Tree.ONE Expands its Horizons with a Sculptural Approach to Improving Air Quality

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Did you know that mature trees can help sequester and store carbon dioxide, making them vital for combating climate change? Researchers and designers are exploring biomimicry to develop innovative solutions, drawing inspiration from nature, including ecoLogicStudio’s Tree.ONE sculpture.

Unveiled at the Chengdu Biennale 2023 and commissioned by Hyundai Motor Company, Tree.ONE is a mesmerizing 3D-printed sculpture that resembles pixelated flora. The sculpture consists of three components: Roots, Trunk, and Canopy, all created through robotic printing. The entire structure operates as a “living” system, utilizing the cultivation of liquid microalgae in four intricately designed bioreactors integrated into the pleated trunk of Tree.ONE.

The pleated trunk design of Tree.ONE is inspired by the buttress roots and trunk morphology of trees that grow in marsh-swamp ecosystems. This design provides support for the sculpture’s 3D-printed aeration components, which consist of robotically printed algal biopolymers, lab-grade borosilicate glass, and living cultures of chlorella in a green liquid medium.

Tree.ONE’s sculptural system captures and stores carbon dioxide while purifying urban air through Chlorella algae cultures. The trunk’s pleated morphology serves both artistic and functional purposes, securing and organizing the aeration network. This integration of form and function showcases the synergy between art and utility in the sculpture.

To educate visitors about the concept of creating urban “forests” that cleanse the air, the Tree.ONE exhibition also features bioplastic samples, algae-based biomaterial filaments, information about algae cultivation systems, and small-scale 3D-printed biodegradable prototypes.

Although eco-technology presents immense opportunities in the fight against climate change, it is worth considering reintegrating native flora into cities instead of manufacturing robotic simulacrums. The Tree.ONE exhibition aims to highlight this concept and will be on display at the Chengdu Contemporary Art Museum in Chengdu, China, until November 22, 2023.

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