A cup made with soot from the Viale Monte Ceneri, would you drink from it?
This is the question for visitors of Milan Design Week October 2020 in the interactive Smogware Café.

For many Milanesi the Viale Monte Ceneri is exemplary for miserable impact of contemporary urban traffic on city life.

The capacity of the ring road, of which the Viale is part, was doubled between the ’50 and ‘60 by creating a viaduct with a length of more than 2 km, crossing a densely populated area of Milano. Like in many cities the increase in traffic since then was not foreseen. Today inhabitants of the apartment blocks see the traffic rush past their balconies, keeping their doors and windows closed against noise and smog.

The Milanese designers collective ‘the Bench Collective’ went to the Viale Monte Ceneri , which literally means ‘mountain of ash’. Below the viaduct were found mountains of black dust indeed.

Film by the The Bench Collective, Alessandro Ianniello.

interactive Smogware café Milano

In Europe, Rotterdam and Milano can be seen as ‘twin cities’ in the field of air pollution, which is the reason for collaboration between the cities. This collaboration starts with the kick off of Smogware Milano during the fall  Milano Design Week. Within the event of DOS2020 visitors can join one of the SmogWalks through the city guided by The Bench Collective. After a workshop it’s time for an interactive coffee. Served in the first edition of Milanese Smogware espresso cups, made with dust from the Viale Monte Ceneri…

At a very safe distance Annemarie and Iris join the coffee in their studio in Rotterdam, together with partners in other cities that are involved in the Smogware network.

The second outbreak of Covid-19 is an urgent call for collaboration internationally and taking care for each other. In the interactive Smogware café we drink a coffee for that, our empowering symbol of being together.

The Smogware project will be presented at the headquarters of DOS – Design Open Spaces in Fabbrica del Vapore. This event shows responses from designers to the new context of Covid19 measures. To avoid large gatherings, for example, it takes place at different locations, “pixels”, spread throughout the city. Like a game, real and virtual worlds are brought together in those places. For example, via Instagram filters of objects can be conjured up on the street, which you can ‘really’ walk around.


Smogware café Milano launches a participative trajectory together with DOS2020 and the Bench Collective towards the Milano Design Week 2021. This first event is possible with the financial support of the Creative Industries Fund NL.

Smogware collaborates with:
The Bench Collective
Vincenzo Curcio