Solar Shade

Physical Design

SolarShade was designed as a wearable sculpture that takes the 3-dimensional avant-garde fashion trend into utility and function. A speculative product by nature, it postulates data-gathering and energy-harvesting abilities as the future of fashion.


The year is 2050, global warming would have swept over the nation, putting us in hot and unbearable climates. Street walkers round their backs and hide their faces from the scorching heat. SolarShade balances perfectly at this deformed-but-now-normal posture.


Tasked to develop function from form, SolarShade was developed after a 7-week series of linear, planar and volumetric studies. While my journey towards the conception of SolarShade was neither linear nor direct, its expression, use of negative space, and choice of accents remained intact.

The structural hood bears shape as an extension of the thoracic spine, rounding out the curve from the back inward into itself.

An open volume is carved out from its wireframe and plane of fabric, which takes cues from canopies, hands-free umbrellas and horse-drawn carriages while maintaining its asymmetrical intent.

Ripstop Nylon was specifically chosen as material to mimic photovoltaic cells printed on the hood, indicating the solar-harvesting propensity of the entire structure.

SolarShade transfers its solar-generated power to an energy chamber in the shape of an ergonomic clamshell shoulder bag.

The chamber bag, pictured below, can be released from its mother-hood structure and used as a table charging station. It takes the form of a kidney bean, fitting perfectly in the side lumbar crevice between the waist and hip. The organic form was a volumetric abstraction of the curved planar hood, paying homage to the curvilinear language of the entire sculpture.

Kept in its raw textured form, the chamber’s surface likens fine sand. Its soft nude palette complements the beech wood of the dowel attachment, and brass T-shaped latch that holds the strap in place.

Solar Shade in progress

Photos by Cathy Tung

the side hustle of 2015 – 2021

For 6 years, I dedicated my career to dance performance and creating movement for the stage, while exploring what design meant to me as an artist.
why it mattered

That gave me the time and space to breathe new life into my interdisciplinary arts-based research around the fluid categorization of identities in tangent with the self.