‘The Circadian Clouds’ concept by EMKAAN founder Muhammad Obaid is designed to provide a solution for use in outdoor public spaces

Published: 15 October 2020 - 12:11 p.m.
By: Jane O'Neill
An artificial cloud is the design solution that's bringing sunshine to our day.

Inspired by the movement of the sunflower and birds’ flocks, this is a shading system compromised of multiple small floating cells that work together in synchronisation and move with the sun to keep the targeted area in the shade at all times.

Using sunlight sensors and the same technology that is used in multiple drones, each cell follows the sun in synchronization with other cells, performing as an artificial Circadian Cloud and adjusting its form pragmatically to block direct sunlight during the day.

It's the work of Muhammed Obaid, the founder of architecture and engineering consultancy EMKAAN and it's just been named as winner of the ‘Cool Abu Dhabi’ award for climate-sensitive design.

‘The Circadian Clouds’ is designed to provide the minimum amount of sky blockage for people to continue enjoying the shade, while still feeling like they are outdoors.

Obaid’s design was chosen out of 1570 entries that were received from more than 76 participating countries for global design competition, ‘Cool Abu Dhabi.'

Obaid, the founder of architecture and engineering consultancy EMKAAN, answered the call by the UAE capital's The Department of Municipalities and Transport to provide a solution for use in outdoor public spaces, to maintain thermal comfort for outdoor users through the continuous shade.

Helium light containers would lift the solar-powered clouds, which dip at night to become a floating chandelier.

The award was presented to those who conceptualized an original and innovative solution for reducing the heat island effect in the UAE capital. As part of the brief, climate-sensitive and people-centric approaches were to form the core focus of the design, while its aesthetics needed to drive people’s desire to interact and occupy the public space.

Obaid says: “I am honoured to receive this award for our 'nature-inspired' design, which we believe will improve the climate resilience in Abu Dhabi."

He adds" “The system adjusts accordingly, making it suitable for any site. The main advantage of this shading system is that it constantly keeps the targeted area in shade all day, without closing the open space or having a roof. It can be effective for shading beach walking paths and running tracks, and would also serve as a landmark for the city. It also engages the community by providing different activities in public spaces.”

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