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Under (The) Line

by Marie Melcore

Bioremediating air pollution in indoor public and urban spaces through a self-sufficient filtration system able to reuse volatile pollutants as a resource for a new type of pigment.

bioremediation

air pollution

innovative material

regenerative design

About the project

Air purification is a contemporary topic that must provide quick solutions to ensure an environmental resilience and a safe place to use for urban citizens.

 

At the intersection of biomimicry, material science, new systems thinking and regenerative design, this project aims at bioremediating air pollution in London Underground stations. This has led to a design which goes beyond the filtering process towards bioremediating air pollution as a resource for the creation of a new type of pigment. Through a self-sufficient filtration system, the urban furniture proposed and the pollution it can store are reusable as pastels.

 

Activated carbon

Made from carbonaceous shells, activated carbon is a renewable resource which can be involved within a circular economy system by upcycling non-edible food waste. Known for its natural filtration properties due to its high microporosity, it is capable of capturing pollutants through a phenomenon called physical adsorption. 

Activated carbon combined with natural resin.

Magnification: 20X

Activated carbon combined with plant-based wax.

Magnification: 1000X

Binding A.C. with natural binders porous enough

to not disturb its filtration properties.

 

Natural binders research to develop the aggregate with the best filtration and graphic properties.

Shaping the pastels: casting process and mould release.

Manufacturing process

Combined with natural binders, activated carbon is shaped by a moulding process. I worked on a parametric and computational design to propose a lattice structure. In that sense, the structure is modular and scalable according to how polluted the surrounding environment is. The pattern composition is bio-inspired by the carbon microporosity in order to encourage the filtration process.

Assembly of the pastels by a threading technique to create the units which will shape the Underground structure.

Air pollution

particles 2500X

Material microporosity

1000X

Scalable lattice

structure

 

Lattice structure

After being suspended for two months in Underground stations, the structures are ready to be deconstructed and sold as pastels. In terms of branding and as a part of the development of a circular economy system, the packaging is made from recycled Metro newspapers. Moreover, an awareness campaign is intended to be set-up in the stations to inform Tube passengers about the the project.

Hanging lattice structures in Underground stations, designed with

a cloudy shape to rise awareness through a visible state of pollution.

Final bio-based pastels using activated carbon and air pollutants

as pigments after the bioremediation process.

Awareness campaign set-up in Underground stations

to inform Tube passengers about the project.

 

Marie Melcore

I am a transdisciplinary design researcher. My aspiration for the biological world started with an interest for biomorphological topologies. After studying Graphic and Textile Design in France, I decided to work towards the development of bio-based and responsible materials to achieve better ecological performance through the practice of Biodesign.

 

As a biodesigner, my goal is to work beyond disciplinary boundaries in order to promote common sustainable issues and to provide comprehensive design proposals which can aid in tackling global problems. I believe that adopting a cross-disciplinary approach, by integrating different fields of study and a collective intelligence, will allow us to find considerate solutions.