What does a ton of CO2 look like?

A planned new waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen will feature an art installation that will blow 30-metre smoke rings out of its chimney as a reminder of the pollution it is emitting

A planned new waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen will feature an art installation that will blow 30-metre smoke rings out of its chimney as a reminder of the pollution it is emitting

BIG VORTEX is the idea of Berlin-based artists realities:united. Waste gases will leave the chimney of the plant (which will turn waste into energy) as revolving gas clouds in the shape of smoke rings. The rings become visible due to the condensation of water in the flue gases as they slowly rise and cool, before resolving into the air. The rings produced in this way will, the artists estimate, be 30 metres in diameter and three metres thick and “constitute exactly one ton of fossil carbon dioxide, which is added to the atmosphere”. “[In] this way the rather abstract pollution aspect gets somewhat more graspable and understandable, something you can see and relate to,” the artists say.

Each should be visible for around 45 seconds. At night they will be lit by lasers and there are even plans to project pie charts of pollution data onto them.

The installation is part of the Amagerforbraending Denmark state of the art waste-to-energy processing plant to be created by BIG architects following an international competition. Its roof will be double as a ski slope, thereby “mobilizing the architecture and redefining the relationship between the waste plant and the city,” according to the press blurb.

The smoke rings are seemingly meant as a reminder that, although the plant’s work in turning waste into energy is generally seen as a good thing, it too produces pollution, so it would be better to produce less waste in the first place. “We admit, that we are an industrial plant. But with smoke rings we signal, that we are also something else. Many believe, that if you throw something away, it is gone, but it is actually not. And by sending smoke rings we’d like to make it noticeable, that we are here, and that we’re solving a problem that the city has when it’s getting rid of its waste,” says Ulla Röttger, Director of Amagerforbraending.

Perhaps if all pollution-emitting buildings and vehicles were required to make the fact visible in this way, it would prompt more urgent action but the whole thing does sound somewhat ominous.

More from CR

Design By Day: The People You’re Not

Manchester-based Design by Day have produced the identity and marketing materials for a new show on the subject of fame at the city’s Cornerhouse arts centre; The People You’re Not

Look after your spines, book designers

In design terms, it’s probably the most neglected area of a book’s cover, but new website Fixabook claims to offer a few pointers on how to get your spine in shape, amidst critique dedicated to creating eye-catching jackets

The original supergraphiste

Barbara Stauffacher Solomon’s pioneering large-scale graphic work from the late 1960s helped transform modern architectural and design practice, yet, despite her early success, she became disillusioned once she had “learned that to design is to do the work of the Devil”

Non-Latin faces

Our first Type Annual showcases excellence in international typeface design over the past year. Those entries in our Non-Latin section features fonts created for type characters outside of the Latin alphabet.

IIASA_115x115

Graphic Designer

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Centaur_115x115

Integrated Designer

Centaur Media