Material Monday: Visualising Pollution

Material Monday: Visualising Pollution

Posted 30 January 2017 by Nirvana CPH

This week Seetal Solanki Director of Ma-tt-er will be discussing the invisible resource of pollution as a material across multiple applications.

Proactive design is something that is becoming so much more relevant than it ever has been in recent past. The amount of pollution we are currently experiencing globally as well as locally. London this January has excelled past the levels in Beijing a city that populates 11.5 million people according to The Telegraph newspaper.

Designers have been responding to this issue with products and devices that are able to display the pollution levels bringing more awareness to our surroundings. Having a visual representation of the rising levels of pollution means that we can be more engaged with the situation at hand and adapt these negative behaviours and turn them into something more constructive. Playing a role of activism from a grassroots level.

Tino Seubert has developed a project ‘The Colour of Air’ an ink that consists of Particulate Matter (PM), which is a produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels across homes, industry and transport.

Traditionally Ancient Egyptians, used carbon produced from candles to produce an ink. Seubert’s series spans across replacing the lead normally used in pencils with a PM-LEAD created from car exhausts, a PM-K ink for screen printing posters with and fabric dye for outdoor sports clothing (PM-DYE). The visual representation of smog becomes a mode of communication as well as providing a purpose with a material that could be considered ‘invisible’.

Design studio Aerochromics have created a line of reactive ink patterned shirts that transforms the pattern on the textile in response to air pollution or radioactivity. This colour-changing technology through a thermo-reactive dye has never before been applied to consumer clothing making it a lot more accessible in terms of the issue at hand.

The use of integrated technology within products and wearables is becoming more and more seamless and intertwined with the construction of the fabric.

Could the Dutch designers Borre Akkersdijk and Eva de Laat collaborated with Martijn ten Bhomer provide the practical solution to all of the bad quality air the world is experiencing? The trio created a pollution purifying wearable one-piece suit the BB.suit 2.0 consisting of electrical woven threads woven into the fabric with GPS, Wi-Fi and air-cleaning technologies using cold plasma technology creating a bubble of clean air around the wearer.

An article on Dezeen go onto to say:

“Cold plasma technology is a really high voltage that splits up the particles in the air,” Akkersdijk explained. “It grabs the dust and then it drops, so all the bad particles in the air go down to the ground.

These communicative outputs can lead on to not only bring more awareness to the subject of air pollution but can also provide much more practical solutions putting them into practice.