« BEL-AIR » a new air-filtering system using plants

The air quality indoors is worse than outdoors. Plastic used for our daily furniture production emits pollutants (benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene) whose levels are maximal during warm and humid periods.
Crucial for the health of the NASA’s astronauts, who stay in orbital station in a polymer-saturated environment, the American agency has set up an air purifying system by plants research program in the early 80’s. With « Bel-Air », this program is now completed and optimized by french designer Mathieu Lehanneur, together with the Harvard University scientist David Edwards, and ready for domestic use.« Bel-Air » is a mini mobile greenhouse that continuously inhales the space-polluted air that goes through tree natural filters: the plant leaves, its roots, and a humid bath before rejecting it purified. This patented principal has two advantages: « Bel-Air » is to the American and Asiatic common filters working appliances what Dyson is to regular vacuum cleaners. Here, the noxious particles are captured, and transformed inside the system. No more filters to change then, and no more clogs.
As for the aesthetic, « Bel-Air » breaks up the codes. The plant is unbolted from its ornamental statue and becomes a true object of service. As a vegetal brain enclosed in an aluminum and Pyrex cranial box, « Bel-Air » is the new cutting-edge of new objects/guardian angels that will soon protect us.Innovating form A to Z, “Bel-Air” can here and now be purchased as a prototype. The goal is to invite the buyers to become voluntary guinea pigs of the current test protocols in order to study and report to the conception team its behavior and condition of use. Accordingly, “Bel-Air” will improve at the maximum its performances before an effective production during 2009.

“Bel-air” will be presented at the MoMA (New York) in the exhibition “Design and the Elastic mind” starting next February.

“Design and the Elastic Mind”
Curator: Paola Antonelli
From February 24 through May 12, 2008
At the MoMA
1 West 53 Streets,
Between Fifth and Sixth avenues
New York, NY 10019-5497
(212) 708-9400

“Bel-Air” (News about a Second Atmosphere)” is currently presented in Paris until January 14, 2008 at the Laboratoire, a new Parisian creation site initiating collaborations between artists, designers and scientists.

Le Laboratoire
4 rue du Bouloi
75001 Paris
Phone +331 780 949 50

Mathieu Lehanneur takes part of the “Design Now” selection, edited by Taschen this fall, as one of the 80 designers the most innovating in the world. Graduate from ENSCI- Les Ateliers in 2001, he explores the technological advances for their functional possibilities and their capacities to produce magic. His research works emphasizes on the relations and the invisible frictions that govern our relations to the daily environment. The “Therapeutic Objects”, his first emblematic project, proposed a new design for taking medicine, which integrates patient relations with his disease. He revealed himself at an international level with the series “Elements” (2006), a line of “Health Angels” composed by five domestic objects destined to readjust our physiological deficiencies (such as the lack of light in the winter) and to baffle already, the exterior aggressions to which we are constraint (sonorous pollution, air pollution).
With “Bel-Air”, he offers then the first version that can be manufactured in large series of a project from his most cutting-edge researches. Researches also allow him the products conception for customers as prestigious as Paco Rabanne, Yohji Yamamoto or Issey Miyake.