Lingnan’s mini air purifier PureAura wins iF Design Gold Award Top design Industry prize

6 May 2024

The mini air purifier PureAura, designed and developed by Lingnan University's Entrepreneurship Initiative (LEI), has received the 2024 iF Design Gold Award in the Product - Building Technology category. The iF Design Award is widely regarded as the Oscars of the design industry, and Lingnan University is the sole Hong Kong institution, and one of only eight universities worldwide, to be given this honour since the Gold Awards' inception in 1954.


One of the most prestigious design awards in the world, the iF Design Award attracted 10,800 entries from 72 countries this year. PureAura’s humanitarian design stood out, and it is one of only 75 recipients to receive the coveted iF Gold Trophy. This formal recognition puts Lingnan University alongside global giants such as Apple, Sony, Samsung, Toyota, and HP, who also won Gold Awards this year. PureAura can be used in any corner of a small subdivided unit, and its unique wall-mountable design makes it ideal for small, cluttered rooms. The brand-new foldable design means it can be set up and disassembled quickly, so that it is convenient both for home and travel. PureAura is made of recyclable plastic materials, so that it highlights environmental sustainability as well as addressing indoor air quality.


The project was to produce a low-cost air purifier suitable for the confined spaces that many low-income families in Hong Kong occupy, and the iF Design Awards judges praised PureAura as a fine example of humanitarian technology.


Prof S. Joe Qin, President and Wai Kee Kau Chair Professor of Data Science, delighted by the LEI team standing out from so many better-known brands, said Lingnan University has always used scientific research to address societal issues and benefit the community. This award recognises Lingnan's diverse capacity in innovation and technology, our continuous pursuit of excellence, and our contributions to humanitarian inventions with social impact. It also demonstrates the power of collaboration between government, business, the community, and academia. I look forward to Lingnan’s continued excellence in research and development in humanity centered innovations and knowledge creation, as the university shines brightly on the global stage.”


The innovative PureAura air purifier project was led by Prof Albert Ko, Director of the Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative, and Adrian Lo Chun-kwong, Product Design Lead of the Office of Service-Learning. On 29 April, they travelled to Berlin, Germany to speak at the awards ceremony, where Prof Ko said “The team is greatly honoured to receive this award. Given the high rental costs in Hong Kong, over 100,000 low-income families live in subdivided units with limited space, no windows, and poor ventilation, and with lavatories in the kitchens. Our team used recyclable materials to develop a cost-effective, highly efficient, easy-to-maintain, and compact air purifier that greatly improves air quality. Everyone has the right to breathe clean air, and should be able to access well-designed scientific products. We are proud of Lingnanians, and of Hong Kong’s competence in innovation and design.


PureAura's excellent design was not only recognised at the iF Design Awards but also at the 49th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva, where it also received a Gold Medal. The President of the jury, Mr David Taji, praised PureAura’s design, and in addition to the jury’s official approval, PureAura was also commended by many visitors from Switzerland and other European countries, who believe it is a great project for educating the younger generation in the importance of addressing air pollution and the environment.


The pocket-sized air purifier has been scientifically proven to reduce the concentration of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) indoors by up to 80 per cent, lowering it to less than 5 μg/m^3, which aligns with the World Health Organization (WHO) 2021 Global Air Quality Guidelines with long-term use. The space-saving mini air purifier measures less than 20cm, and weighs only 529 grams, so it can be placed anywhere in a tiny subdivided unit. The production cost of each set, including filters, is about HK$150, and additional filters can be ordered for approximately HK$30. LEI worked with Sham Shui Po District Office of the Home Affairs Department and the Sham Shui Po Residents Association Limited to organise a volunteer team that gave away a thousand free air purifiers to low-income families who lived in subdivided units.


Since the iF Design Awards were established in 1954, outstanding entries from thousands of designers, architects, and companies worldwide have been evaluated each year, and the most innovative and creative designs recognised for their global impact.