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New British Inventors: Marjan van Aubel

© THOMAS BUTTERY

Caventou was founded in 2015 by Marjan van Aubel with Peter Krige and Samira Ann Qassim, to develop products which naturally integrate solar technology into everyday life. 

Caventou, named after the French scientist who co-discovered chlorophyll – the green plant pigment powering photosynthesis, has collaborated with scientists, engineers and graphic designers to produce a new kind of solar cell that uses the property of colour to create an electric current in the same way that plants create energy through photosynthesis.  These 'dye-sensitised' solar cells work efficiently under diffuse light making it possible to harvest solar energy indoors. 

By integrating these cells into the Current Table and Current Window, Caventou has created the first energy-generating furniture that also redefines the capabilities of solar technology.  Both the Current Table and Window are self-sufficient and can be used to charge electronic devices and provide information to an accompanying app to monitor light intensity and energy storage.

Marjan van Aubel is a London-based designer whose practice spans the fields of science and chemistry, blending the precision of the scientific research process with material expertise to develop new material technology. Van Aubel’s objects make tangible the potential of technology and energy-harvesting for the benefit of the living environment. Intuitive and inquisitive, she has a firm commitment to interdisciplinary practice as the future for design. 

In November 2016 Caventou was awarded a Wired - Audi Innovation Award and was the winner of a Wallpaper Design Award 2016.