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The awards, founded by the John Hardy Group, have challenged designers and students to come up with innovative designs to tackle real problems within the hospitality industry for the last eight years. This year's winning concept gives outdated hotel buildings 'green lungs', where greenhouse gardens act as air filters to remove harmful toxins in the air and replenish it with oxygen.
Lip started his appeal to the competition's jury with the shocking statistics that there are between 350,000 and 500,000 premature deaths in China every year due to air pollution, which reached an all time high in January this year. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor pollution can be 10 times more dangerous than outdoor pollution, making buildings no longer a safe place to hide.
Alongside this crisis is another: 70% of the 280,000 hotels in China are owned independently and most of these occupy tired buildings in need of a revamp. Lip's Green Air Hotel concept hopes to solve both by installing indoor green air filters to improve a hotels' aesthetics and prevent indoor pollution.
Lip goes on to explain, "NASA and other scientists have proven that certain plants absorb air toxins and purify air. These plants have been identified according to their ability to filter air, different lighting needs, ease of growth and maintenance, resistance to pests, and rate of transpiration.
Based on this scientific research we designed natural ‘Green Lungs’ for 4 typical hotel spaces: Façade, lobby, corridor and room.
For each space, we calculated the corresponding volume of air, and used a method created by retired NASA scientist Dr. Wolvertonto to derive a recommended number of plants to purify the air. Plants with different lighting needs are allocated accordingly."
Starwood's President, Simon Turner, mentored Lip on the concept, which builds on the vertical gardens already present in Starwood's Westin hotels. In 2012 Westin was the first large global hotel brand to embrace the living wall concept, filling hotel public spaces with plants to de-stress guests and clean the air.
Radical Innovation hopes that the Green Air Hotel concept will be rolled out within the next three to four years, changing the way greenery is used in hospitality design.