International design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati has developed Paint by Drone, a portable technological solution that employs drone formations to draw on urban facades. The project aims to turn any blank vertical surface into a space for both participatory artistic expression and the visualization of urban data.
The first two installations of Paint by Drone are planned for fall 2017 in Berlin, Germany, and Turin, Italy. Paint by Drone employs a set of one-meter wide drones, each of them equipped with sensors and carrying a spray paint tank. Drones can draw content submitted digitally, via an app.
The new concept has the potential to be installed in just a few hours and on any surface.
The artistic input can come from either crowdsourced platforms or from a curator orchestrating the contributions of several people. In its initial implementation, the project proposes to use the facades of construction sites as giant canvases.
“Our cities are filled with blank vertical surface s, either permanent or temporary . Scaffold sheeting, for instance, has great potential, but in fact it is mostly used in bland ways – left empty or employed for advertising ” , says Professor Carlo Ratti, founder of Carlo Ratti Associati studio and Director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
“With Paint by Drone we would like to unleash the potential of ‘phygital graffiti’. Any façade can become a space where to showcase , new forms of open – source, collaborative art or to visualize the heartbeat of a metropolis through real time data .”
In an interview for The Brussels Times on urban design in the future, Carlo Ratti said, “I don’t think that we need to redesign cities in Europe. Our stunning historic urban centers might struggle to adapt to 20th century technologies – heavy, invasive, incompatible with their fine-grain fabric.”
“However, they can easily adapt to the new, light and invisible technologies brought about by the digital revolution – helping foster a better lifestyle for their citizens. You don’t need to move bricks to pave the way to Uber, Airbnb or the mobility revolution promised by self-driving cars.”
“I also wanted to dispel an old myth. From an architectural point of view, I believe that the city of tomorrow will not look dramatically different from the city of today – much in the same way that the Roman walled city (urbs) is not all that different from the city as we know it today.”
The Brussels Times