Windvogel shows potential of "drawing energy from the sky" says Dezeen Awards jury chair

The Dezeen Awards jury named Windvogel by Studio Roosegaarde as Design Project of the Year for the way the light-emitting kites draw attention to a new renewable energy source, says jury chair Paul Priestman in this movie.

Windvogel by Studio Roosegaarde is a lighting installation comprised of a pair of energy-generating kites tethered to a dynamo by glowing cables.

The project won the award for Lighting Design of the Year at the Dezeen Awards ceremony in London last week, as well as receiving one of the top honours of the night by being crowned Design Project of the Year 2018.

Windvogel energy-generating kites by Studio Roosegaarde
Windvogel by Studio Roosegaarde was named Design of the Year 2018 at Dezeen Awards

British designer Paul Priestman, who was the chair of the Dezeen Awards design master jury, says the project won because of the simple way it showcases how kites could be used to generate renewable energy.

"The jury really liked the idea that Windvogel demonstrates the possibility of how we can draw energy from the skies," he explains in the movie, which Dezeen filmed at the judging day in London earlier this year.

"This is an installation, but it's showing what is possible."

Windvogel energy-generating kites by Studio Roosegaarde
Windvogel by Studio Roosegaarde generates electricity by flying a pair of kites in the air

Studio Roosegaarde, which is led by dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde, first presented the Windvogel installation in 2017 as part of an exhibition called Icoon Afsluitdijk, which was commissioned by the Dutch government.

The kites are attached by cables to a generator on the ground, which converts the kites' movement as they are pushed and pulled by the wind into electricity.

Studio Roosegaarde developed the technology by building on the work of late Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels, who had begun the design for an electricity-generating kite before his death in 2014.

Windvogel energy-generating kites by Studio Roosegaarde
Kites are attached to a dynamo on the ground with luminous green cables

According to Studio Roosegaarde, the kites can generate up to 100 kilowatts of energy, which is enough to supply up to 200 households.

But Priestman says the key to the success of project lies in the way the cables glow bright green, which gives the visual impression of electricity travelling from the sky down to the ground.

"The cables that attach the kites to the ground are illuminated, so at night you get that visual reference of power coming from the sky and pulling it down into the earth where we can use it," he says.

"The people that see the installation make that visual reference that the energy is up there, and we can utilise it and draw it down to the planet."

Windvogel beat notable projects such as Petit Pli's expandable baby clothes and the Kumo Modular Sofa by Anderssen and Voll for Hem to win Design of the Year 2018.

It resonated with the design master jury due to its concern with sustainability, an increasing trend revealed by this year's design shortlist.

Windvogel energy-generating kites by Studio Roosegaarde
Many of Studio Roosegaarde's project are conerned with improving the environment

Studio Roosegaarde's work has received worldwide recognition for its concern with improving the environment, such as the Smog Free Tower project, which pulls in polluted air and pushes out clean air.

The studio has also recently launched an initiative to solve the issue of waste and debris in outer space with a UFO-like light installation, which tracks pieces of space waste in real time.

A total of 33 winners were announced at the Dezeen Awards ceremony in London on 27 November 2018, hosted by British comedian Sir Lenny Henry. Each winner was given a unique, hand-made trophy designed by Atelier NL.

See all winners at