Facadeprinter results.

Photos courtesy of Facadeprinter.org

When we first heard about the Facadeprinter from friends in Germany, we thought it sounded like some sort Dell Computer inkjet ad trying to be cool by getting into street art. Only our curiosity was piqued when we saw it show up again on Wooster Collective. The Facadeprinter essentially is an art robot that you can program to project different colored paintballs via an airpressure-marker from hundreds of feet away. As Facadeprinter.org describes the project, it’s like “an inkjet printer in architectonical dimensions.” (Surly anyone who uses the word “architectonical” must be onto something.)

The 3 guys behind the project, called Sonic Development based in Berlin, have drawn a following with performances of the facadeprinter in action at events and through videos and prints that they then post on the .org site, meaning they’re doing this more as an art and design project/cultural jamming mechanism than anything else.

Facadeprinter can create images in hard-to-reach places, like under bridges.

Large-scale “distance printing,” like street art-inspired ads, is starting to attract advertisers of outdoor spaces as a new communication tool. Since you can get art into some of the hardest to reach places with Facadeprinter, it’s quickly becoming a tool with multiple purposes. But it roots come from the founders and their aesthetic for design and even more important, integrating the process of design as part of the experience for the viewer. They describe using Facadeprinter in many ways, such as staging shows, often in connection with music, creating a live “installation” that builds gradually as the paint starts creating the image shot from far away. The results are somewhat rough from shot paint, and creates a second texture based on the type of surface it’s on–in essence creating a new medium (which eventually fades as most great outdoor art does).

The actual Facadeprinter created by Sonic Development.

Interestingly, the organizers of Facadeprinter also saw this new media capability for other purposes such as communicating messages on walls during times of crisis. For the International Design Forum of the Japan Design Foundation in Osaka, they created the scenario of a disaster striking a city, causing widespread confusion and destruction, and printing instructions on a standing wall to tell people where to go and what to do.

As they describe in their credo (yes, they have a credo!), “Design is research .new aesthetics through new technology.” And in the process, redefining what it means to create a new medium.

facadeprinter.org – 5%uFFFDAsalto Zaragoza from Facadeprinter on Vimeo.