Daan Roosegaarde: I think the role of the designer today is fascinating

This Dutch artist and innovator tells us about creating (smog-free, sustainable, safe and intuitive) cities of the future.
Posted 6 Jan 15 By Design Indaba Duration: 00:03:36 Interaction Design Interviews / Video Interviews Comments

“I’ve always been fascinated with making things that connect the virtual world and the real world,” says Dutch artist, designer, inventor and entrepreneur Daan Roosegaarde.

Through the creation of interactive landscapes that instinctively respond to sound and the environment, his work reveals the dynamic relations between architecture, people and technology.

For Roosegaarde, the field of design has never been about making more chairs, lamps or tables, but rather a means to improve life.

I think the role of the designer today is to look at the future of mobility, the future of energy and the future of health in order to come up with new ideas and behaviours.

In this exclusive interview, Roosegaarde tells us about The Smog Free Project, as well as the recently launched first iteration of the Smart Highway project. 

Located in Beijing, The Smog Free Project sees the Dutch designer developing a safe, energy-friendly installation to capture smog and create clean air in high-density cities that are extremely polluted. In order to realise this project, Roosegaarde plans on building a gigantic electronic vacuum cleaner to suck up Beijing’s smog in order to create the cleanest park in the city. Working with ENS Europe and Bob Ursem, experts in nano air cleansers, Roosegaarde’s The Smog Free Project will produce the largest air purifier in the world and, in turn, a place where people can experience a pollution-free air future.

“It’s very exciting for me as a designer to create something that will improve life,” he says. He hopes the project will encourage the people of Beijing to work together in making the whole city smog free. “I’m interested in making things which are interactive for the people around it,” he adds. 

Earlier this year, Roosegaarde’s first iteration of the Smart Highway project was realised in the Netherlands. The project as a whole makes use of interactive lights, smart energy and adaptable road signs for the world’s first and most sustainable, safe and intuitive road. 

“For me, the Smart Highway project shows the possibility of making things which look unrealisable at the beginning possible, and absolutely necessary if we want to make cities of the future.”