We have an obligation to be positive” are wise words spoken by Daan Roosegaarde, the Dutch artist and founder of Studio Roosegaarde who develops projects that merge technology and art in urban environments. Design is drastically shifting on its axis by moving from simply solving problems to an approach that draws attention to social issues by predicting the future and connecting with business, politics, sustainability and environmental issues. Roosegaarde has a critical awareness that enables him to manifest solutions in art form. It’s well known that cities are being choked by smog, remote island countries will be forever submerged if temperatures rise, and countryside air and riverways are irreversibly polluted. Uniquely, Roosegaarde approaches solutions to these issues with prophetic art and speculative design. Roosegaarde created the ethereal projection WATERLICHT to raise awareness of rising water levels and the urgent need to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing ecosystem.
He combined LED and lenses to form shifting layers of wafting blue light above the heads of viewers. Roosegaarde describes this installation as “a dream landscape about the power and poetry of water”. He aims to encourage positive thinking about building floating cities and providing power through water generation. 2018 saw WATERLICHT launch Jameel Arts Centre that houses solo and group exhibitions, large-scale installations and sculptural work on the glorious Jaddaf Waterfront.
Roosegaarde’s most recent GROW pays homage to the beauty of agriculture by creating a luminous dreamscape of red, blue and ultraviolet waves of light over an enormous field. Not only is this surreal installation of dancing light thought-provoking, but its scientific properties improve the growth and resilience of plants and reduce pesticide use by almost 50%. Roosegaarde questions, “how can we make the farmer the hero?”.
It is a call for enlightenment during these dark times. URBAN SUN, a project in development by Studio Roosegaarde as a symbol of hope, shines a large circle of this far-UVC light into public spaces, cleaning those spaces of the coronavirus. URBAN SUN aims to inspire hope. WATERLICHT is the dream landscape about the power and poetry of water. As a virtual flood WATERLICHT shows how high the water could reach and raises awareness about rising water levels. WATERLICHT creates a collective experience to share the importance of water innovation. Winner of LIT 2017 Lighting Designer of the Year USA and The Best Lighting Environment Design China. URBAN SUN, an extraordinary project under development by Studio Roosegaarde as a symbol of hope, shines a large circle of far-UVC light into public spaces, sanitising coronavirus at cultural gatherings, sporting events, public squares, and schoolyards. URBAN SUN aims to inspire hope and combat the negative impact of social isolation. Inspired by the sun, its specific light safely cleans up to 99.9% of the coronavirus and offers a supplementary layer of protection to enhance world government pandemic regulations. Research shows that the new far-UVC light with a wavelength of 222 nanometers can sanitise viruses safely. Roosegaarde understands that the new world is full of barriers and restrictions, and family members reduced to computer pixels. He says, “let’s be the architects of our new normal and create better places to meet”. Leading authorities are enthusiastic about the project and are describing it as hopeful, promising and full of courage. Roosegaarde is a traditionally trained artist, but he grew up surrounded by scientists and technology. Behind all of his unconceivable projects is ‘schoonheid’, a Dutch word that fuses ‘clean’ with ‘beauty’. The word resonates with all of his work. Clean outer space, clean air, clean energy, and clean water. Each of these elements is given form through visually stunning aesthetic expressions of sound and light.
Satisfyingly, Roosegaarde feels that he is at a point in time in which people’s thinking is changing. He believes that man is becoming just like other living beings and adapting to merely be part of nature, the environment and the universe and not at the epicentre of it all. He understands with a verve that to have a sustainable presence within the world; people must change their outlook. Driven by an environmental mission, Roosegaarde’s work precisely embodies this spirit of the times. Whether we like it or not, technology is our language