In New York, over 400 smartphone charging stations have already been installed across the city. Providing free Internet and power, they’re sleek and useful additions to the city’s growing collection of public street furniture. NYC will soon be adding a network of unique charging kiosks to this collection. Designed by Ignacio Ciocchini, these Simply Grid kiosks are designed to help fight pollution and save lives, creating a better functioning city for everyone.
A recent winner of the Excellence in Design Award from the NYC Public Design Commission, Simply Grid acts as a replacement source of power for emergency vehicles. In an effort to speed up response to emergency calls, ambulances are positioned across the city, the engines of which are left running to power onboard refrigeration and communication systems. Noise and air pollution are the byproducts, and it’s estimated that one ambulance produces 45 tons of air pollution annually.
Directly connected to the municipal power grid, Ciocchini’s kiosks connect to emergency vehicles using an automated retractable plug. The driver simply parks, connects the plug, and easily receives a charge. In the event that the ambulance needs to quickly depart, the plug automatically retracts upon driving, ensuring an unhindered response time.
The Simply Grid kiosks have a similar stainless steel appearance to the city’s benches and smartphone stations. Fitted with intuitive doors that glow blue when the kiosks are working, and orange if they’re malfunctioning - so drivers know when to and when not to plug in - a white light on the top also helps drivers to locate them in bad weather. A screen on the edge allows those who walk by to gauge just how much air pollution the kiosk helped to prevent.
"I’ve been doing street furniture for 18 years, and it’s exciting that technologies are starting to seep into these things and they're becoming smart, which benefits people in the city," Ciocchini told FastCo. "[The pedestals] are part of a solution to having a better city for everyone. There’s really not a single product that can change your quality of life by itself. That’s why a holistic view is important for all street furniture. When you apply [design] to a trash can, bench, newsstand, and light pole that’s when it really makes a difference that is a lot more noticeable."
The energy start-up behind the kiosks, MOVE Systems has a contract to provide 30 pedestals that will be installed in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn in 2017. Their intent is to eventually spread citywide.