This Statement-Making Smart Furniture Is Powered by Solar Panels (and Will Charge Your Phone)

updated Jan 17, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Budapest design studio Hello Wood encourages the world to take outdoor furnishings to the next level with its innovative collection of smart outdoor furniture.

Designed for schools and universities in particular, the smart pieces utilize solar panels, which in turn deliver the harnessed energy to accompanying charging ports. For students, this means taking advantage of studying, relaxing or convening outdoors without having to abandon their posts in search of a place to plug in devices.

Included in the collection are The City Snake and the Fluid Cube, pieces made of solid larch, chosen for its extreme durability. “The cool lines of the Fluid Cube and the City Snake were cut from sawn blocks of wood using CNC technology, which allowed us to minimize the waste,” said András Huszár, Hello Wood co-founder.  Additionally, the wood used to construct the pieces is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a formal acknowledgement that the wood comes from responsibly managed forests; the solar panels used in the pieces are made from recycled plastic.

The City Snake, an extended, curved lounge chair fittingly named in reference to its rippling design, is modular and can be adjusted to the installation site. On the other hand, the Fluid Cube is a partially enclosed box-shaped compartment that’s designed to remain in the place. The box is outfitted with a bench and roof and side cutouts. Its tempered glass roof with solar panels shields occupants from the rain allows light inside; its side openings allow several cubes to be placed side by side.

Each of the structures also contain expansion joints that safeguard against wood cracking and hold the mood lighting. Hungarian startup Platio contributed the shock resistant solar panels which power the lighting, the USB sockets and the WiFi hotspot.

Currently, Hello Wood’s smart outdoor furniture is installed at four Hungarian educational institutions.