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Creating new lights that make use of titanium dioxide to purify the air

Mr. Yuki Funakoshi

The "OTiO" lamp gives off light like taking a slow breath. Its gentle light, like soft clouds, received high marks in the competition it was entered in. "The theme was 'lighting that is kind to the planet,' and the judges highly evaluated my use of titanium dioxide," said Mr. Funakoshi, smiling broadly. After graduating from high school, Mr. Funakoshi enrolled in Shizuoka University and researched next-generation solar batteries. "As I was engaged in research, I started wondering if beautiful things were necessary to help raise understanding in and spread the use of solar batteries." With that in mind, he graduated and then entered the Art & Architecture School of Waseda University. "I enrolled because I thought that I could study in an integrated and broad way there, from design to architecture."

His Silver Prize-winning piece is made of titanium dioxide, an optical catalyst. Titanium doxide is also used in next-generation solar batteries, so it is a material that Mr. Funakoshi is very familiar with. When he thought that he wanted to make lighting that could help improve the environment in ways other than just using energy economically and having high efficiency, "the idea of titanium dioxide just came to me." When titanium dioxide is exposed to ultra-violet rays from sunlight or fluorescent lamps, it causes toxic substances in the air, such as nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide, and formaldehyde, to decompose. By making use of these special characteristics, "the OTiO lamp purifies the air every time you use it," said Mr. Funakoshi. "The name of the product is based on the chemical formula for titanium dioxide, which is TiO2." The lampshade around the light is coated with a specially ordered titanium dioxide filter for industrial use. "By making the lampshade a filter, greater decomposition of toxic substances can be achieved. IT also creates soft, gentle light." OTiO's design is simple and has great persuasive power.

Mr. Funakoshi's graduation design project is a piece entitled, "Festival, Curtain, Communal Housing." He proposed building an apartment building in Nadachi Ward, which looks out on Harima Sound, in his hometown of Himeji City. "Nadachi Ward is famous for its 'Fighting Festival' that has been held for approximately 650 years." Thanks to that festival, the ties between locals are deep. "My family is very close to our neighbors, something which I'm proud of," said Mr. Funakoshi. He submitted a housing plan that makes use of this unity - the pride of the locals - and says that he hopes to "continue designing" in a wide variety of fields. "Lately I've been thinking that festivals are also an amazing type of design," he said, laughing. "The portable shrines are the only actual examples of design, but festivals influence the atmosphere and flavor of a town, peoples' emotions, and even human relations. I'd like to design things that have invisible effects, just like festivals."

*1 This international composition has been held since 1987 by Koizumi Lighting Technology Corp., which designs and develops a wide range of lighting equipment residences and businesses. It is the only competition for students worldwide, and provides opportunities for success for many students who aspire to be designers.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Yuki Funakoshi

Born in 1985 in Hyogo Prefecture. Graduated from Himeji Higashi Senior High School and Shizuoka University. This spring, he graduated from the Art & Architecture School of Waseda University. In 2009, he won the Silver Prize in the 22nd Koizumi International Lighting Design Competition (*1) out of 1,184 entries. He is devoted to his hometown of Himeji City, and views his life work as returning each October - except for 2009 when he was busy with preparations for the graduation design - to participate in the annual "Nada Fighting Festival" at Matsubara Hachiman Shrine. His favorite designer is Jasper Morrison.