great design in the future is not about thinking of ways to generate money or save time but is about looking at ways that design and technology can improve life.
Through Studio Roosegaarde, the Dutch artist and innovator has worked on several projects, often using ‘older’ technologies such as LED lighting and retro reflective material to get people to think about the uniqueness of their environment.
As a case in point he talked about his company’s Waterlicht project, which created dreamlike blue LED light show in the Museumplein Square in Amsterdam to get residents to think about rising water levels and global warning.
“Innovation is engraved in the DNA of Dutch landscape, but it seems to have been forgotten. We used LED technology which has been around for years from a social standpoint to remind people about the creation and importance of dikes.”
The artwork attracted 60,000 visitors in one night when it was first launched.
Another dike innovation involved using retro reflective technology to highlight the beauty of the Icoon Afsluitdijk – the dike’s towers light up for passing cars at night and then fade back to black again when they have passed.
“We always talk about new technology but sometimes its already there, hidden in dustry draws. You just need to dust it down and shake it off,” he said.
A third project he shared with attendees – inspired following a trip to Bejing, – was his smog sucking towers, which suck polluted air out of parts of a city and then releases 30 million litres of clean air back into the city making it 70% cleaner than it was before.
Roosegaarde even found a use for the carbon emissions – turning them into diamonds and creating smog free jewellery. Each ring represents 1000m3 of clean air – an idea that flew when he launched it on Kickstarter and now helps to finance the cost of producing the towers.
According to Roosegaade Prince Charles owns the smog-free cufflinks.
As a young global leader of the World Economic Forum, the designer also shared with delegates the three key skills that businesses of the future should look for in their staff: Creativity, Critical thinking and Problem solving.
“Basically all the things that robots are really bad at,” he said, reminding the audience that for the designers of the present and the future “creativity is our capital.”