While New York City may have fierce Scottish actresses very napping inside of very publicly displayed boxes, Mexico City offers a brand of interactive art that's a touch more marketing-related: Artists living inside of rooftop billboards positioned above highly trafficked intersections.
Earlier this month, Mexican paper company Scribe seemingly discovered the secret to attention-grabbing advert gold. Step one: Attach a tiny prefab dwelling complete with kitchen, bathroom, and closet to the back of a prominently displayed piece of rooftop signage towering above Mexico City’s most fashionable shopping district. Next, find an artist willing to move into the 172-square-foot elevated residence. When not resting, he or she will hand paint “imaginary creatures, absurd visions, and fantastic dreams populating the minds of peoples across the city” onto the blank 30-foot-by-15-foot billboard/canvas. Said creatures, visions, and dreams populating the mural will come via requests made by Twitter followers.
That’s exactly what’s going down — or up — above super-trendy Avenida Presidente Masaryk in Polanco, Mexico City, where artist Cecilia Beaven has become the first resident of Scribe’s Julio Gomez Trevilla-designed Billboard House, a temporary dwelling-cum-advertising tool that, as Gizmag describes, is “less like a house built onto a billboard and more like a billboard built onto an elevated house.”
Although no other artists have reportedly moved into the Billboard House following Beaven’s super-productive 10-day stint, I’m guessing more will follow.
Designboom sums up the curious living arrangement involved with this marketing stunt/social media experiment nicely:
When she wasn't working, the illustrator-turned-muralist resided in a corrugated plastic and steel frame home that used the billboard itself as the primary structural wall. Designed by local architect Julio Gomez Trevilla, the modest dwelling used lightweight modules and industrial materials to weave seamlessly with the architectonic makeup of the city center. The billboard itself was fitted with an ample walkway so as to make the platform workspace as comfortable as possible. For thermal control, a slatted wooden roof was offset from the primary orthogonal form so as to provide shade and an pleasant upper deck. A retractable bed and wheeled furniture optimized flexibility and movement, while almost all spaces served a dual purpose. A small tower contained the bathroom which doubled as a shower, while the closet became a dresser. Above the small desk and workspace was a horizontal window that could open to the billboard front thereby allowing the artist to afford views of her living space through her painting. Of living in her work, the artist said: They were 10 amazing days that I'll never forget. If you ever have the opportunity to live in a billboard, take it.
Loads more info and imagery over at Designboom and at the project website. I’ve also embedded a video chronicling Beaven’s stay at the Billboard House (in Spanish.)