Walking under a canopy of California poppies gently spinning in the breeze, or dining at tables floating on flower stalks. Above, solar panels nesting within thebronze petals are harvesting the sun's energy for the evening, when dozens of tiny lights in the flower's collar will illuminate each blossom and tabletop.

In Palo Alto

Visitors to the California Avenue restaurant district are greeted with a sculptural bouquet. "Sun Flowers" is located on the street in front of 440 California Ave., between El Camino Real and the train station. All along California Avenue, public art is at work in the transformation and renewal of the old downtown.

How it works

Inspired by nature and powered by wind and sun, this sculptural seating area combines art function, and energy efficiency. During the day, the sun charges solar panels hidden within the blossoms, while the wind rotates their petals. At night, these sculptures are lit by energy-saving diode lights, powered by a long-lived gel battery, for dining al fresco. These solar panels and lights will create an energy independent environment for decades to come.

The creators

Jeffrey Reed and Jennifer Madden design and build contemplative sculptural environments. They specialize in creating poetic places for people through the synthesis of function and sculpture. Their piece, "Sun Flowers", is a gathering place for community, refreshment, contemplation and discovery. Reed Madden Designs is a husband and wife team that explores unique sites and solutions using a wide material palette. Jeffrey Reed holds an architecture degree from Cal Poly S.L.O, and is a licensed contractor. Jennifer Madden holds an M.L.A. degree from U.C. Berkeley and teaches landscape architecture at U.C. Davis. Their studio is in Oakland, California.

Call them at 510-525-5350.

The supporters

Commissioned by the Palo Alto Public Art Commission
with support from the City of Palo Alto Utilities, Country Sun Natural Foods, and CAADA.

Sun Flowers

by Jeffrey Reed and Jennifer Madden