Daan Roosegaarde cuts up sunlight at the world’s first Solar Biennale in Rotterdam to stop COVID

Daan Roosegaarde cuts up sunlight at the world’s first Solar Biennale in Rotterdam to stop COVID

This September designer Daan Roosegaarde will bring his game-changing 'URBAN SUN' back to Rotterdam for the world’s first Solar Biennale. The installation will be open to the public on September 10 and 11 from 21:00- 23:00 hrs at the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, where it first appeared during the height of the pandemic before leaving to tour the world.

The result of a search for how the power of light can improve the well-being of human existence, ‘URBAN SUN’ is a symbol of hope that creates a safer environment that keeps the coronavirus at bay, purifying air through a new far-UVC light.

Reducing airborne viruses  

Gracefully balancing the intersection of design and science, URBAN SUN is a specially developed UVC light system, capable of reducing airborne viruses by up to 99.9 percent. Its wavelength of 222 nanometers makes it highly usable in the right application and does not damage the skin, where regular UV light with a wavelength of 254 nanometers can cause skin cancer.

The light from 'URBAN SUN' has been measured and calibrated by the Dutch National Metrology Institute (VSL) and is the result of a research project into the power of light by Studio Roosegaarde, started in 2019, together with experts and scientists from the Netherlands, the United States, Japan and Italy. While the start may have predated the corona pandemic, the very period in which it was first placed in public space only made 'URBAN SUN' gain in significance.

"Carried by scientific results, the power of imagination and thinking in solutions, 'URBAN SUN' is a step forward," Roosegaarde said. "With it, we can continue to combat the effects of social isolation and make public spaces such as cultural festivals, sporting events and schoolyards safer and more accessible."

Solar energy part of everyday environment  

The Solar Biennale lets people experience how solar energy can become a natural part of our everyday environment. In collaboration with CityLab010 and Rotterdam Festivals, 'URBAN SUN' will be brought back to the place where it was introduced at the height of the corona crisis; next to the iconic Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam. Underneath the 'URBAN SUN' - a circle of so-called ‘far-UVC’ light - Solar Biennale visitors will be able to come together safely in light-purified air. Under the light, they will experience a cultural program curated by Solar Biennale that includes talks (including a Q&A with Roosegaarde and Solar Biennale founders Marjan van Aubel and Pauline van Dongen) and creative performances. "This project gives solar energy a new perspective," Daan Roosegaarde states. "Let's use beauty as a strategy to show people new possibilities."


'URBAN SUN' was designed as a platform to meet and connect in a more human way. Since its inception, it has won several awards (including Gerety Award and Architecture Master Prize) and been highly commended at FastCompany World Changing Ideas 2021 and Fast Company's 2021 Innovation by Design Awards in the Pandemic Response category. 'URBAN SUN' has been exhibited worldwide, including at the Aarhus Festival in Denmark, the World Expo in Dubai and at the Museum of Design in Atlanta. Currently, for larger events, a 'URBAN SUN' that can cover 3500 m² is being developed. The original 'URBAN SUN' returns to Rotterdam on September 10 and 11 and is open to the public from 21:00 to 23:00 hrs at the Boeg monument at the Erasmus Bridge.

About Studio Roosegaarde    

As a design lab, designer Daan Roosegaarde and his team, connect people and technology to enhance landscapes and spark the imagination. Internationally known designs include: 'WATERLIGHT' (a virtual flood that shows the power of water), 'SMOG FREE PROJECT' (the world's first largest air purifier that cleanses smog and can turn it into jewellery) and the 'SPACE WASTE LAB' (visualising and upcycling space waste). 'URBAN SUN' is the second part of the series of Dreamscapes by Studio Roosegaarde and MediaMonks that showcase the beauty of a better world by combining art and science. www.studioroosegaarde.net 


10 september 2022 / 11 september 2022
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