Given Hong Kong's pollution, air purifiers can be a godsend, especially on those particularly muggy days. And the home-proud no longer need to contemplate something clunky and clinical-looking. Designers are making the appliances, some of which boast hi-tech or green touches, look like integral parts of a modern living space.
From Humanscale (humanscale.com) comes the ZON Personal Air Purifier (right), which looks like a cool speaker and comes in white, red or black. The machine, which can remove up to 99 per cent of airborne particles, sells for HK$3,000 and is available through Humanscale in Hong Kong (tel: 2581 0570).
From Paris-based company LaboGroup comes the Andrea (andreaair.com), billed as the only air purifier that uses the science of botany to do its thing. The Andrea was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2008, and has won awards for its concept: a houseplant is placed inside the purifier and a fan draws in toxins from the environment and circulates them around the plant's roots and leaves, allowing the toxins to be absorbed. The makers say toxins from formaldehyde, paint and carpets are removed and clean air is circulated back into the environment. It sells for about US$200 through numerous online retailers (including Hammacher Schlemmer and Amazon), or directly through the company's website.
Designed to blend into the environment is the Viktor, from Swiss company Stadler Form (stadlerform.ch). Retailing for US$299, the Viktor has five levels of use, ranging from extremely quiet to powerful, depending on what is happening with the ambient environment that day. For more information, contact the Hong Kong distributor, Premier International Marketing, tel: 2743 8062.
Fans of everything Ikea might like to have a look at Patrull, a retro-looking purifier that doesn't use much energy to freshen the home or office space. It's quiet, too, and retails for about US$180.
The Airwake by Paris-based Air Sur (airsurliving.com) is still in the prototype stage and uses the same technology as a product manufactured by the company for use in hospitals. Airwake was designed by furniture designer Jean-Marie Massaud and has a sleek and sophisticated aesthetic. We're told that it eliminates everything from microbiological pollutants, including bacteria, viruses and allergens, to chemical ones, such as ammonia and formaldehyde, making it especially useful for homes with babies or elderly people, and anyone suffering from allergies, asthma or sensitivity to chemicals. According to company president Thomas Kerting, the unit will retail for Euro2,500 (HK$25,000).