In the hills of Los Angeles, two designers inhabit a modern bohemia.
The Molekule Air Mini+ air purifier makes any room feel fresher, and full of light.
I DUBBED HER Mariah Carey: My Molekule Air Mini+ came to me at the perfect time, right after I found a new apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. We had all just spent our first year cooped up in our homes thanks to lockdown, and I was looking for a fresh start. My new bedroom faced south and west, with big windows that let in heaps of afternoon light. I bought new, crisp white bedding and donated garbage bags full of possessions from the old place that were weighing me down.
And I got a Molekule air purifier. I placed it by my bed as a kind of pollution dream catcher, stopping bad air in its tracks while letting only the good stuff through to help me sleep in peace. What better symbolic name for it than Mariah, a pure, powerful set of lungs that filters out all that’s ugly and emits something heavenly and light?
Molekule has all kinds of scientific data to back up their claim that their machines make the environment in enclosed spaces much, much cleaner. To begin with, every Mini+ performs broad particle capture, a good first line of defense, with the machine picking up all the big, nasty pollutants. Then, there’s Molekule’s signature PECO filter, which uses free radicals — which, in a medical capacity, can kill cancer cells — to bust up pollutants on a molecular level, breaking down everything from mold to bacteria. And the latest research suggests that the PECO filter can kill around 99% of SARS-CoV-2 in a small circumference in about an hour.
Look, by its very nature, clean air is one of those things that’s impossible to entirely gauge on your own — it’s quite literally invisible. I just have no way of knowing what my Molekule is doing on a microscopic level. Though I can’t be scientific about it, I do believe my hay fever has improved at home, and I don’t seem to wake up as often with itchy eyes and a dry throat. During summer, when I keep every window firmly shut for the sake of the air conditioner, I like knowing that Mariah is there to circulate some of the stagnant oxygen in my apartment. In the winter, I have a feeling that it softens the dry and brittle heat emitted from my old-fashioned New York radiators. After coming in from a brutal day in Manhattan, every square inch of my body weathered from walking miles of city sidewalk, my room feels fresh and light. Less essential but no less important to me, Mariah is also pretty, has no sharp edges, and is the color of pearl. The gentle hum of her voice — a very quiet and tranquil white noise, and in my estimation, part of the appeal of having one of these machines — makes me feel comforted, velvety, and clean.
So even while it's true that I can't physically see how Molekule is making my home a holistically healthier one, I feel like it is. But really, domestic bliss is a state of mind as much as a fixed reality. Mariah is a part of that bliss, a complement to new cotton sheets and big bright windows, a certified component of my exciting, fresh start, with at least in my mind, the lungs of an angel.
Alex Frank is a contributing editor at Departures. Based in Manhattan, Frank previously worked at Vogue.com as deputy culture editor. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, GQ, Pitchfork, New York Magazine, Fantastic Man, and the Village Voice.
Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.
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