Daan Roosegaarde, www.studioroosegaarde.net

#ASK Daan Roosegaarde

For the #ASK section, we ask a number of questions to a fascinating person who is active in the field of art, design & architecture in Rotterdam. When you talk about design and the city of Rotterdam, you quickly think of artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde. His studio is not participating in the Rotterdam Art Week this year, but it is fascinating to read what this Rotterdam-based studio is currently working on.


Studio Roosegaarde made, among other things, a luminous bicycle path as an ode to Van Gogh, an artificial sun that kills viruses and a (jewelry) ring that is filled with 1000 m3 of smog, filtered by Studio Roosegaarde. Do you think that art and science can reinforce each other?
You need technological innovation and a social experience in order to make a real difference. You need them both, you won’t really make an impact if you apply just one of them. Furthermore, a good design can make you curious about a better future!

You’ve been known to describe your work as ‘techno-poetry’, how would you describe that in your own words?
I’m speaking about the dynamic relationship between humans and technology. In many of my designs, the presence of the visitor plays a significant role, the visitors effectively becomes a part of the work. I call that connection, that arises between the design and the visitor, techno-poetry. An example of this is the ‘Lotus Dome’ design, which responds to human presence. The heat-sensitive smart flowers fold open and close again, creating an interactive play of light and shadow.

LOTUS are smart foils which unfolds organically in response to human behaviour. Based on the temperature of your hand and light LOTUS folds open. LOTUS gives a poetic morphing of space and people. Winner of A’Design Gold Award and Media Architecture Award Denmark.

What do you think is the right way to deal with the increasingly urgent climate problem?
To stimulate our desire for Beauty. In Dutch, the word for Beauty (‘Schoonheid’) also signifies cleanliness. This duality is about a sense of curiosity and wonder about the world around you on the one hand, as well as the literal translation on the other hand that symbolises a clean space, clean air, clean water and clean energy. This encourages the activation of change – among citizens and governments – valuing and embracing it as a creative tool, while creating a clean living environment.

How would you describe your relationship with the city of Rotterdam? 
I see Rotterdam as a kind of testing ground, where I have the space to design prototypes and launch large scale projects. Studio Roosegaarde is located in a renovated glass factory in Rotterdam where a team of designers and technicians is working on these landscapes of the future. We have to imagine a better future first, before we can build it.

WATERLICHT is the dream landscape about the power and poetry of water. As a virtual flood WATERLICHT shows how high the water could reach and raises awareness about rising water levels. WATERLICHT creates a collective experience to share the importance of water innovation. Winner of LIT 2017 Lighting Designer of the Year USA and The Best Lighting Environment Design China.