Piezoplot | Runner Up for Jardin de Métis 2011 International Garden Festival

Like many gardens, Piezoplot is a productive landscape. As visitors bounce on the garden’s artificial surface, their movements generate energy through the production of piezoelectric charges. The playful space invites exploration while asking visitors to question their everyday relationship to energy-use and energy-creation. It gives a new twist to the term to harvest, suggesting that public spaces could be used to generate power.

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Piezoplot offers a public space that is interactive, didactic and most importantly productive. The garden harvests energy as visitors traverse, jump, play and lie on its artificial surface. It makes use of Piezoelectricity, a type of energy that is produced when crystals are squeezed or pressed. Here, a rubber textured surface resembling a plot of green grass sits above a system of boards and springs. The heights of the artificial grasses and the softness of the springs beneath, vary across the surface of the garden. The taller grasses and the softer springs invite more play and use, and, in turn, result in the production of more piezoelectricity. This electricty is stored and used to power a sign that shows visitors how much energy they have created during the course of the festival. Piezoplot’s secret lies not only in its covert production of Piezoelectricity, but also in the organization of where this energy is most easily produced. The ratio of the garden’s bouncy spaces with tall grasses and soft springs to the less-bouncy spaces with lower grasses and harder springs, relates directly to the ratio of high energy-use areas to low energy-use areas in Canada. As such, the interactivity of the garden offers a sub-conscious representation of the country’s overall energy use. Piezoplot is not only portable garden system that could be re-used in other locations, but also a portable concept that could be re-imagined to generate power at other scales in other public arenas.

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