- April 28, 2021
Mostly invisible, though physically influential, air pollution claims 1 in 9 lives and threatens the future of our cities. 92% of the population in the world, rural or urban, lives in places with air quality above the WHO guidelines. In Beijing, the concentration of pm 2.5 particles in itself is 7.3 times the safety level, resulting in an annual death of more than 1,944,436 individuals.
In a world of inconsistent governance, where policy-making alone does not seem to protect the citizens, it rests upon human capital to confront the crisis on an individual or communal basis. Baleencoat capitalizes on the mediatic and mediation potential of hollow fiber membrane (a straw-like nanometer-scale material) as a building material for a respiratory architecture. The body scale coat is an architectural artifact—an intervention that augments a new form of transparency while filtering undesirable particles—for survival.
Baleencoat is a wearable design that filters airborne particulate matter when activated while simultaneously reflecting long waves for sky cooling. Its attributes include the following: it functions very much like a waist-length raincoat made of translucent nanophotonic membrane fabric that is welded together; it has a hood that can open and close with a zipper that acts as an air barrier; it has a re-arming kit attached—a pneumatic device commonly seen in life—that would inflate the filtration portion of the coat; tubular filters are secured and sewed between shoulder vent layers; the filtration capacity can be regenerated with water backwash every 225 to 315 days. Baleencoat promises a filtered and conditioned space traveling with you despite the environmental crisis.
The collapse of air as a collective common has induced a new surface-to-volume relationship. Baleencoat suggests the beginning of an alternative lifestyle—a new way to breathe, a new way to live, and a new way to be.
Photograph by Michael Vahrenwald