This week, I’d like to shine my small spotlight on one of the coolest projects I’ve seen in a while – the Smog Free Tower. It is exactly the kind of idea that I love: it’s innovative, doing good for the world, and producing something cool that people buy, therefore being at least partially self-sustaining. Perhaps most importantly, it is beautiful in its simplicity, and has incredible potential for scalability.
The Smog Free Tower is the brainchild of Daan Roosegaarde, and is, in simple terms, the largest air-purifier ever built. At 23 feet tall, it scrubs the pollution from more than 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour—and then condenses the fine particles of smog into tiny “gem stones” that can be embedded in rings, cufflinks, necklaces, artwork and more. As Roosegaarde himself put it, buying a ring means “you donate a thousand cubic meters of clean air to the city where the Smog Free Tower is.”
Roosegaard’s Shanghai-based design firm originally designed the towers for the city of Beijing in partnership with the mayor, to be installed in the city’s public parks. The towers create pillars of smog-free air, from the ground up. “You can purify the air so you can breathe again,” Roosegaarde told Dezeen in an exclusive interview during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. “It creates these holes of 50-60 metres of clean air so you can see the sun again.”
The towers use buried coils of copper to create an electrostatic field that attracts smog particles, drawing them down towards the ground to be compressed into cubic “gems.” Sucking the pollution out of the air around the tower thus creates a void of clean air above it, allowing anyone below to see what the sky would look like without the interfering smog.
You can learn more about the project on their Kickstarter page, where they have more photos and videos to explain their idea.
The fundraising period is unfortunately over, but I can only hope that this means that they’re preparing for mass production and deployment!
All photos taken from Studio Roosegarde’s website.