Daikin installation for Milan Design Week
Commissioned by global air conditioning manufacturer Daikin Industries, Every Air is an exhibition that casts a new light on and challenges our preconceptions about the air surrounding us. We originally developed it as a site-specific experience for Milan Design Week 2020 but produced a film version of the installation when the event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hold out your hand.
You are currently carrying 100kg of air.
It may seem as though there's nothing special
about the air that surrounds us,
but upon closer examination,
it's actually quite extraordinary.
Air is what keeps the planet warm,
creates the four seasons, and also keeps us alive.
Perhaps we overlook its significance
because of its ubiquity,
but what if we could see it, touch it?
Even in the 15 seconds
it took you to read the text above,
you have inhaled four litres of air,
the jet stream in the sky has moved 1.5 kilometres,
and humans have emitted more than
15,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Every Air shines a new light
on the air that surrounds us.
Enter the exhibition and
challenge your preconceptions about air —
what you discover may surprise you.
Different sizes of transparent balloons float in mid-air.
When the space goes dark, the balloons are illuminated by bluish-green text that appear in the centre of each balloon.
Each balloon carries a story behind the amount of air it contains.
"This contains at least 100 air molecules from Julius Caesar's last breath."
"The amount of CO2 in a 500 ml bottle of Coke."
"At this very moment, this is the amount of CO2 emitted globally every one-millionth of a second."
The lights on-site fluctuate between bright and dim, bringing the size of each balloon into focus and encouraging visitors walking around the objects to think about the significance of air, which often goes unnoticed.
Each of the seventeen balloons carries a different story.
We selected messages that reminded us of the air around us, sparked our imagination, and promoted environmental awareness.
"The amount of air you breathe in a minute of running."
"This contains roughly 60,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (sixty sextillion) air molecules."
"The amount of gas produced from a cow in one day."
The Ventura area located under the Milan Central Station was the proposed site for Every Air.
As visitors make their way through the installation, they are greeted by a balloon placed in the corner of the passage. This balloon describes the amount of air a person inhales when they take a deep breath.
The path takes visitors to the main area – a spacious room with a vaulted ceiling housing multiple rectangular slatted objects and balloons with glowing text scattered throughout the venue.
We used UV blacklight to reveal the messages on these balloons. The rectangular pieces are engineered to create a moving stream of air upwards so that the balloons are suspended in mid-air.
Facade of exhibition entrance
The making of Every Air.
Takekoshi Minatsu (ex-Takram),
Graham Davies (ex-Takram)