daan roosegaarde creates jewelry using compressed smog particles
all images and video courtesy daan roosegaarde




dutch designer daan roosegaarde and his team are in the process of developing a sustainable installation to capture smog and create clean air in beijing. ‘we humans have created machines to enhance ourselves. we invented the wheel and cars to liberate ourselves and travel, but now these machines are striking back, making air extremely polluted in high-density cities,’ explains roosegaarde. the ‘smog’ project uses patented ion technology to create holes of clean air, implementing the largest air-purifier in the world created with ENS europe and bob ursem. as a result, a series of tangible souvenir rings will be created using the collected smog particles, which are compressed to create diamonds for the locally produced high-end jewelry.


to get more insight on ‘smog’, designboom spoke to daan roosegaarde in an exclusive interview below:

daan roosegaarde creates jewelry using compressed smog particles

the modular system is located in a public park measuring 40m x 40m




can tell us about your design philosophy and how it translates into your work?


my aim is to create social designs that explore the relations among people, technology and space. the interactive designs are tactile high-tech environments in which viewer and space become one. this connection, established between ideology and technology, results in what I like to call ‘techno- poetry’.



a video detailing the ‘smog’ project



what sparked you to start the smog project?


the idea for the project started while staying at a hotel in beijing and looking at the CCTV building. I had a good day when I could see this beautiful building, but during a bad day I couldn’t. on a bad day the smog works completely like a veil, you don’t see a thing. I thought, that’s interesting, sometimes it is there, but sometimes it is not there. maybe I can use this as a design ingredient, maybe this is my ‘paint’. we wanted to create the cleanest place in beijing.

daan roosegaarde creates jewelry using compressed smog particles




your designs and installations are highly experiential and immersive, as you typically work within a more confined space. how have you managed to translate these aspects onto a larger, more social level with the smog project?


all my art pieces are made for a public space, to create a collective experience. I have a thing for the openness of environments. within the smog project it would probably be more easy to develop a zone of blue, clean air for the rich, happy few people. but the challenge lays within creating openness and a public value.



video outlining the smog concept with a scale model




the work you are doing sees smog being harvested into a tangible material in a way. what potential avenues do you see this process being implemented?


it is a strange process to suck the pollution out the air and have it in our hand a few minutes later. it looks like a mystic black powder, but most mesmerizing about this is that normally you would have to breathe it. of course we can suck the pollution out of the air, but this is not solving the cause of the problem. but by creating the cleanest place in beijing, you show how the future will look; people will see the difference from the old; feel it, smell it. that will create an incentive to update the whole city such as electric cars, clean industry, cycling. 
the smog project stands as a spring board for other initiatives, such as creating high-end jewelry products.

daan roosegaarde creates jewelry using compressed smog particles
one of the rings created using compressed smog particles



could you talk a little bit about the ‘smog’ ring and what other types of designs are you working on that use pollution as a ‘material’?


you want to make people part of the solution, not part of the problem. making tangible material of the smog is a way of creating awareness. our smog ring is a good example of this. it makes a strong connection between dust and dirt. by buying or sharing the smog ring you donate 1000m3 of clean air to the city.

daan roosegaarde creates jewelry using compressed smog particles
detail of how the purifying system will work




editors note:


daan roosegaarde has now developed the project further along with a team of designers and experts. the dutch artist will exhibit from the 29th of september at beijing design week 2016. the project supported by the ministry of environmental protection will mark the first stop of the smog free project china tour set to travel to four major chinese cities in the coming year. the smog free project consists of the smog free tower and smog free jewellery and offers a unique sensual experience of a clean future.


the 7 meters smog free tower is the largest air purifier in the world which creates a bubble of clean air enabling citizens to experience clean air for free. the smog free tower cleans 30.000m3 per hour via patented ozone-free ion technology and uses a small amount of green electricity. the smog free tower captures and collects more than 75% of the pm2.5 and pm10 airborne smog particles and releases clean air around the tower with a 360degree coverage creating an almost circular zone of clean air in its surrounding.

the smog free project creates clean urban skies via the smog free tower

inside the smog free tower
the smog free jewellery is a tangible souvenir of the smog free project
the smog free ring is made from compressed smog particles collected from the smog free tower  daan-roosegaarde-smog-project-designboom
by sharing a smog free ring, you donate 1000m3 of clean air