Philippe Starck’s Hydrogen Refueling Stations Reveal Boxes of Nothingness
Whether electric, hydrogen, natural gas, or biofuel, alternative fuel vehicles are generally received with a degree of curiosity and excitement. Infrastructure in support of those emerging alternative fuel modes of mobility? Considerably less so. Philippe Starck’s HRS BY STARCK sets out to change that reality with a progressively contemporary approach to the hydrogen distribution terminal that may in turn inspire a more futuristic take on fueling up.
Unveiled at the opening of COP28, the global community climate event hosted in Dubai, the French designer encased his vision of hydrogen refueling inside a polished stainless steel box with a color gradient mirror-like window emphasizing the nothingness of its contents. By utilizing dichroics, the optical effect where a material is used to split light into distinct beam of colors by their wavelength (if you’re into beadwork, you might already be acquainted with the effect), the fueling station seems almost illuminated with color despite hydrogen’s invisibility.
“Hydrogen is clean; it is nothingness, an ether,” remarks Starck. “It is obvious that the HRS BY STARCK hydrogen refueling stations had to be dematerialized. No style or design, for an object that has already disappeared like everything intelligent that exists.”
The French company HRS, or Hydrogen Refueling Solutions, focuses its business on hydrogen refueling station solutions for captive fleets, trucks, buses, and passenger vehicles, alongside mobility, industrial, storage, and energy markets, so its very unlikely you’ll see one of these shiny boxes of nothingness on a street corner. But those within the European industry of transport may see the first HRS BY STARCK hydrogen dispensers installed some time in 2024.