Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
New Ideas
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Comments (1) Posted 11.29.10 | PERMALINK | PRINT

John Thackara

In the Air of Madrid




Ever since we organized Doors of Perception 3 on the theme "info-eco" in 1995, we've been preoccupied by the dilemma of environmental data. Our world is awash in eco information, we concluded then, but starved of meaning.

In the worlds of science and policy, hundreds of organizations churn out a flood of reports, graphs, studies, punditry — and lists — but our collective behaviour does not seem to change at all.



What would it take, we asked, to monitor and measure our planet’s true condition — its vital signs — in real time.

Over the years since then, a variety of sometimes beautiful perceptual aids has been designed to help us understand the conditon of the invisible natural systems that surround us. The latest, In the Air, is a visualization project which aims to make visible the microscopic and invisible agents of Madrid´s air (gases, particles, pollen, diseases, etc), to see how they perform, react and interact with the rest of the city.

The Madrid team, tracks five of the key pollutants that most detrimentally effect health and quality of life:
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) Carbon monoxide (CO) Nitrogen oxide (NO) Particulate PM10 and Ozone (03.)

As well as the visualization, In The Air includes a prototype “diffuse façade” at in Medialab-Prado. There, water vapor diffusors inform passers how much of each component in the air.



[The water vapour mildly cleans the air as and the the water dye/colorant is organic — so the installation does not add contaminants to the atmosphere].

The next step is to integrate the prototype into the entire facade of a building. At this scale multiple pollutants could be monitored and displayed at the same time, allowing for more complexity in the visualization. The building would become "a 24 hour active indicator of environmental conditions, blurring architecture with atmosphere, informing and mediating the bodies that come into contact with it."

In the Air is on display at Medialab-Prado in Madrid through January 11th. Its creator is Nerea Calvillo "along with the best team possible."
Share This Story

RELATED POSTS


Visualizing the Ends of Oil


City Beautiful of Kazakhstan


Design and the Social Sector: An Annotated Bibliography


Chris Foss and the Technological Sublime


The Elements – Molecules, Atoms and Quarks – of Style



RSS Subscribe to Comment Feed

Comments (1)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT >>

[The water vapour mildly cleans the air as and the the water dye/colorant is organic — so the installation does not add contaminants to the atmosphere].

I'm skeptical about your fascinating theory that dyes aren't toxic if they're organic. Did you mean that they're organic compounds or grown organically? Are they dyes food colorants? If so, people can have unhealthy reactions. And seriously, who wants to breathe pink vapors of unknown origin? I find it all too ironic.
Mark Duran
11.30.10 at 07:19



LOG IN TO POST A COMMENT
Don't have an account? Create an account. Forgot your password? Click here.

Email


Password




|
Share This Story



John Thackara is a writer, speaker and design producer, and director of Doors of Perception. In addition to this blog, he is the author of twelve books including In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World and Wouldn't It Be Great If….
More >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS