Smog Free Tower launched in Rotterdam

Smog Free Tower launched in Rotterdam

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde has designed a tower which performs a bit like a hoover in public space - it sucks up smog from the air and filters the air to purify it, before expelling it back into the environment.

The seven metre high Smog Free Tower was launched in Rotterdam this weekend, in the presence of Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, who expressed that this was a step towards the future of waste and resources for Rotterdam.

Roosegaarde says that the aim of the project is to "make smog more tangible to people," especially in mega-cities. It is not designed to be an overall solution to the problem of smog, but to provide a "sensory experience" of a potential clean-air future.

Where it started

The idea for the Smog Free Tower arose during Studio Roosegaarde’ s visit to Beijing, where the effect of smog was highlighted. According to Roosegaarde, we live nine months shorter because of smog in the Netherlands.

The studio’s research soon developed into an indoor working prototype, which was further evolved into the Smog Free Tower, which aims to create smog-free air zones in the largest and most polluted cities around the world.

Roosegaarde and his team of experts, including ENS Europe and Professor Bob Ursem from TU Delft, used patented ion technology to produce smog-free air in public space, allowing people to breathe and experience clean air for free.

Smog Free Tower

The tower cleans 30.000 m3 of air per hour of ultra-fine smog, using no more electricity than a water boiler, and runs on green energy.

It performs like a giant air ionizer. The 7 x 3,5 meter (23 x 11,5 foot) structure draws in dirty air and purifies it. This process is said to create a localised bubble that is up to 75 percent cleaner than the rest of the city in which it is located.

The tower uses a small current to send positively-charged ions out into the surrounding air. The ions attach themselves to fine dust particles, which are then drawn back into the tower by an internal negatively-charged surface and subsequently captured.

Making jewellery from smog

By compressing the filtered smog particles, Studio Roosegaarde can create Smog Free Rings and Cufflinks, which they sell for people to support the project.

smog collected Smog Free Ring

The jewellery contains Smog Free Cubes - every cube literally contains the smog out of 1000m3 of air.

Smog Free Movement

The Smog Free Tower is the first step of the Smog Free Movement, which aims to stop pollution with community projects.

"We believe that the Smog Free Tower provides a unique opportunity to get people to understand the issue of air pollution through direct experience. The bubble of clean air that the Smog Free Tower generates will be a place that brings people together to work and think about how we can free our cities of smog," said Roosegaarde.

A global campaign

The Kickstarter campaign is open until September 16th, 2015. Although it has already reached its goal, the studio welcomes additional support as the aim is to take the Smog Free Tower to cities around the world, such as Beijing and Mumbai.

In areas affected by severe air pollution, the Smog Free Tower aims to harvest enough smog to produce over 3.500 Smog Free Cubes per day. A total of one million cubes will be made to support the message of The Smog Free Movement.

About Studio Roosegaarde

Based in the Netherlands and Shanghai, Studio Roosegaarde is known for creating social designs that create futuristic relations between people and technology.

An apt example is the Smart Highway - the first public road in North Brabant with glow-in-the-dark lines to assist drivers. Another example is the studio's travelling light installation which showed Amsterdam under water

All images courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde


Parvinder Marwaha


Parvinder Marwaha

British-born editor Parvinder studied architecture in the UK. Amsterdam’s architecture and design scene led her to the city, as well the obvious perks of canal-side living. She writes for various...

Read more



Leave a comment