Urban Sun by Daan Roosegaarde: a creative anti-COVID-19 measure

Daan Roosegaarde – Studio Roosegaarde,

Willem de Kam, Ossip van Duivenbode, Daan Roosegaarde,




Studio Roosegaarde has launched Urban Sun, an installation based on scientific research and inspired by the effects of sunlight. It uses a specific far-UVC light that disinfects the space, allowing people to meet up safely.

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Urban Sun by Daan Roosegaarde: a creative anti-COVID-19 measure
Let’s be the architects of our new normal” is the payoff for the latest invention from Dutch artist and inventor Daan Roosegaarde, who - as he often does - is proposing an attractive high-tech solution to tackle one of the most unbearable effects of the pandemic: the loneliness and social isolation suffered by people everywhere.
He has dubbed the solution Urban Sun, and as the name suggests, it is inspired by sunlight. Studio Roosegaarde has been researching the power of light for a long time, with results that have even reached the pages of Floornature over the years. The self-financed Urban Sun project started in 2019. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, its development became significantly more urgent, as Urban Sun combines design with science in order to provide an innovative solution to a pressing problem: how to create spaces for people to meet and talk in a safer, more human way.
Urban Sun was designed by the Roosegaarde team in conjunction with external experts and scientists from the Netherlands, the US, Japan and Italy. The scientific underpinning for Urban Sun consists of in-depth research and multiple peer-reviewed journal articles, all carried out and written 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 222nm light is considered safe for both people and animals.
Putting this into practice, Urban Sun - the project being developed by Studio Roosegaarde - aims to create a better place to allow us to meet other people once more. It takes the form of an oversized lamp, depending on the context, which shines a large circle of this far-UVC light onto public spaces, thus acting as an additional barrier against viruses to be combined with the protective measures already put in place by the authorities. Daan Roosegaarde explains the motive behind his new invention, which combines usefulness with pleasure: "Suddenly our world is filled with plastic barriers and distance stickers, our family reduced to pixels on a computer screen. Let’s be the architects of our new normal and create better places to meet and interact".  
Let’s be honest: who, after all these months of social distancing and restrictions, wouldn’t want an opportunity to meet up with friends and do things together in a safe, secure way?
The initial location of the Urban Sun was launched next to one of Rotterdam’s most iconic landmarks, the Erasmus Bridge. 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 and offers us new solutions for reclaiming our social lives in a way that protects us, our loved ones, and society at large. Jet Bussemaker, President of the Council of the Public Health & Society Board, the Netherlands’ independent parliamentary advising body, praised the project: "It is inspiring… 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." And all with the great poetic beauty that pervades the work of Daan Roosegaarde.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: Studio Roosegaarde
2019-2021, Black sphere with far-UVC light, other media and technical simulations. The URBAN SUN’s far-UVC light source is measured and calibrated by the Dutch National Metrology Institute VSL. URBAN SUN is available for exhibitions and open to collaborations with governments and partners to upscale new applications.
Images: Willem de Kam, Ossip van Duivenbode and Daan Roosegaarde. Videos by MediaMonks and Studio Roosegaarde.
For more information: https://www.studioroosegaarde.net/project/urban-sun


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