Meta Material showed people at this year’s Milan Design Week that just because you want to breathe clean air does not mean you have to use a clunky and industrial-looking contraption to do the job. The Italian company’s recycled corrugated cardboard kits can be shaped into many forms – from a cute cactus to a minimalist cube – and act as both anti-bacterial air filters and room decor.

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Tags: Milan Design Week, milan design week 2012, cactus shaped filters, air filters, anti-bacterial air filters, italy, usb, cactus shaped filters, Meta Material

Meta Material wants to make one thing clear though – while their filters are fashionable, they’re more interested in their functionality. Many offices and buildings are germ magnets because of outdated air conditioning and heating systems. Meta Materials’ filters are designed to scrub the air even more while providing respiratory relief with almost no noise. Just to show that an ecological and pretty gadget can do more than look good, the company provides users with a bevy of charts that demonstrate the difference one of their air filters, made out of recycled cardboard–yes, cardboard–can make in one’s environment. The company claims a variety of natural substances filter bacteria and other contaminants at a higher rate than conventional industrial air filters on the market.

And if you are mobile and want to make sure the air around you is free of bacteria and viruses, the air filters come with a USB connection that you can plug into your laptop. For now the filters start at about $26 for the simple cube design to $52 for larger sizes. If your heart is set on the cactus or a customized shape, Metal Material can quote you a price.

+ Meta Material

Photos via Meta Material and Inhabitat