Making popcorn at the Solar Decathlon, Washington D.C.
The guts of SEED[pop!]
Seed[pop!] and the Washington Monument, Washington D.C.
Refilling the popper.
Offering a high level of enjoyment.
Introducing the concept to Solar Decathlon visitors.
Sun focused on the popping component.
The funnel aesthetics.
  • In →
  • Interactive,
  • Outdoor,
  • Steel

Seed [pop!] is an interactive sculpture that explores solar energy by using sunlight to make popcorn atop a 10-foot tower. The sculpture was part of the University of Arizona’s Prototype house entry for the 2010 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, which explored the theme of homeostasis.

The Prototype house and Seed [pop!] were exhibited for the public at the National Mall in downtown Washington DC. Seed [pop!] explored the potential of using only solar power to create a treat that everyone visiting the Prototype house could enjoy and simultaneously demonstrated the power of solar energy. The popper is heated using three vacuum-controlled, four-foot diameter circular reflectors fabricated from aluminized Mylar. As the popper fills, the popcorn spills over the edge and into a metallic funnel connected to a plastic tube that brings the popcorn down to the catch basin where it can be scoped into bags for visitors.

Seed [pop!] created a multi-sensory experience for visitors as the smell of cooking popcorn filled the air, steam could be seen rising out of the popper, and finally, people could taste the delicious popcorn thereby connecting all these elements as direct effects of solar power.

Completed 2009

10' x 10' x 12'

aluminized mylar, steel, vacuum pumps, popcorn, photovoltaic panel, solar powered motor

Washington, DC

Commissioning Agency:
Tucson Pima Arts Council, AZ RISE

Joe O'Connell and Blessing Hancock