It’s not often an artist can say they’ve made something that’s both beautiful and capable of changing the world. By creating the world’s first wall painting that can reduce urban air pollution, however, it’s possible that Italian artist Andreco can now say this with gusto. Andreco used the side of a five-story apartment building in Bologna as his canvas. Over the course of four days, he created a 59-foot mural that will take your breath away while making the air cleaner to breathe.

Andreco, Bologna, wall painting, mural, air pollution, photochemical paint

How did Andreco achieve this amazing feat? Instead of using traditional exterior paints he used a special kind of photochemical paint that reduces the amount of nitrogen monoxide in the air. According to the artist, the artwork represents a big tree, inspired from the Philosophical Tree of the Alchemists of the 14th century. The painting is also designed to resemble a big egg and a crystal, symbols that represents the transition from the organic to inorganic material.

Andreco’s mural is part of the Frontier project, curated by Claudio Musso e Fabiola Naldi and coordinated by the City of Bologna. As a student of anatomy, biology, environmental sustainability, urbanism, and ancient symbolism, Andreco has worked for several international festivals, museums and galleries. Most recently Andreco created a giant anthropomorphic sculpture made by plants selected for their air depuration properties based on a NASA research. Pictures of this “green man” can be seen in the gallery below.