Alaa Elassar, CNNTwo murals made of photocatalytic, smog-eating paint have gone up in Bangkok, Thailand, and Warsaw, Poland, as part of a project dubbed Converse City Forests.Converse, the American shoe company, is collaborating with artists in 13 cities around the world to create these giant murals, using a special kind of paint that helps clean the air.”This technology uses light energy to break down noxious air pollutants and convert them into harmless substances,” Converse said. “Any surface coated with this paint becomes an active air-purifying surface that helps protect people from harmful gases.”The mural in Bangkok was created in partnership with two artists: Teerayut Puechpen, known as TRK, and Sorravis Prakong. At the center of the mural, viewers see two hands. It’s meant as a symbol of unity, and in addition to beautifying the city, the mural has the environmental impact of planting 150 trees, Converse said.The mural in Warsaw features the words “Create Together For Tomorrow” amidst buildings and flowers with smiley faces. It was painted by landscape architect and graphic designer Dawid Ryski in collaboration with muralist Maciek Polak. It has the environmental impact of planting 780 trees, Converse said.
The artists chose to erect the mural facing the Politechnika metro station, a popular transit stop. They chose an area free of billboards so that their work would “fit in [the] plants beautifully,” Ryski said.”In my dream future city, billboards would disappear, and everybody here would switch from cars to bicycles,” he added. “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.”Converse City Forests plans to help artists create murals in 11 more cities — including Sydney, Manila, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Belgrade, Lima, Santiago, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Bogota and Panama City. They will all be created using pro-environmental technology, the company said.