Daan Roosegaarde finds beauty in possibility. He’s not afraid to ask bold, borderline-absurd questions, like: “What if you could create usable energy by grinding on a dance floor?” Or: “What if roads charged in the sun during the day and then glowed at night?” Or: “What if clothing could change color, based on the rhythm of a heartbeat, revealing the wearer’s inner desires?” Or: “What if we could clean the smog out of the air and reverse climate change?”
He sees these possibilities everywhere — opportunities to blend design with environment-saving technologies.
“It’s all about showing what’s already possible today,” the artist/designer explains. “A lot of the technology we work with was already there. Hidden in drawers in universities or at companies. It’s about showing the beauty of a potential new world focused on clean air, clean water, clean energy, and creative thinking.”
Thinking outside of the box has always been Roosegaarde’s specialty. It’s the kind of thinking that got him kicked out of fine arts school…twice. He had a few too many crazy ideas, he says with a laugh, and he didn’t know how to translate them into action. Now, he’s a bit better at taking his wild ideas and making them into wild realities. Because the environmental crisis has pushed Roosegaarde to try to create a future where art, clean energy, and a new way of responsible urban planning becomes the gold standard.
“There’s not a lack of money or technology,” he says of the quest to reverse our climate problems, “but maybe a lack of imagination. For me, the role of art and design needs to show how the future world can look like.”
By demonstrating how beautiful the art-technology intersection can be, Roosegaarde hopes to inspire people to do more and think deeper. That’s why his designs for green energy and innovative air and water purification projects are so whimsical. He wants to generate excitement and curiosity… and maybe just save the world along the way.