Carlo Ratti Associati develops digitally controlled shading canopy for Dubai Museum of the Future


Dubai’s Museum of the Future has collaborated with Italian design and innovation firm Carlo Ratti Associati to develop Sun and Shade, a digitally-controlled canopy that promotes natural cooling four outdoor spaces using solar power energy.

© Carlo Ratti Associati

The first prototype was first unveiled during the World Government Summit as part of the ‘Reimagining Climate Change’ exhibit at the Museum of the Future.


© Carlo Ratti Associati

The project consists of circular mirrors that tilt to different degrees based on the sun’s location and user’s input. Mimicking a sunflower, the mirrors track the sun and move on a double axis while reflecting the sun’s rays away from the ground. This allows for ideal shading and natural cooling levels.

© Carlo Ratti Associati


The reflected waves are focused on a photovoltaic receiver that generates electric power.

© Carlo Ratti Associati


“In developing Sun & Shade we were inspired by the Middle Eastern tradition of shadowing in architecture and public space”, said architect Carlo Ratti.

© Carlo Ratti Associati

“Sun & Shade aims to bring this concept to the next  level, allowing shadowing to be digitally controlled, while reflected sun is concentrated far away, producing heat at a safe distance from people, the space underneath the canopy cools down.”

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