Art Between Breaths / 呼吸之間的藝術


Air is everywhere and in everything. Perhaps because it is so close to us, we often forget its importance to our health. In recent years, almost without us noticing, it has become something we cherish again. When you take a deep breath, filling your lungs in search of clarity and vitality, you often find a biting taste of smoke, like a long-burning battle with the body. The underlying problems behind the change in air’s flavor are quite complex, and in general, all we can do is wear a facemask and pack some extra tissues when we leave the house, to fight against our sensitive noses, or equip our homes with the latest air purifiers. Designers and creators, however, have abilities that go beyond that. They have been drawing from their specialized knowledge and technical skills to make extraordinary efforts toward cleaner air. Let’s see what kinds of amazing designs people can make with air.



  1. A Hungry Façade / 白食黑的建築外牆

When people walk by this plain white building façade with its organic forms, most will probably see it as a new architectural design, without realizing that the façade of this hospital in Mexico City is not only beautiful, but practical as well. This building façade designed by Prosolve looks like a work of sculpture, clinging organically to the building. The material has antibiotic and pollution-scrubbing properties, and now has become fully fused with the surrounding city, providing fresh air for the residents who walk by every day. If this technology could spread to other buildings, it would rival the planting of trees for environmental benefit.




  1. Roads that Breathe / 會呼吸的道路

Every day we ride and drive on asphalt roads which carry us forward with their evenness and sturdiness. The scientists at the Eindhoven University of Technology, however, have given these roads a new function: cleaning the air. The scientists call it a “photocatalytic” road. The surface is coated in titanium oxide, which is able to “breathe in” harmful nitrogen oxide from the air, like vegetation. Under optimal conditions, this road can reduce pollutants by 45%, and under average real conditions, it can still reduce pollutants by 19%, making for a great tool in the fight against pollution.

我們每天行車走在瀝青路上,平整堅固的道路支撐我們前行。但聰明的荷蘭Eindhoven University of Technology的科學家們,便為它額外賦予一個新功能:清潔空氣。科學家稱它為「光合作用」道路,路如其名,塗上氧化鈦(titanium oxide)的路面能夠將空氣中的有害物質:氮氧化物(nitrogen oxide)「吸出」,發揮如植物光合作用般的功能。在最理想的情況下,能夠減少45%的污染物;一般情況下,一天下來也能減少19%,絕對是對抗污染的好幫手。



  1. A World on a Rooftop / 屋頂大世界

Seeing how we can use a building’s façade to breathe in pollutants, on clever student at UC Riverside wondered if he could make rooftops do the same. Nowadays, many people around the world have installed solar panels on their rooftops to save energy. This college student used the same material described above, titanium oxide, to coat roof tiles, which can remove 88 to 97% of nitrogen oxides in the surrounding air. This design, originally a contest submission, not only won him a grant, but also inspired him to expand the design for applications in paint, concrete, walls and road equipment.

當我們可以利用建築外牆吸收污染物,聰明的UC Riverside大學學生便想到何不將屋頂也一並應用?現時,外國早已有不少人在屋頂裝上太陽能發電板,以節省能源。學生們將前述例子所使用的物料:氧化鈦同樣塗到屋頂用的瓦磚之上,這種物質能去除空氣中88至97%的氮氧化物。這個原本作為比賽參賽作品的設計不但為他們贏來獎金,亦令他們繼續研究將此技術擴展至外牆油漆、混凝土、牆壁或路上設施等。



  1. Clean Air Drones / 無人駕駛空氣機

Driven by his love for clean air, Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde has become an expert in this field, installing his air-purifying towers in China, the Netherlands and Poland. In Hong Kong, Chow Tai Fook Art Foundation’s creative jewelry workshop Loupe long ago began exhibiting his works and introducing him to a wider audience. His latest design is even more exciting. These days, we may carry a mobile phone everywhere we go, and a fan for the hotter months, but soon, we will also be able to bring along a mobile air purifier. He is planning to use unmanned drone technology to develop a miniature air purifier that will float above your head, allowing everyone to be surrounded by fresh air. I hope this sci-fi tech is ready soon!

荷蘭設計師Daan Roosegaarde可說已憑著他對潔淨空氣的熱誠,成為這領域的專家,在中國、荷蘭、波蘭均豎立了他的空氣潔淨塔。在香港,由周大福藝術基金創辦的珠寶創意與作坊多元空間Loupe,早前也曾展出他的作品,介紹給更多的觀眾認識。他的最新設計更是令人振奮:如今我們出門人手一部電話,夏天可能會拿個便利風扇,但將來,可能便是帶一個袋裝空氣清新機。他正計劃利用無人駕駛飛機的技術,研發一個在頭上盤旋的迷你空氣潔淨飛機,這樣每人均可以在身邊範圍享用清新空氣——希望這科幻的設計能早日成真!



Looking over the creative proposals above, it seems we can find two directions: one is the use of new tools to actively remove pollutants from the environment, and the other is to employ the existing urban environment in sustained purification. These two techniques both treat design as a way of improving human life. Do you have any other ideas? Please share them in the comments.





Adrian Cheng is the art pioneer who founded the K11 Art Foundation (“KAF”), a non-profit art foundation in China to incubate young contemporary artists and curators to promote public art education. By providing young emerging artists with a local, regional and international platform to gain greater public awareness, Adrian is the new generation to represent the contemporary Chinese art scene.

Adrian is ranked among the ArtReview Power 100 list in both 2014 and 2015, and also ARTnews’ Top 200 collectors in 2015, as one of the contemporary art world’s most powerful figures. He is also a Board Member of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and member of the Interim Acquisition and M+ Museum Committee, a Board Member of the Public Art Fund of New York and MoMA PS1, Trustee of Royal Academy of Arts, Board Director of the National Museum of China Foundation, Director of CAFAM Funds of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Visiting Committee of the Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Member of International Circle of Centre Pompidou, Member of TATE’s International Council and Board Member of Asia Art Archive.

To follow Adrian Cheng on Social Media :
IG: @ac_kaf
WeChat : adrian_artdiary
Facebook Page: @K11 Art Foundation



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