Dutch designer launches anti-coronavirus Urban Sun light project

Photo: studioroosegaarde.net

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde has launched a new art installation in which he seeks to use the ultraviolet light to reduce the amount of coronavirus in the air.

Work on the Urban Sun project began in 2019, before the pandemic hit, but research indicating that ultraviolet light may be an effective killer of corona and other viruses led to the work being completed more quickly.

The project was created by Roosegaarde’s team, along with external experts and scientists from the Netherlands, the US, Japan, and Italy and, the studio claims, is backed up by plenty of science.

The Urban Sun project involves shining a large circle of far-UVC light, with a wavelength of 222 nanometres, into public paces. Rather than replace current social distancing rules, it acts as an additional layer of projection.

Roosegaarde hopes to set up the installation at dance festivals and other events this summer, as the regulations are eased. However, the studio told website Dezeen in an interview, the concept can only be used at night and would be site specific.

‘Urban Sun is not intended to be an ultimate solution,’ the studio said. ‘It is a starting point, a first step towards a better normal. A car has both brakes and seat belts, why should precautions and measures related to viral transmissions be limited to a single solution?’


Despite many questions about the actual impact of Urban Sun on coronavirus, Jet Bussemaker, a former education minister who now chairs the Dutch Council of Public Health & Society, describes the project as inspiring.

‘People are tired of Covid-19,’ she said. ‘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.’

Roosengaarde’s installations often mix science with light and art, and he has previously created a light-emitting bike path and placed Amsterdam ‘under water’ in a glowing light display.

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