Lonely Planet Writer

A street art project that uses drones to paint is coming to Berlin and Turin

A unique art project is being planned for Europe that will see cutting-edge drone technology being used to create dynamic street art on eye-catching, hard to reach areas of urban facades, turning cities into gigantic blank canvases.

A mock up of the paint by drone project for Berlin and Turin
The Paint by Drone project aims to create dynamic artwork on available vertical spaces in Berlin and Turin. Image by Paint by Drone / Carlo Ratti Associati

Created by international design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati, the Paint by Drone project will use portable technological solutions that employ drone formations to create street art, aiming to make the most of vertical surfaces and create new possibilities for artistic expression. The project is planned to debut this coming Autumn in Berlin, Germany and Turin, Italy, with the possibility of expansion to other European cities afterwards.

Paint by Drone proposes to begin by using the facades of construction sites as giant canvases, employing a set of one-metre wide drones, each one equipped with sensors and carrying spray tanks. Each of the drones will have CMYK inks (cyan, magenta, yellow and key), as in most traditional print processes, and will be capable of drawing content submitted digitally via an app, with artistic input coming from either crowdsourced platforms or from a curator taking submissions from artists.

A central management system will be used to regulate the drones’ operations in real time, from image painting to flight, using a monitoring system that tracks their position, while a protective net placed on scaffolding around the building will allow the drones to move around the space in safety.

Paint by Drone project for Berlin and Turin
The technology allows for incredible installations to be set up in hard to reach areas in just a few hours. Image by Paint by Drone / Carlo Ratti Associati

“Our cities are filled with blank vertical surfaces, 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,” said Professor Carlo Ratti, founder of Carlo Ratti Associati studio.

The concept pushes previous boundaries of time and space, given that installations can be set up in hard to reach areas in just a few hours.