Studio Roosegaarde

Studio Roosegaarde

Rotterdam, NL


World’s First Urban Sun Cleans Public Space of Coronavirus for Better Human Gatherings

ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands, 2 March, 2021 – Inspired by the light of the sun, and backed by scientific research that proves a new, specific light can safely clean up to 99.9% of the coronavirus, Studio Roosegaarde launches the world’s first Urban Sun today. 

Daan Roosegaarde and his team of designers, external experts, and scientists challenged themselves to discover how the power of light can be used to combat viruses and therefore enhance our well-being. Research shows that though traditional 254nm UV light is harmful, the new far-UVC light with a wavelength of 222 nanometers can actually sanitize viruses safely. Urban Sun, a project in development by Studio Roosegaarde, shines a large circle of this far-UVC light into public spaces, cleaning those spaces of the coronavirus. It acts as an additional layer of protection to current government rules. Urban Sun aims to inspire hope. It combats the negative impact of social isolation by aiming to improve cultural gatherings, sporting events, public squares, and schoolyards.  

Urban Sun’s initial launch took place alongside Rotterdam’s most iconic landmark, the Erasmus Bridge. The project debuts as a movie première at with the potential for future exhibits. The project is supported by researchers and experts from all over the world and is based on scientific papers written at Columbia University and Hiroshima University.

Jet Bussemaker, President of the Council of the Public Health & Society Board, the Netherlands’ independent parliamentary advising body, praised the project: "It is inspiring. People are tired of COVID19. What we need is courage to find new solutions, to get in touch with each other, and create some intimacy. That is what Urban Sun is doing."

Designing solutions Studio Roosegaarde has been researching the power of light for many years. The self-funded Urban Sun was begun in 2019. The COVID19 pandemic made the project much more urgent. Urban Sun connects design with science to provide innovative solutions to create spaces for people to meet and exchange in a safer and a more humane way. Urban Sun can be exhibited in any type of public space and serves as a call to action to governments and partners to speed-up and upscale applications. Concrete proposals can be emailed to [email protected].

Creation Urban Sun is created by Roosegaarde’s team, along with external experts and scientists from the Netherlands, the US, Japan, and Italy. The Urban Sun’s far-UVC light source is measured and calibrated by the Dutch National Metrology Institute VSL. Urban Sun meets the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) safety standards. 

The science behind Urban Sun is based on multiple peer-reviewed journal articles authored by scientists from Columbia University and Hiroshima University. The research shows that specific ultraviolet light (far-UVC) with the wavelength of 222nm can reduce the presence of viruses, including various strains of coronavirus and influenza, up to 99.9%. Even though traditional 254nm UV light is harmful, this specific light of 222nm is considered safe for both people and animals.* 

Daan Roosegaarde: “Suddenly our world is filled with plastic barriers and distance stickers, our family reduced to pixels on a computer screen. Let’s be the architects of our new normal and create better places to meet and interact.” 

Authorities about Urban Sun Leading authorities are enthusiastic about the project and are describing it as hopeful, promising and full of courage:

  -      Carlo D’Alesio from MEG Science and Professor at Politecnico di Milano: “Virtual simulations indicate a positive impact of the Urban Sun in reduction of airborne coronaviruses in public spaces.“

-        Matthew Hardwick PhD, President at ResInnova Laboratories, Washington D.C., who works with his team of virus experts and microbiologists: “Use of 222nm far-UVC in public space, as in Urban Sun, should prove to be both safe and effective.”

-        Professor Karl Linden, award winning innovator in UV technologies and founding board member of the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA), Colorado: “Urban Sun is inspiring. It will make enjoying public spaces safer and I look forward to visiting locations where this far-UVC sun is shining.”

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About Studio Roosegaarde As a social design lab, Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde and his team of designers and engineers connect people and technology in designs that improve daily life in urban environments and spark imagination. It has won numerous international design awards. Internationally acclaimed works include WATERLICHT (a virtual flood showing the power of water), SMOG FREE PROJECT (the world's first and largest outdoor air purifier which turns smog into jewellery), SMART HIGHWAY (roads that charge throughout the day and glow at night) and the SPACE WASTE LAB (visualising and upcycling space waste). Urban Sun is the second of the series of Dreamscapes by Studio Roosegaarde and MediaMonks which show the beauty of combining art and science to create a better world. 

*Buonanno, M., Welch, D., Shuryak, I., & Brenner, D. J. (2020). Far-UVC light (222nm) efficiently and safely inactivates airborne human coronaviruses. Scientific Reports 10, 10285 (2020).

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Status: Built
Location: Rotterdam, NL
Firm Role: Pr & Communication Junior
Additional Credits: Daan Roosegaarde and his team of designers, external experts, and scientists challenged themselves to discover how the power of light can be used to combat viruses and therefore enhance our well-being.

Photography by Willem de Kam, Ossip van Duivenbode and Daan Roosegaarde. Movie by MediaMonks and Studio Roosegaarde.

With special thanks to Jet Bussemaker, Public Health and Society Board, Matthew Hardwick PhD, President at ResInnova Laboratories, MediaMonks: Victor Knaap, Regina Romeijn, Jacques Vereecken, Karlijn Hendriksen, Els Tau, Tim Knots, Rotterdam Festivals, Professor Karl G. Linden of International Ultraviolet Association, Carlo D'Alesio of MEG Science and Professor at Politecnico di Milano, Dutch National Metrology Institute VSL, Andrea Evers of Leiden University, Project Open Air, Francis Goeltner, City of Rotterdam, Rotterdam Partners, NBTC, Bijl PR, Constantijn van Oranje, Eric van Eerdenburg Lowlands, RIVM National Institute for Public Health and Environment, Feike Sijbesma of DSM, City of Amsterdam, Omar Hatamleh of NASA, Dimitris Bountolos of Ferrovial, Jose Mariano of Zero2Infinity, Carlo Ratti of MIT Senseable City Lab, Luis Eljaiek, David Brenner, Ph.D., D.Sc of Columbia University, LUXIGON, Ann Maes, and many others.

COVID-19 Ontvang de laatste informatie van de Rijksoverheid over COVID-19. Meer informatie op Google World's first Urban Sun by Roosegaarde cleans public spaces of the coronavirus [Official Movie]