At the Moscow Urban Forum 2016, Archello attended great lectures and panels. We met many professionals from Asia, North America and Europe. One of them was Daan Roosegaarde, designer, artist and innovator. We spoke with him about smart solutions for polluted cities, the role of design in the city and creative ideas for improving city life. You can find the interview with Daan Roosegaarde in our blog.

KK: You just came back from Beijing, one of the world’s megacities, where you agreed with the government on launching the Smog Free Project. Can you tell us more about it?

DR: Smog Free Tower is a smog vacuum cleaner, which uses patented ion technology to produce smog-free bubbles of public space – for example in parks – that allow people to breathe and experience clean air for free. From collected smog we produce Smog Free Rings, Smog Free Cubes and Smog Free Cufflinks. By buying Smog Free Jewellery, you donate 1000m3 of clean air to the city. In Beijing, together with the government, we will create several parks where kids can play again.

Source: Studio Roosegaarde


Source: Studio Roosegaarde
Source: Studio Roosegaarde


KK: That sounds like an idea of making the world a better place, would you agree?

DR: That sounds naive but that’s my goal. That’s also part of being a Dutch – you always have a practical, but also poetic agenda.

KK: Can design make the world a better place?

DR: Absolutely. For me design is not about making another chair or lamp, it is about improving people’s life, so I think it is possible. The essence of design is not only about aesthetics or functionality, but there is always that idea behind the project.

KK: Your projects are always very complex. How do you manage to lead them?

DR: In a way, the process of design became much more complex and almost as important as project itself. That’s why you always need to work with the best. Ideas come from me but I have a studio of more than 60 people in Rotterdam working with me. It’s always fun to challenge those people with new ideas. Big projects are also about cooperation.

KK: What do you think about the role of technology in the city and smart cities?

DR: The whole discussion about smart cities is fascinating, although really dominated by corporations. But what about people? It really lacks human beings in this discussion. I like technology only when it is one layer of our life but doesn’t dominate it.

KK: Does technology have to be invisible?

DR: Exactly. The future city will look like this city, but it will have a sort of layer which is interactive and almost invisible. The thing is that the world is not saved by technology, but by imagination. Studies shows that the only thing that robots cannot learn is intelligence. We still don’t have artifical intelligence, so we should use technology as a tool to make people’s life easier.

KK: Do you have a lot new projects coming?

DR: You will defenietly see more projects around the cities. We get hundreds of calls from many cities around the world, so we hope to place our Smog Free Towers and doses of free air outside China. I also have many other ideas in my mind now. We are working a lot on biomimicry and studying animals.

Source: Studio Roosegaarde
Source: Studio Roosegaarde

Daan Roosegaarde is a renowned Dutch artist, designer and innovator. He is the founder of Studio Roosegaarde, best known for creating landscapes of the future and exploring relations between people, technology and space.


77af1aca_600Moscow Urban Forum 2016 lasted four days, over June and July. Archello took part for the second time in the Forum, participating in seminars, panels, master classes and plenar sessions about this year’s main topic – Fast Growing Megacities. Technologies of Dynamic Development.

The main topic of this year – problems of megacities and the newest technologies used in cities development – brought a lot of international attention to the Forum. This year’s sixth edition of the Moscow Urban Forum was the biggest in the history: it attracted more than 6000 participants from 43 countries around the world, including prime ministers and mayors from European and Asian countries. From June 30th to July 3rd, the Forum’s main venue – Manezh, located in the historical heart of Moscow – was the centre of Russian economical and urbanistic development.

In 2007, Moscow officially became one of 28 world megacities, defined as cities with more than ten million inhabitants. With its territorial expansion in 2012 and incorporating a southwestern region into the Moscow area, the Russian capital increased its area by two and half times: from about 1,000 square kilometers up to 2,500 square kilometers, and gained additional population of 230,000 people. Nowadays, with almost 17 million inhabitants, Moscow is the second (after Istanbul) most populous city in Europe, and the 6th largest city in the world. Like other megacities, Moscow has its own problems with air pollution, housing stadard, slums and traffic, crime and gentrification.

As the Moscow Urban Forum serves as a platform for exchange of experience and as a space to find new ideas for cities, the main goal is to find working solution for the pressing problems faced by megacities. To achieve this ambitious goal, the program was divided into two parts: theoretical and practical. The first day was dedicated to mayors, who during the panel discussed the main issues of implementing technology into developing cities. During the opening speech, mayor Sergey Sobyanin addressed problems of Moscow as megacity and discussed the biggest governmental project being carried out now in Moscow to increase standard of life in the city: ‘I will start with the main project – the development of city transportation – which is the biggest pain of the city and mega project itself. Over the last couple of years, we bulit more than 400 kilometers of roads in Moscow. We are also finishing “Moscow’s ring” – fast train inside the city with connections to the metro and easy transfer to other means of transport, such as trams, electric buses and buses,’ said S. Sobyanin.



The second day of Moscow Urban Forum looked at the practical side of city development – members of panels and master classes presented examples of projects realized in megacities. Projects presented during the Forum showed the big picture of city life and addressed its different angles – from the freshest infrastructural solutions (such as a renaissance of buses in Istanbul), through local environmental projects (like pollution free parks), to animating tourism and cultural activities (i. e. by renovation of old Soviet cinemas located in historical parts of Moscow). The Moscow goverment is currently running a couple of megaprojects, to give just a few examples there is Zaryadye Park, located 10 minutes from the Kremlin and designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will be the centre of relaxation for Muscovites. There is also the re-construction of historical Luzhniki Stadium for incoming FIFA’s World Cup 2018, which is almost ready,  and a huge empty space at riverside Krymskaya Embankment was recently transformed into a landscape park that connects Gorky Park with Krymsky bridge. Finally, in frames of My Street Project pavements, parking areas and streets will be reconstructed, mainly streets on a large scale around the entire city.



We hope to visit the next edition of the Moscow Urban Forum!

moscow urban forum


Last month Archello had a chance to attend Moscow Urban Forum, MUF. The fourth edition of the forum took place at the Central Exhibition Hall Manezh from 11 to 14 December, 2014. The forum serves as a venue for discussion, where the leaders of Russia’s largest cities have the opportunity to discuss their most pressing issues and projects with international experts, developers and business people. This year’s forum included around 4,700 participants from 20 countries. The main topic discussed during the sessions was the “Drivers of City Development”. (In 2014 for the first time the MUF had an international Partner City – Singapore.)

In 2014 for the first time Archello was chosen to be part of the international selection of Media Partners and attended this high profile event. Archello is happy to be able share the knowledge learnt and bring it to the attention of all urban architecture enthusiasts.

During the industry event at the opening session, Sergey Sobyanin, the Mayor of Moscow City, commented:

“A city is both a living organism and something that can be placed and managed. A megalopolis, such as Moscow, can descend into mega-problem, or it can evolve into a successful mega-metropolis. That is our main goal.”

On the first working day of the forum, mayors, city managers and specialists in urban planning discussed global trends in governing cities and metropolitan areas, the future of urban infrastructure, keys issues and challenges arising for modern cities and their role in the development of national interests.

On the second day, per tradition, participants addressed the problems and potential of the Russian capital. Moscow is one of the largest city in the world, both in terms of population and GPD (gross domestic product). In the past few years Moscow has been growing rapidly. Now, as the Russian economy experiences a slowdown, Moscow needs to activate its internal development potential.

During the Forum members of the Moscow Legislature presented on their new project “The Moscow River as a Source of Urban Regeneration”. The river has determined the development of the city for centuries, however currently its potential is not being fully utilised. The project showed how the regeneration will return the river to the city and add new functions of a huge area on the city map – Zaryadye Park.  

Moscow Urban Forum Festival, the special open programme of the Moscow Urban Forum, has been held simultaneously as the addition to professional program.

At the forum Archello attended great lectures and panels. We have met many professionals from Asia, North America and Europe. One of them was Greg Clark, cities development expert. You can find the interview with Greg Clark below – we spoke about the future of urbanization, spatial strategies for cities and perspectives for cities growth.

We hope to visit the next edition of the Moscow Urban Forum!


Interview with Greg Clark

Greg Clark – has led reviews in over 100 cities globally; the Chairman of the OECD Forum on Local Development Agencies and Investment Strategies, (Paris); Senior Fellow of the Urban Land Institute, (London); his roles in the UK range from advising the Deputy Prime Minister, to acting as Executive Director of Strategy and Communications for the London Development Agency.

Klaudia Kaleta: There are many representatives of Asia at the forum. Does it mean that Asia can be seen as example of great urban development?

Greg Clark: There are people from everywhere – from Asia, North America and Europe. Moscow becomes for this time the bridge between Europe and Asia, a place where representatives of both continents can meet. Like Istanbul in the past.

However, it is true that despite partly Western heritage, Moscow represents challenges typical for contemporary Asian cities – the huge scale, transportation, rapid growth of population. Its dynamics are more similar to Shanghai, Hong Kong and New Delhi than to Paris.

Singapore is the Partner City of this year’s forum. Do you think this city and Moscow have much in common?

The example of Singapore is an important lesson and demonstrator city for the whole world. Singapore have grown from the poverty to one of the top 20 cities in the world in 50 years

It was possible thanks to investment in healthcare, education, housing, transportation and spatial strategy to scale up. Combining those five factors made Singapore the efficient city.

Note: Singapore is city-state that became independent in 1965.

Can you clarify what spatial strategy means in this case?

There are four cities Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo that decisively changed their spatial model. From single centre – everybody going in and out – to multiple city centres with high capacity city transport and medium density-quality-price housing. This model is applicable almost everywhere in the world, also in Moscow. It took fifty years for Singapore to become one of the top cities in the world but it should not take so long to Moscow. I think it will take around twenty years to see the real change.

And what are the key factors that determine the growth?

It is very important for the government to become very pro-active player in three things. First of all, land ownership. Changes which I described are almost impossible to make if you have the land divided between many private owners. The city has to take the land. The second thing is the efficient tax system. The tax system has to be able to work in a way that when city creates the value by park, public spaces etc., it should also have the power to bring some value back. The last thing is planning system, a city should be able to set out a vision and follow it with a discipline and no exceptions to the plan.

The Moscow Government is planning to build the second Moscow on the north of the city. Is it going to be a new driver of development?

In the long-term – yes. In the short and mid-term – centres are in the Moscow. I think Moscow river is the geographical space to create the multiple centres city, but also much more housing. This will also help with reducing the congestion and keeping people in the centre – good quality public housing and affordable private houses.

With people driving in and out the centre there is a big problem with transportation – it is a worldwide problem, experienced by Moscow as well. Do you have any clues for that?

One: you need to have fewer people driving. There are two ways to do that, first – more people living in the centre, so you don’t need to drive; two: increase and improve public transport. Second thing, more centres. When you have poli-centric city, people are going different directions, not only in and out of the centre. Plus charging people for using their cars, so parking, congestion charging etc.

What do you like the most in Moscow? How do you see its future?

I come from London. The British had an empire, so there are many things to be proud and ashamed of. Moscow is similar, it is also a postimperial city. I see the opportunity here. Moscow, as a global city with many links to others, has a chance to become influential again. Not in military sense but in the sense of soft power – culture, human capital, education etc.

I think Moscow will have a great design ethics based on Moscow river revitalization. The river is DNA of the city and I hope to see some interesting design connected to it, something that expresses the spirit of Moscow again.


Taking place in January, the sixth edition of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO) became a platform for beautiful making that is community-based and open to everyone. With 78 events, exhibitions, and window installations happening across the city, TO DO embraces all design disciplines and cross-disciplinary collaborations and practices. Festival focuses on innovative and emerging work in industrial design, interior design, site-specific installations, architecture, and graphic design. This is an exciting opportunity for the public to come into direct contact with contemporary design in its diverse forms, for a new generation of designers to get inspired, and to meet local designers and makers, as well as designers from across Canada.

TO DO was founded  with a group of designers and curators in 2010. It stemmed from a desire to create a community around some amazing independent exhibitions, such as Come Up To My Room, Radiant Dark, Capacity and Tools. TO DO started small, we didn’t know we were creating a festival. What we did know was that we wanted to feature and promote what was going on in the city – stress Deborah Wang (Creative Director) and Michael R. Madjus (Communications Coordinator).

This approach can be easily seen during the Festival. TO DO celebrates the unique diversity of Canada’s energetic design scene, providing exposure for the country’s most promising designers and introducing the public to the practice of design. We don’t choose the theme for our exhibitors, we want to be a festival that’s open to all. Also to the unexpected. This can be challenging, especially to maintain a certain level of quality, but it is very rewarding – say D. Wang and M. Madjus.

This year curators’ were very excited about the window installation ‘Outside the Box’, the project based on trust and suprise. Design correspondents from cities across Canada and the U.S. selected pieces to include in their respective boxes, so nobody was sure what will arrive until show starts. Libs Elliott pushed boundaries of the design at this years TO DO – he used generative design to build handmade quilts. What does that mean? The quilt designs are made using a programming language called Processing, so not only is each quilt handmade, each quilt also bears a unique composition. The product that seems to continually amaze is the slip-cast porcelain work of Jeremy Hatch. Jeremy casts everyday objects – often ones that are robust and durable, such as woven rope or a sink – out of porcelain, defying our material expectations.

Toronto is the perfect place to host the festival because Canadian design has a lot of roots here. The best city to show contemporary design is one that is “home” to the creative people and institutions, but also a city that is adaptable, offers new possibilities and allows for interaction and growth – say D. Wang and M. Madjus. With a very positive reception from the community and abundance of enthusiasm the Festival have been able to grow exponentially. One key difficulty is funding. While organizers haven’t fully overcome this hurdle yet, they are optimistic and continue to work hard to both produce a top-notch festival and secure on-going funding sources – two aspects which they feel will continue to feed each other. A new sponsorship from Keilhauer gives new confidence in this respect.

Hope to see you there next year!