This Art Installation Is An On-The-Ground-Cloud You Can Walk Inside

<p>A pavilion set up in the middle of Milan is allowing people to experience what it's like to walk around in a giant, clean cloud without breathing in a chemical atmosphere. But it's only the first step in a plan to control temperature in entire cities.</p>


May 20 2019, Updated 7:07 p.m. ET

Milan Design Week is in full force for 2018, and many of the installations are connecting new technology to old ways of experiencing the city. One sculpture by artist Takehiro Ikeda called "Transitions" is using air-purifying technology from Panasonic to bring a cloud down to Earth.

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The giant pod is in the center of the Brera Design District, Inhabitat reports, and is being described as a “water-drop pavilion." It's not just a giant balloon to look at. Visitors can actually go inside and breath the air—and it contains very special air.

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Generally, if you're in a space filled with mist, like the club, for instance, the cloudy air is being created by chemicals that can be bad for the health of people breathing the fumes in. The Transitions pod used only water to create the interior atmosphere of fine mist created by Panasonic's Nanoe X technology. 

The Nanoe X uses the natural moisture in the air, then zaps it with a high voltage. That creates nano-sized particles of water—or as we know it, mist. The water is kept clean and fresh smelling with OH radicals, which inhibit viruses and bacteria, that also prevents molds and the accumulation of allergens.

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The pavilion has also made mist even mistier; a “silky fine mist,” by Panasonic's description. Usually, man-made mist is created via a two-fluid nozzle, with large compressors. Transition's environment is created with low-pressure air, which could theoretically be scaled up to cool larger spaces, perhaps even a more generalized area of the city. Ikeda made the tent as a kind of test for what the tech can do; for example, in 2020, the Summer Olympics will be taking place in Tokyo, which has a pretty hot season. 

Ikeda believes the same technology could be used to cool areas at or near the Olympic games. That sounds like an outlandishly big project, but the technology is actually fairly energy efficient. The entire pavilion, for example, only requires a few gallons of water every time it goes through its cycle. It's hard to imagine an entire city being cooled by a fabricated cloud, but it may one day be a cooling technology we all depend on.

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