Volvo Car Italia sought a mind-bending way to display the new Volvo V60 Hybrid Electric Diesel at its Rome launch event in September 2013. The company held a design competition, “Switch to Pure Volvo,” and the winner was a collaborative effort from Synthesis Design + Architecture, Los Angeles, Calif.; engineering firm Buro Happold, Los Angeles; and Fabric Images Inc., Elgin, Ill. “Pure Tension” covers the new Volvo with a graceful swirl of flexible mesh, carbon fiber rods and photovoltaic cells that not only frames the vehicle in high art but serves as a portable charging station for the electric-powered vehicle.
The continuous, curving pavilion consists of tensioned HDPE mesh skin with embedded photovoltaic panels and a perimeter ring made of carbon fiber rods. The Volvo V60 plugs directly into the pavilion, which collects light from the sun or indoor artificial lighting. The pavilion is so flexible that it enables different configurations to accommodate vendors, demonstrations or car trade shows. The tensioned mesh structure is so lightweight that, when collapsed, it can be folded small enough to fit in the trunk of the car. See the striking pavilion design.