Italian architect Carlo Ratti’s Paint By Drone system uses remotely controlled flying robots to cover buildings in giant paintings.
Designed to turn scaffolding into giant canvases, the system uses a formation of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to create artworks on blank surfaces. Each drone carries its own tank of paint, and uses CMYK colours to replicate the traditional printing process.
The robots are managed remotely, with their positions individually tracked, and are able to recreate any artwork submitted to a mobile app.
“We are keen to explore their artistic use, particularly as a way to engage with the built environment,” Ratti told Dezeen. “What we call ‘phygital graffiti’ is the idea of leveraging drones and, more in general, digital technologies to create participatory works of public art.”
The designer’s office, Carlo Ratti Associati, has worked on several projects incorporating drones, including using them to act as a personal tour guide for visitors to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus. In the past, Ratti also suggested that robots could be used to help eliminate disease in cities.