Looking to nature to inspire new thinking is probably not something we do enough, though nature definitely informs designs that will help us live more sustainably. Like these redesigned streetlights: they take cues from what we see in nature the environment, not as a problem to be conquered but rather something to be utilized.
That's exactly the thinking behind the new street light concept for India that looks to the mango leaf for inspiration. The aptly named "Mango" streetlight is an LED lamp concept that uses both rain and sunlight to generate power.
India's environment fluctuates from monsoonal downpours and baking sunshine, so when designer Adam Mikloski considered a solution he choose one that could utilize both environments. The shape of the top part of the leaf is flat enough to install solar cells, and the tapered shape of the rest of the design collects rainwater — both of which help power the lamps.
The idea of bringing an eco-solution to street lamps is a great idea for any country to embrace. Gas vapor lights (such as mercury vapor or the more popular and modern sodium vapor version) or electrically powered ones take their toll on the environment. The gas versions can contain harmful vapors, and purely electrical powered ones divert a lot of energy off the grid.
In a country like India neither of the traditional options are great for longevity or sustainability, but solar power has yet to take hold. Innovative designs like the Mango streetlight that take into account the specialized conditions of the Indian cityscape could do wonders in helping the infrastructure there adapt in a forward thinking way.
The Mango streetlight design was presented for the India Future of Change Design Competition and was one the top 10 finalists in the competition.
No word yet on whether the concept will be adopted, but it certainly seems like an elegant, smart solution — Mother Nature would be proud!