The e-Tree serves a dual purpose. It’s a public phone charging and Wi-Fi station and an artwork designed to promote solar power and raise ecological consciousness.
But does it look anything like a tree? That’s debatable.
Recently unveiled in Israel, the sculpture stands about 15 feet high and has seven solar panels. With metal branches ranging away from the center, it’s meant to resemble an acacia tree–a species that grows in very dry places, including Israel’s Negev desert.
Aside from delivering electricity, the tree also collects water. The “leaves” are set so nighttime condensation drips down to a drinking container for animals (there’s also a tap to top things up).
“It’s an active sculpture that gives a lot of services. We could have just taken two racks and put up the panels. But the idea was to meld the creative side,” says creator Michael Nasry. “I can tell you that everyone who comes to the tree has a big smile.”
Whether they’re smiling because they recognize a likeness or because the sculpture is a little silly is impossible to know. In any case, Nasry’s company, Scologic, has installed two already in Israel, with another set to go up in Nice, France.