Solar: where weather melts with design

Since the dawn of the smartphone, one of the most basic informative features that everyone loves having at the tip of their fingers is weather. Regardless if you’re planning your day, making small talk, or just really into meteorology, accessing weather info almost instantly is key.

Solar is described as a hyper-sensorial, interactive display of the day’s weather, rendered in dazzling colorscapes. It has no vector polygons, no dew point calibration, and it doesn’t remind you if you need to wear a jacket. It is, very simply, an exquisitely minimalistic designed weather forecast app – a modern accessory for the aesthetically inspired adventurer…

It’s a beyond beautiful app that will make you neglect all other apps on your phone. I’ve found myself knowing the weather but still opening the app just to treat my eyes to something nice. They’ve earned it.

So if you want to take weather to a whole new level, download Solar immediately. You won’t regret it.

I had the pleasure of getting an interview with Justin Dionisio the founder/CEO of Hollr, the company behind Solar.

So who exactly is Hollr?

Hollr is the partnership between KURO (an interactive agency) and Imprint Venture Lab. We came together to realize the potential between design and digital innovation. A small team of specialized problem solvers.

What inspired the creation of Solar?

Solar is an idea that stemmed from the inadequacy of current weather offerings. A numbered temperature reading means nothing to residents of southern California. It is always 70 degrees… We wanted to visually, instantly size up the day. And in so doing, we’ve made every other weather product obsolete.

Did Hollr create all the graphics or do you guys contract with a designer to make the look-and-feel of your app?

Yes – everything we produce is in house.

How long did Solar take to create from the drawing board to submission to Apple?

All in about 5 weeks. The functionality of the app was completed very quickly… over a weekend basically. However, the fine details – design, colors, touch sensitivity, and other precision tweaks took a few weeks. We wanted to make sure it felt like nothing else in the category. We are all really happy with the end result.

Are there any special features coming that are not already in Solar?

Yes definitely. We are building share features into the app. It sounds silly but the results have been really beautiful. You can sample these features now via our website where you can generate a weather image and post to your Pinterest boards.

Also, we have been exploring Solar as a canvas for custom features to make the app your own. Collaborations with artists and designers to develop custom skins and themes are also in the works.

How do you compile all the weather data to get the temperature that is displayed?

To keep things simple Version 1.0 uses the “Feels Like” temperature data from® API. This compiles data like wind chill, humidity, etc. and produces a single temperature output. Our next update will include the option for actual weather which will be transmitting from the nearest available tower in your GPS range. It will be far more accurate than any stock weather application in the marketplace.

What other apps does Hollr already have under its belt?

Hollr currently has an app out called GO HD, a GPS based broadcasting tool. You can see what’s happening anywhere in the world – photo and video. It is a lot of fun.

How has the reception of Solar been since Apple passed it through to the App Store?

Initially we thought the design community would be the only one to embrace what we were trying to do. Judging by the response though, good design is universal and a lot of people were blown away. It provided exactly what they were looking for, it seems.

Now that Solar is up and running, are there any projects in the pipeline we should look forward to?

We definitely have a few more tricks up our sleeve.

Anything else you would like to share either about Solar or just in general towards your app users?

We could not be more grateful for all of the kind words being said about this project. Stay tuned – we’ve only just begun.

Solar is available in the App Store for $0.99.

I don’t know about you guys but I can’t wait to see what Justin and the Hollr crew have in store for us next.

Have you tried Solar yet? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Here are 3 promo codes for the first 3 of you to get it.