Daan Roosegaarde: Solving The Layer Of Junk In Space

Daan Roosegaarde has been working for years at solving social issues from a creative, innovative and art perspective. He connects dots that aren’t obviously related, which of course is the hallmark of creativity.

Space Waste Lab

Roosegaarde’s newest ambition is to upcycle space waste into shooting stars and moon habitats. At his Rotterdam based company, Studio Roosegaarde, Daan and his fellow designers and engineers have been working on finding solutions for capturing space waste and to upcycling it into useful and sustainable products since June 2018. As the studio mention on their website: “More than 29.000 objects larger than 10 centimeters are floating around the earth. It is space waste; parts of broken rockets and satellites. This waste can damage our current satellites, with collisions creating more space waste and disturbing our digital communications. And nobody really knows how to fix it.”

Products that the innovative studio has in mind, are for instance artificial shooting stars, space waste ‘vacuum cleaners’, and 3D printed structures for the moon. An ambitious and boundary breaking plan to fix the layer of junk.


Social design from a sense of purpose

What appeals to me in Roosegaarde’s approach in general, is the strong urge to 'design our way out' of today's global challenges, as he mentioned in an interview with designboom. I think that’s beautifully put, because design is all about finding solutions from a source of purpose. Not just making pretty things for the sake of it.

Daan’s projects have been winning awards in abundance, for instance Smog Free Tower, Windvogel (energy generating kites which produce green energy), and Icoon Afsluitdijk including the Gates of Light, and his Van Gogh bicycle paths. All these projects have been created in public space, so anyone can benefit from and enjoy them.

Path finding

Sometimes a rocky road is exactly what’s needed. Daan’s road to finding his true mission was a tad rocky during his college years, with some switches in focus in education and experiment. It takes resilience and perseverance to find one’s true calling. In my perception, it’s when your core qualities, talents, joy and purpose collide. Once that’s found and is being nourished on a daily basis, there is no boundary between yourself and the conception of ideas anymore. Which is probably why Roosegaarde’s work is vehemently boundary crossing. Remember: ‘There is no spoon. It is not the spoon that bends. It is only yourself.” This is why that’s so true.