At the Moscow Urban Forum 2016, Archello attended great lectures and panels. We met many professionals from Asia, North America and Europe. One of them was Daan Roosegaarde, designer, artist and innovator. We spoke with him about smart solutions for polluted cities, the role of design in the city and creative ideas for improving city life. You can find the interview with Daan Roosegaarde in our blog.
KK: You just came back from Beijing, one of the world’s megacities, where you agreed with the government on launching the Smog Free Project. Can you tell us more about it?
DR: Smog Free Tower is a smog vacuum cleaner, which uses patented ion technology to produce smog-free bubbles of public space – for example in parks – that allow people to breathe and experience clean air for free. From collected smog we produce Smog Free Rings, Smog Free Cubes and Smog Free Cufflinks. By buying Smog Free Jewellery, you donate 1000m3 of clean air to the city. In Beijing, together with the government, we will create several parks where kids can play again.
KK: That sounds like an idea of making the world a better place, would you agree?
DR: That sounds naive but that’s my goal. That’s also part of being a Dutch – you always have a practical, but also poetic agenda.
KK: Can design make the world a better place?
DR: Absolutely. For me design is not about making another chair or lamp, it is about improving people’s life, so I think it is possible. The essence of design is not only about aesthetics or functionality, but there is always that idea behind the project.
KK: Your projects are always very complex. How do you manage to lead them?
DR: In a way, the process of design became much more complex and almost as important as project itself. That’s why you always need to work with the best. Ideas come from me but I have a studio of more than 60 people in Rotterdam working with me. It’s always fun to challenge those people with new ideas. Big projects are also about cooperation.
KK: What do you think about the role of technology in the city and smart cities?
DR: The whole discussion about smart cities is fascinating, although really dominated by corporations. But what about people? It really lacks human beings in this discussion. I like technology only when it is one layer of our life but doesn’t dominate it.
KK: Does technology have to be invisible?
DR: Exactly. The future city will look like this city, but it will have a sort of layer which is interactive and almost invisible. The thing is that the world is not saved by technology, but by imagination. Studies shows that the only thing that robots cannot learn is intelligence. We still don’t have artifical intelligence, so we should use technology as a tool to make people’s life easier.
KK: Do you have a lot new projects coming?
DR: You will defenietly see more projects around the cities. We get hundreds of calls from many cities around the world, so we hope to place our Smog Free Towers and doses of free air outside China. I also have many other ideas in my mind now. We are working a lot on biomimicry and studying animals.
Daan Roosegaarde is a renowned Dutch artist, designer and innovator. He is the founder of Studio Roosegaarde, best known for creating landscapes of the future and exploring relations between people, technology and space.