DUMBO — While AT&T is sponsoring New York City's new Street Charge stations, the design was originally conceived by a small DUMBO-based company.
Designers at Pensa have been working behind the scenes to develop the concept since early 2012.
"Street Charge was a self-initiated project," design director Mark Prommel said. "We were interested in helping our community make better use of public spaces."
Pensa employees were struck by the city's interest in activating public spaces and began to notice more people spending time in these spaces, sometimes working there throughout the day. Street Charge was born of an idea to help people stay charged and connected.
But it wasn't until Hurricane Sandy hit that AT&T began to take a real interest in the project.
AT&T deployed trailers and large charging stations for people without power in the aftermath of the hurricane and later became interested in creating power stations for everyday use.
Pensa, already on the project, partnered with At&T who could provide the small design firm with more access to public spaces and Goal Zero Power, who provided the technology behind Street Charge.
Now in its pilot run, Street Charge stations can be found in Fort Greene Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Governors Island, Paley Park, Riverside Park and Rumsey Playfield.
And interest is pouring in from other cities also inspired to implement Street Charge in their public spaces.
"The response has been tremendous," said Prommel.
Street Charge is powered by the sun and has an internal battery that will hold power for 2-3 days wihtout sun. Stations are weatherproof and lightweight.
There are six ports, three built-in tips for iphones and three standard USB ports for people using their own charging cables.
And the design is clean and elegant, according to Prommel.
"It speaks to the beauty of drawing power from the sun," he said.