The ANDREA air purifier was invented by French designer Mathieu Lehanneur with Harvard professor David Edwards, as part of a 2007 science experiment. Exhibited at the MoMa in 2008, it also that year won the Popular Science Invention of the Year Award.
ANDREA has a real ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ look about it, which is apt given where the idea for the device came from. In the 1980s NASA scientists, in response to their curiosity on the high level of toxins in the body tissue of returning astronauts, surrounded on their time in space by plastic, fibreglass, insulation and fire-retardents. The stuff of not only life in space, but also ever increasingly life on Earth. Lehanneur and Edwards dug up NASA research on the notion of the ability of plants to absorb toxins.
Their research, and design skills, brought about the ANDREA. The device works by using a fan to attract air into the container that houses the plant, and then forces the air out through the leaves and soil, a multistage system that removes such elements as formaldehyde from your home or office, plus refreshes any stagnant air. Formaldehyde, how does that get in my house?” I can hear you say. Plastic furniture, glue, insulating materials, cleaning products and more.
Of course a number of plants by themselves will do a similar job, but ANDREA has been found in tests conducted by RTP Labs to do so more quickly, and more efficiently. It does this, by the way, without any additional filter – the plant, soil and water are the filtration system.The makers claim that the ANDREA works so quickly, there’s no need to have it switched on for long periods, you can get the desired clean-air result by switching the device on and off as needed.
Any type of plant can be used, but some are recommended as being more effective – gerbera, philodendron, the spathiphyllum, the pathos and chlorophytum to mention a few. Please note that the plant component does not ship with the ANDREA, you’ll need to add one of your own choice.
The ANDREA is a striking piece of design, a blend of nature and science, and is bound to be talking point. It is 45 cm high, and 32 cm in diameter.
Price and availability
ANDREA took the inventors 1 year to develop, at a cost of $260,000, but you can pick one up for 149 Euros, in either white or black (it’s an additional 8 Euros for the black). Visit the Buy Now section of the ANDREA site (link opens in a new window) – there are links for shipping to the USA, France, United Kingdom and Ireland, or the Rest of the World.
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