As early as high school, Daan Roosegaarde (Nieuwkoop, 1979) knew he wanted to become an artist and an inventor. However, it wasn’t until after his studies at the AKI Academy for Art and Design in Enschede and the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam that he able to unite these desires. Since 2006, he has been collaborating with designers and engineers under the name Studio Roosegaarde, combining technology and innovation to produce socially motivated, interactive works of unexpected beauty. Roosegaarde likes to call his art form “techno-poetry.”
Smog Free Tower is a seven-meter-high structure that draws in smoggy Rotterdam air and filters it. Hereby Roosegaarde shows us that beauty can also mean clean air for everyone. The tower’s purification method is to ionize the air so that the tiny pollution particles acquire a positive charge and subsequently adhere to negatively charged grids. The Smog Free Tower is capable of filtering 30,000 cubic meters (just over a million cubic feet) of air using no more energy than an electric kettle. Roosegaarde processes the particulate matter trapped in the filters to create tangible “souvenirs.” His Smog Free Jewelry includes rings and cuff links, each piece made from the compressed dust retrieved from a thousand cubic meters of city air.
Obviously, the air filtering capacity of a single tower limits the size of the area that can be treated. Nevertheless, such an installation can allow the public to enjoy a local zone of clean air (e.g. in a city park). The tower is but one element of Studio Roosegaarde’s larger Smog Free Project; it will soon travel through China with Beijing as the first stop. The artist’s campaign contributes to a broad discussion of ways to tackle noxious air and should inspire others to develop further solutions to this problem.
Studio Roosegaarde is one of the 26 designers and studios that are selected for the group show Dream Out Loud – Designing for Tomorrow’s Demands. The exhibition can be visited from 26 August 2016 in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Read more about the exhibition or order tickets.
Smog Free Tower
The Smog Free Tower uses patented ion technology to produce smog-free bubbles of public space, allowing people to breathe and experience clean air for free. Creating a tangible souvenir, Roosegaarde designed Smog Free Rings, Smog Free Cubes and Smog Free Cufflinks of compressed smog particles.