A Dutch designer wants to turn smog into ultramodern jewelry


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Studio Roosegaarde

Air pollution kills 80 people every day in the Indian city of New Delhi. In London, nearly 9,500 people die in a year due to the air they breathe. In fact, dirty air is responsible for one in eight premature deaths worldwide.

While air purifiers are able to clean the air in your living room and office, there is little escape from deadly pollutants once you step out into the open.

Now, Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde is closing in on a $54,000 funding goal for a Kickstarter campaign to bring air purification outside by way of a massive, outdoor air purifier.

The first so-called Smog-Free Tower - a 23 by 11.5 foot structure that will reportedly run on wind energy - will be built in Rotterdam and then carried to other cities. Mumbai, Paris, Beijing, and Los Angeles are possible destinations.

Roosegaarde and his team will also use the smog from the purifier to make tiny cubes that could be mounted in rings and cuff links.


This is all part of a larger campaign - called the smog-free movement - in which Roosegaarde is urging individuals, non-profits, and governments around the world to make cities smog-free. Of course, one tower, no matter how awesome, will have a tough time ridding a city of smog. The point of the Smog-Free Tower, according to the design studio, is to provide a "sensory experience of a clean future." 

The technology - called air ionization - has been used in places like hospitals to clean air for more than 50 years. The process is surprisingly elegant: a purifier sends positively charged air molecules out into the air, which stick themselves to ultra-fine smog particles that are pulled back in. The purifier then blows out smog-free, clean air.  

Smog Blocks Roosegaarde

Image courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde

The smog dust filled with carbon would then be compressed into an 8.4 mm by 8.4 mm cube. You can order rings, cuff-links, or simply a cube as part of backing the Kickstarter.


Roosegaarde says that the process of making each of those accessories will clean 1,000 cubic meters of polluted air. He estimates that in severely polluted areas, the purifier will be able to produce 3,500 smog cubes a day.  

There's even a smog-free party planned in Rotterdam on September 4. Book your tickets now.

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