Clean living

For many, air-conditioning has been a godsend over the last few days, making tasks like battling through Tesco and putting an issue of Design Week together just about manageable, despite the heat.

But like many necessary evils of urban living, air-conditioning can leave us feeling dried-out and divorced from the natural environment.

This, says Philips, is why it has launched the Livable Cities Awards, which will give a total prize fund of more than £100 000 to individuals, community groups and businesses that come up with ideas that improve the health and well-being of city dwellers.

Healing Bed from Philips
Healing Bed from Philips

To get brains ticking over, Philips has revealed some ideas of its own. First up is the Healing Bed, which uses UV, infra-red and other frequency spectrum filters to transport sun and moonlight into a fibre-optic bed canopy. It can be programmed to produce natural light effects filter light frequencies with therapeutic properties to help you wake up in a more relaxing way.

Sound Barrier from Philips
Sound Barrier from Philips

The Sound Barrier uses noise-cancelling technology to filter out noise pollution while letting in natural sounds. But perhaps the most bizarre creation is the Air Tree, a textile-covered vaporiser that ‘breathes’ in a rhythm dictated by the airflow outside.

Air Tree
Air Tree

Unlike air-conditioning, the tree can vary the breeze and moisture in the air and its mobile element works as a kind of barometer, reflecting the weather outside. A great idea, but a bit of a shame that the plastic bags and twigs design lacks the slickness of the other two products.

If you think you could do better, visit the Livable Cities Award website to find out how to enter your own concepts. The deadline for submissions is 28 October.

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