Playful Electrical Pylon Designs

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The expansion of the power grid is an important part of a country’s development, but the electrical pylons or transmission towers - the huge steel structures that keep high voltage power lines aloft - are viewed by many as unsightly. As such, designers are looking at new ways to better integrate power poles in the urban and natural landscapes (see how some cell phone companies are disguising cell phone towers as trees). In 2011, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the National Grid of UK held a "Pylon Design Competition" to find a design that has the potential to deliver power for future generation while preserving the beauty of the countryside. Similar completions are also held in other countries. While it might take a few years, decades even, to see any of these futuristic designs converted to reality, a few power companies are already trying out new designs that are clever without being too unpractical.

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Driving along the M5 motorway in Újhartyán, Hungary, one will encounter a couple of electrical pylons shaped like a clown or a jester. These unconventional towers were installed by MAVIR, the Hungarian electricity transmission system operator. The pylons follow a worldwide trend in trying to make large industrial objects more attractive. Photo credit

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Photo credit: MAVIR

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This Mickey Mouse shaped transmission tower can be seen on I-4 near the town of Celebration, in Florida, the United States. The town is close to the Walt Disney World Resort and this steel Mickey, which is illuminated at night, is a big landmark. Photo credit

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Photo credit

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Back in 2010, some art students from Klasse Löbbert in Germany transformed a typical electrical tower into a translucent, stained glass installation by attaching cut pieces of Acrylglas to mimic the function of traditional stained glasses. Photo credit

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