Luxury watches, digital screens, and in-your-face advertising are exactly what your life needs more of right now. And so are spaceships. (Like the one Apple commissioned from Norman Foster. Or George Lucas from MAD.) Digital outdoor advertising company JCDecaux is combining all four demands into a single, star-powered commission by Zaha Hadid: what the firm describes as a new “genre in the roadside advertising canon,” i.e. a billboard to make you forget everything you thought you knew about billboards (that they’re rectangular, analog, etc.).
In Hadid’s age of enlightened ad-based architecture, a billboard is actually “a twisted ribbon” of matte-finish metal “wrapping around the screen with its display capable of blending into the form, enhancing the form and moving beyond the traditional rectangular advertising format,” according to the press release. It’s an LCD screen embedded into a roadside spaceship. JCDecaux is currently seeking approval to build its spacecraft on a stretch of London highway that connects the city to its major airports, solely because a landmark by such a high-profile architecture firm “enhances the character” of the (heavily trafficked) area, which the release describes as “uninspiring and suffering from an overall sense of neglect and dearth of identity.” (We suspect their motivation may actually lie elsewhere.)
Unlike most Zaha constructions, this won’t loom above you as much as flash directly in your face at eye level; unlike most billboards, strangely enough, it looks like it might be positioned parallel to the road rather than facing drivers. Also unlike the traditional billboard, which is flat and elevated, this plumper version is set right on the ground. As an added civic incentive, the designs include embedded LEDs running across its curved back to illuminate the little sliver of sidewalk remaining behind it. The future is so bright you have to wear shades. Just not in a good way.
(Is this billboard displaying an ad for the billboard?)