Transforming Street Lights into Pop-Up Umbrellas

Project: Lampbrella
City: Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Created By: Mikhail Belyaev

Post Update: The Lampbrella is featured in the Reprogramming the City Book, on sale now!

Lamp posts have begun to accessorize. Small antennas, air testers, and various sensing components have been appearing on the structures to provide the city with data measuring traffic flow, air quality, light levels, and other metrics the city needs.

What is missing from this new range of lamp post accessories are ones that respond to the needs of individuals in the city. Mikhail Belyaev’s concept for the Lampbrella seeks to correct this imbalance. The Lampbrella is an attachment for urban lamp posts that unfolds into an umbrella to shelter pedestrians who have been caught in a quick downpour.

“The Lampbrella was designed so it can be installed anywhere in the city where people walk but there are no canopies or large trees where you can hide from the rain,” Belyaev describes.

The Lampbrella can be activated manually by a button, or set to automatic mode to unfold when it rains. Sensors detect when the pedestrians have moved on or the rain has stopped. The umbrella then folds back against the lamp post, waiting for its next moment of service.

The moment of inspiration, says Belyaev, was when he realized the limitations of current lamp posts, and thought they could do more.

“I was driving on a central Saint Petersburg street,” he says, “and saw the street lamps illuminating people trying to hide from the rain. Instead of highlighting those getting soaked, I thought the lamp post could provide shelter.”

The Lampbrella’s broad umbrella can shelter several people from the rain or provide a cozy moment of cover for a couple wanting their own space in the atmosphere of a rainy city. 

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