City Forests: Eco-Friendly Mural in Poland Improves Air Quality

A mural using special paint that removes pollution from the air has been painted in Warsaw, Poland.

The mural is part of a series organised by Converse, the American shoe manufacturer, called City Forests. The company is collaborating with artists in 13 cities around the world and sponsoring a series of murals around the world using KNOxOUT paint.

KNOxOUT is a photocatalytic paint that helps to clean the air. This technology uses light energy as a catalyst for a process that turns noxious air pollutants, emitted by cars, factories and power stations, into water, small amounts of CO2 and calcium nitrate.

Any surface coated with this paint becomes an active air-purifying surface that helps protect people from harmful gases.

The Warsaw mural has planted the equivalent of 780 trees, or 16 football pitches. Converse claims that their City Forest murals that are spread across several cities worldwide account for the equivalent of 4,894 trees and counting.

Warsaw currently represents the second city to finish a mural after Bangkok, Thailand, with seven more cities later joining the City Forests series — Belgrade, Lima, Sydney, Manila, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Johannesburg, and more still to come. In total, there are 13 cities planned to take part in the campaign.

Polish artists Maciek Polak, an illustrator, muralist, and graphic designer and Dawid Ryski, who currently works as an illustrator and graphic designer, designed the image that was executed by Good Looking Studio. It was erected on a building facing a popular metro station, Politechnika and consists of a collection of smiling flowers entwined among some high-rise buildings. Ryski said of their work: “My vision of a better future was well reflected on our project. I see it as a symbiosis of the city and nature, complementing each other perfectly.”

Painted across the flowers are the words “Create Together For Tomorrow,” a positive message to inspire change, which Converse feels will help welcome people who are returning to their daily routines after long periods of Covid-19 isolation.

“Pollution levels have dropped in many cities around the world as people are no longer commuting as much,” said a spokesperson for Converse.

“Companies are working slower, and for the time being everything has slowed down. At Converse we saw this as an opportunity to speak up and help produce fresh air through painting murals. Furthermore, we felt it was a good way to reunite communities as they return to normal life after such a long period of isolation.”

A central concept for Converse’s City Forest project was the idea of ‘planting trees’ where they would not usually be able to grow.

However, Converse are not the only ones to use this initiative. Dutch designer Studio Roosegaarde set up a series of billboards in Monterrey, Mexico, using the same photocatalytic paint as artists in Warsaw. Every one of the billboards generates clean air equal to 30 trees every six hours and can function for up to five years.