Amplifier for Art, Science and Society

Watt is Art


Pavilion A
EPFL Pavilions
Place Cosandey, EPFL
1015 Lausanne


Solar panels and Art in the same sentence?
Art blended into our day-to-day objects like solar panels, a collaboration between artists and scientists, Watt is Art is a glimpse into what is possible in the realm of future architecture and building design.

As our world slowly finds its way towards sustainability, we are excited to showcase the groundbreaking work of Compáz and Be-Smart, an EU research project that aims to step up the deployment of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and cut their costs by 75% by 2030. The project was launched in October 2018 in response to EU regulations that require new buildings to be nearly energy neutral.

They've imagined "boldly-artistic multifunctional solar panels" that are meant to bust through preconceptions associated with what solar panels can do and what they could do.

Watt is Art opens on March 26th with a virtual tour of the exhibition. Online and on-site guests will be welcomed by Prof. Sarah Kenderdine, Head of the Laboratory for Experimental Museology and Director of EPFL Pavilions: Amplifier for Art, Science and Society, and Maider Machado, the Be-Smart project officer from the European Union.

In addition to the opening session, three guided and curated visits will take place online, followed by a live discussion session with Prof. Christophe Ballif, Director of the Photovoltaics and Thin Film Electronics Lab at EPFL, who will address the technological aspects of photovoltaic technology, Ángela Clúa Longás, an architect who specializes in the integration of EPoGs in buildings and urban areas, and Sophie Swaton, a philosopher and economist with the University of Lausanne.

The final presentation will be made by a collective of artists and scientists from Compáz, with a focus on major societal issues.

“While it’s true that these panels have evolved from photovoltaic technology, we have embraced the term ‘energy positive glazing’ or EPoG. They are construction materials like glass, so they need to be robust but will appear on the outside of [the] building so they have to be considered for their aesthetic qualities. Of course, they are also environmentally beneficial and they generate value. At the Watt is Art exhibition, we’ll have a chance to demonstrate some potential that will surprise anyone who only thinks of a solar panel as a uniform black square.”

  • Laure-Emmanuelle Perret, coordinator of the project at EPFL’s Photovoltaics and Thin Film Electronics Laboratory (PV-Lab)

Proposed arrangement for the event, inside of Pavilion A. Image credit: Compáz, Be-Smart, CSEM, Solaxess

For the virtual visit, please follow this link: Virtual Tour

On-site visits:
Due to the sanitary restrictions, the on-site visits are limited to 5 visitors per hour. Please use the link below to book your visit ahead of time, in order to ensure the availability of your preferred date and time.

Text: Monica Antohi - EPFL Pavilions, Compáz
Images: Compáz, Be-Smart, CSEM, Solaxess
Editing: Monica Antohi, EPFL Pavilions