Italian industrial designer Michele Puzzolante has come up with a conceptual floating luxury hotel suite he claims could be entirely self-powering thanks to the dye-sensitized solar cells which would be integrated into the vessel's walls. Puzzolante suggests his "Solar Floating Resort" could be navigated along exotic coast lines, while its six resident passengers observe marine wildlife thanks to its underwater "observation bulb."

Though no numbers are offered to support claims of the Solar Floating Resort's energy autonomy, Puzzolante's concept hinges on the dye-sensitized solar cells built into the building fabric. The SFR's would be comprised of two 15-mm (0.6-in) layers of fiberglass reinforced balsa wood with a 30-cm (11.8-in) vacuum between. Interestingly, Puzzolante proposes that solar cells should be built into both the inner and outer layers, so that both artificial light from the interior and sunlight could be harvested.

The 20-m (66-ft) long SFR is designed to sleep six in its two double and two single bedrooms, all of which would have a private bathroom. The 110 sq m (1184 sq ft) interior would also include a kitchen, dining room, lounge area and bridge. The outer teak deck would be fitted with the obligatory hot tub. Puzzolante claims the SFR's most distinctive feature is the observation bulb built into the hull, roomy enough for six armchairs and affording 360-degree views of ... well, whatever you've parked it over, I suppose.

As for the propulsion system, which is the equipment perhaps most central to the claims of self-sufficiency, details are few. The only clue here is that the SFR is designed for coastal meandering rather than ocean-going. One thing's for certain, though. Were this to be realized, some form of back-up power generation would be essential.

On the continuum of technological reality, the conceptual is just one door in from the imaginary at the hazy end of the line, and it can be tricky to distinguish between the two. Certainly, listing specs on nonexistent technology can feel like a faintly silly exercise to the humble documenter of technology. Yet Puzzolante has clearly invested time into the SFR concept: the renderings of the vessel show a near-fully realized interior layout, of the living quarters at least.

Yes, the SFR concept has "feasibility study" written all over it, but then the +Pool sounded fairly wacky and that didn't stop Arup giving it a clean bill of health. And, as conceptual floating resorts go, the SFR is comparatively conservative. Stranger things and all that.

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