Still in early stages of development... The shape will most likely go through some changes to get the most out of the concept.
They will be weatherproofed and if possible, powered by solar energy collected during the day.
For info about EV (Electroluminescent) sheets, have a look at http://shop.surelight.com/ELlightingpanels.htm
Alternatively, the same effect can be achieved (possibly at a reduced cost) by using an array of LEDs with a Plexiglas cover as in http://www.dailytonic.com/area-by-habits-studio-for-luceplan-it/
The added benefit of LEDs is that they are already being used in Germany as street lights since they don't attract mosquitos http://www.ehow.com/facts5825778led-lights-mosquitoes.html
The unit can be positioned in 2 ways depending on weather conditions
- Sun - As the day moves into evening, the sun gets lower in the sky and therefore closer to the eye-level of the diners. In this position, the diners would be able to adjust the position of the shade to prevent the sun getting in their eyes.
- Wind - It's also possible to deflect wind and prevent food and drink getting knocked over
Sun - When the sun is high in the sky, it is usually at its hottest and brightest. In the canopy position, the shade would absorb the intensity of the heat and light.
Rain - When it rains, the unit would direct the rain down to a predictable point in a similar way to a leaf when it removes water from its surface.
Upcoming Developments (As of 10/5/12):
- Curving the stand section - to move the centre of gravity over the base for stability, while keeping the weight of the base to a minimum
- Magnets to keep the sheets watertight when its being used as a canopy
- LED lights clustered towards the bottom of each sheet to give an uplighting effect. Proven to give a more glare-free and comfortable background light
- The unit will be white and use LEDs to minimise the attraction to mosquitos
- The base will be hollow and have an integrated handle that doubles up as the connection with the stand
- The base will have a cut out pattern to leave a light pattern on the floor.
- This will also allow the base to be nailed into the ground using U-Nails in strong winds