs at the base of each tower, making the LED lighting completely self-sustainable. Who knows, it might just catch on.