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 Rain Palette

"How can rain indicate the quality of the air by location and time?"


Rain Palette aims to provide an easy and poetic approach to visualising air quality through rainwater. 

The works I have developed are dyed with natural dye that will change colour in reaction to the pH levels of rainwater. This project aims to provide an at-a-glance indication of atmospheric air quality, with the potential for wearers to record and upload rain pH readings online to create a global database of real-time environmental data.

Rain is a natural process, from clouds to water as in the water-cycle. Rain moistens our world as if covering it with transparent layers. It shows the quality of the air that we breathe can affect our health and quality of life. Air conditions can also have a major impact on ecosystems and our climate change. It is therefore important to monitor air quality, in order to understand the problems and how they can be managed effectively, at local, national and international level.

I visited South Korea after there was devastating earthquake and nuclear power plant explosion in Japan, which is the nearest neighbouring country, in 2011. People were surrounded by fears of radiation rain and acid rain which might have come from Japan. As a result, many schools were temporarily closed because of a shower of complaints and intense anxiety. Groundless rumours were spread throughout the Asian countries while actually an extremely small amount of radioactivity was detected from rain in a particular area. I thought the fear would not have been as high if they had been able to check actual data easily by themselves, without depending on news or articles. This phenomenon led me to take a profound interest in rain and its impact. Especially I focused on acid rain and began researching its effects.

Design by Dahea Sun

My intention is to have an easy and poetic approach to show the air condition through rainwater visually. I focused on the pH level of rain, which usually varies on a local basis and represents the quality of the air, and tried showing it visually in a textile context, where it will create a range of interactions. The variation between location and date is a vital element for this project to make people aware. It has a range of colour changes with indicators.In addition, the aim of my project is to coordinate between fashion and consumers to give them a chance to pay attention to environmental issues as they participate in collecting individual data in interactive ways to communicate the air quality. I hope this project would contribute to raising public awareness of acid rain, pollution and other environmental issues and promoting the environmental consequences of our behaviour as consumers.

Based on material exploration with red cabbage dye, I applied as the form of apparel textiles using the property that alters colour by pH levels of the rain. At the same time, my design direction was in a sophisticated and poetic way.I focused on making exquisite samples combining traditional craft skills such as knitting, embroidery and crochet. I have developed the way to maximize the beauty of colour changes from rain designed by ever-changing natural conditions, not by hand, so that people become aware and appreciate design by new responsive materials combining natural science in a textile context.

In my project, experiential conscience is a key to life, understating sustainability and is something beyond the scientific or academic knowledge. It is expressed through natural reactions, participation and communication, and encouraged in worthwhile action in our lives. It has an important value that raises public consciousness about environmental issues such as air pollution. There are a number of designs for sustainability. As a result, more and more, we are living in a conscientious lifestyle as a trend. People act like socially responsible agents who desire personal participation and respond in todays social and environmental conscience by investing time and consuming. Sustainability is in everything we do and in everything we wear in real life. I believe that my project can lead to potential design innovation by using natural science and interactive data collection and present the poetic and sensuous qualities of textile design for a sustainable long-term future.

Design by Dahea Sun

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