Urban Sun

Inspired by the light of the sun and backed by scientific research which proves that a new far-UVC light can safely remove up to 99.9% of the coronavirus, Studio Roosegaarde launched the world's first Urban Sun in early March 2021.

Daan Roosegaarde and his team of designers, external experts, and scientists discovered how the power of light can be used to combat viruses and enhance well-being. Research shows that while traditional 254nm UV light is harmful, the new far-UVC light with a wavelength of 222 nanometers can sanitize viruses safely. Urban Sun, designed and developed by Studio Roosegaarde, shines a large circle of this far-UVC light on a specific area which cleans this public space from the coronavirus. Urban Sun serves as a supplement to current government coronavirus regulations. Urban Sun visualizes to inspire hope. It combats the negative impact of social isolation by aiming to improve cultural gatherings, sporting events, public squares, schoolyards, and other areas where people meet.

Urban Sun's initial launch took place alongside Rotterdam's most iconic landmark, the Erasmus Bridge. The project debuts as a movie premiere at with the potential for future exhibits. The project is supported by researchers and experts from all over the world and is based on scientific papers written at Columbia University and Hiroshima University.

Jet Bussemaker, President of the Council of the Public Health & Society Board, the Netherlands' independent parliamentary advising body, praised the project: "It is inspiring. People are tired of COVID19. What we need is courage to find new solutions, to get in touch with each other, and create some intimacy. That is what Urban Sun is doing."

Designing solutions
Studio Roosegaarde has been researching the power of light for many years. The self-funded Urban Sun project was started in 2019. The COVID19 pandemic made the project much more urgent. Urban Sun connects design with science to provide innovative solutions to create spaces for people to meet and exchange in a safer and a more humane way. Urban Sun can be exhibited in any type of public space and is intended to serve as a call to action to governments and partners to speed-up further application of Urban Sun.

Urban Sun is created by Roosegaarde's team, along with external experts and scientists from the Netherlands, the US, Japan, and Italy. The Urban Sun's far-UVC light source is measured and calibrated by the Dutch National Metrology Institute VSL. Urban Sun meets the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) safety standards. 

The science behind Urban Sun is based on multiple peer-reviewed journal articles authored by scientists from Columbia University and Hiroshima University. The research shows that specific ultraviolet light (far-UVC) with the wavelength of 222nm can reduce the presence of viruses, including various strains of coronavirus and influenza, up to 99.9%. Even though traditional 254nm UV light is harmful, this specific light of 222nm is considered safe for both people and animals.*

Daan Roosegaarde: "Suddenly our world is filled with plastic shield barriers and social distance stickers, our family reduced to pixels on a computer screen. Let us be the architects of our new normal and create better places to meet and interact."

Authorities about Urban Sun
Leading authorities are enthusiastic about the project and are describing it as hopeful, promising, and full of courage:

  -      Carlo D'Alesio from MEG Science and Professor at Politecnico di Milano said: "Virtual simulations indicate a positive impact of the Urban Sun in reduction of airborne coronaviruses in public spaces."

-        Matthew Hardwick PhD, President at ResInnova Laboratories, Washington D.C., who works with his team of virus experts and microbiologists said: "Use of 222nm far-UVC in public space, as in Urban Sun, should prove to be both safe and effective."

-        Professor Karl Linden, award winning innovator in UV technologies and founding board member of the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA), Colorado said: "Urban Sun is inspiring. It will make enjoying public spaces safer and I look forward to visiting locations where this far-UVC sun is shining."

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About Studio Roosegaarde
As a social design lab, Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde and his team of designers and engineers connect people and technology in designs that improve daily life in urban environments and spark imagination. It has won numerous international design awards. Internationally acclaimed works include WATERLICHT (a virtual flood showing the power of water), SMOG FREE PROJECT (the world's first and largest outdoor air purifier which turns smog into jewelry), SMART HIGHWAY (roads that charge throughout the day and glow at night) and the SPACE WASTE LAB (visualizing and upcycling space waste). Urban Sun is the second of the series of Dreamscapes by Studio Roosegaarde and MediaMonks which show the beauty of combining art and science to create a better world.

*Buonanno, M., Welch, D., Shuryak, I., & Brenner, D. J. (2020). Far-UVC light (222nm) efficiently and safely inactivates airborne human coronaviruses. Scientific Reports 10, 10285 (2020).

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Brigitta Kroon-Fiorita


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High-resolution images and movie:

Photos and movies can be used freely when credited with 'Studio Roosegaarde'.

Photography by Willem de Kam, Ossip van Duivenbode and Daan Roosegaarde.

Movie by MediaMonks and Studio Roosegaarde.

Creative Commons Non-Commercial applies to all material.

Source: Studio Roosegaarde


Categories: Architecture and Design, Lifestyles

Tags: Daan Roosegaarde, Roosegaarde, URBAN SUN

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