This is how the Orange Solar Tent was born, a piece of camping gear that aimed to combine comfort with functionality and advanced features with versatility into a single package – quite revolutionary at the time, if only on the consideration that production wasn't attainable. Functionality would go beyond usage at the festival, of course, but since the concept was designed for this specific purpose, presentations limited it to Glastonbury only.
The Orange Solar Tent also earned serious points for a cool, futuristic design, mainly thanks to the three directional glides made of photovoltaic cells that formed the outer structure. The design was inspired by previous concepts, also from Orange, specifically the 2003 original Orange Solar Tent and the 2004 Orange Text Me Home Dome. It was designed in collaboration with design firm Kaleidoscope and, as far as we know, never existed beyond the virtual paper on which it was drawn.
Solar energy would be stored inside battery banks and converted for use within the tent to charge phones and other devices that would allow festival-goers to keep in touch with those at home and, perhaps just as importantly, with each other. A wireless control hub would serve as the "heart” of the basecamp: it would be a flexible display that would offer an immediate and clear look at all stats, including available charge and consumption, provide wireless Internet signal, and access to extra options, like underfloor heating.
Indeed, the concept Orange Tent came with a heated floor, which would have made it a most welcome addition to any type of outdoorsy experience in the British weather. Orange and Kaleidoscope imagined the tent with a groundsheet with an embedded heating element connected to the same wireless control hub. Once temperatures inside the tent dropped below a certain degree, preset by the residents, it would immediately kick in to keep the space toasty and nice.
The tent also had something Orange called "glo-location," which allowed owners to identify their tent by a specific-color glow they had preset. Using SMS messaging or automatic active RFID technology, owners could pair their phone to their tent and trigger the glow on demand – like, when having trouble identifying the exact area where they'd set it up. Think of it as the Summon function on today's Teslas but with light and without the tent moving (duh). At night, the glow feature would serve a purely aesthetic purpose, adding to the mood of the festival. So much for lighting up your phone screen for that!
Naturally, this being a tent, it also offered sleeping for as many as four adults – "comfortably," Orange said. Take that to mean that the space inside would have been generous because, ultimately, comfort would have depended on additional camping gear everyone brought along. The walls had screens to allow a cross-breeze and natural light, while the rigid frame also doubled as blackouts for shade.