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A Quirky BBQ Unleashes the Sun’s Power

Designers Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai hail from opposite ends of the globe—she from Italy and he from Singapore—but their collaborations call upon their diverse perspectives to dream up fantastical products, like edible coffee tables and a 15-foot-long spaghetti strand for couples. Now, the award-winning duo has revisited the comestible theme for a conceptual piece: the Sunplace solar cooking table.


Originally created for the 2015 Milan Expo—a global exhibition about the future of food—the grill explores communal cooking and eating, the role of the hearth in modern living, and clean energy. For the focal point of the grill, Lanzavecchia + Wai affixed a large fresnel lens on top of a table and focused it over a cast-iron grill, which allows food to be cooked using solar power.

“The station requires the full involvement of all its users, well-equipped and protected by gloves and special glasses,” the studio states, noting how it promotes conviviality. “Historically the hearth was the center of the tribe and family; Sunplace wants to recover the ritual of the banquet as a shared moment.”

No word on whether or not it actually generates enough heat to cook your burgers to a perfect medium-rare, but aren’t those aprons delightfully bizarre?

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