Dezeen Magazine

Bel-Air by Mathieu Lehanneur

Bel-Air is a filtration system designed by Mathieu Lehanneur, which uses living plants to purify the air indoors.

The purifier is currently on show at the Laboratoire in Paris and will be included in MoMA's exhibition Design and the Elastic Mind, opening in February.

The following information is from Mathieu Lehanneur:


The air quality indoors is worse than outdoors. Plastic used for furniture production emits pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.Their levels are highest during warm and humid periods.

Crucially for the health of NASA's astronauts, who stay in orbital station in a polymer-saturated environment, the American agency set up an air purifying system which resulted from a program of research into plants in the early 1980's.

With Bel-Air, this program is now completed and optimized by French designer Mathieu Lehanneur, together with the American scientist David Edwards (HarvardUniversity), and ready for domestic use.

Bel-Air is a mini mobile greenhouse that continuously inhales the space-polluted air, forces it through three natural filters (the plant leaves, its roots, and a humid bath) before ejecting it, purified.

This patented principal has two advantages: Bel-Air is to the American and Asiatic common filter appliances what Dyson is to regular vacuum cleaners. Here, the noxious particles are captured, and transformed inside the system. No more filters to change, and no more clogs.

As for the aesthetic, Bel-Air breaks the codes. The plant is removed from its ornamental status and becomes a true object of service. As a vegetal brain enclosed in an aluminium and Pyrex cranial box, Bel-Air is the cutting-edge of new objects and guardian angels that will soon protect us.

Bel-Air can currently 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 its behaviour and condition of use to the conception team.Accordingly, Bel-Air will improve before production during 2009.

Bel-air will be presented atMoMA,New Yorkin the exhibition "Design and the Elastic mind" starting next February.

Bel-Air - News about a Second Atmosphere, is currently presented inParisuntilJanuary 14, 2008at the Laboratoire, a new Parisian site initiating collaborations between artists, designers and scientists.

First two images © Mathieu Lehanneur

Third image © Marc Domage

Fourth image © Véronique Huyghe

Last image © Bruno Cogez


Posted by Rose Etherington