Ampelhaus/Facebook

Beautifying burnt-out cars, wrecked storefronts and other urban blight with the power of colored paint.

The big problem with reclaiming alleyways is that, visually, they're often about as attractive as a corridor in a Turkish dungeon. Design aesthetics run about the same for most alleys: brick walls hairy with mildew or other mysterious bio-presences, rows of trashcans or stacks of garbage bags, a sliver of sky far above that lets in pale, dust-moted light.

But do they have to be so monotonous? Dutch artist Edwin Deen doesn't think so, and he's gone to his workshop to craft a fix for these blah thoroughfares. Deen's brainstorm is called the "Liquid Rainbow," and it can coat a dismal alley in a matter of seconds with a vibrant, happiness-spreading prism of paint.

The rainbow machine is actually a hacked lawn sprinkler juiced with a new electric controller. On exhibit right now at the Ampelhaus in Oranienbaum-Wörlitz, Germany, the device promises to give a come-hither makeover to abandoned car hulks, boarded-up store fronts, stained Dumpsters and other symptoms of urban blight. The operator just needs to make sure he's willing to assemble more Liquid Rainbows in a pinch, as getting caught spraying a block with one could require a quick escape from an irate policeman or property owner.

Here's a video of Deen's rainbowmaker in action:

(Top image courtesy of Ampelhaus on Facebook. H/t to The Pop-Up City.)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. New public notice signs from Atlanta's Department of City Planning.
    Design

    Atlanta's Planning Department Makeover

    A new seal, a new name, and most importantly, new signs that people will actually read.

  2. Times Square, 1970.
    Life

    The New York That Belonged to the City

    Hyper-gentrification turned renegade Manhattan into plasticine playground. Can the city find its soul again?

  3. POV

    Grenfell Was No Ordinary Accident

    The catastrophic fire that killed at least 80 in London was the inevitable byproduct of an ideology that vilified the poor.

  4. "Gift Horse"—a skeletal sculpture of a horse by artist Hans Haacke—debuted on the Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square in 2015.
    Design

    What To Do With Baltimore's Empty Confederate Statue Plinths?

    Put them to work, Trafalgar Square style.

  5. Maps

    This Guy's Never Met a Map He Didn't Want to Fix

    Just not always for the better: "I've deliberately designed maps that are deliberately horrible to look at, and succeeded."