Watch how an art installation turned into an idea for rejuvenating city streets.

In 2010, Niklas Roy, "an engineer whose works always end up in art exhibitions," created an art installation in which a small curtain in a shop window follows people around in order to block their view to the inside.

But when he was invited to show that work at a media show in Sherbrooke, Canada, this month, he tweaked it a little bit. His new effort addressed a problem he observed in the exhibition city: streets plagued by empty shopfronts.

These were among the signs Roy encountered in Sherbrooke. 

For the exhibit, he simply replaced the curtain with a "for rent" sign and the people just can’t help but respond:

While Roy doesn't think his motorized sign will actually find a new tenant for the space, his main goal was to enliven the otherwise empty shopfront and entertain those who pass by. Roy also hopes that this installation will make people "think about the future of all the main streets, as more and more businesses rather sell online than in retail spaces," he says in an email. He thinks more owners of abandoned shopfronts should open up their windows for artists to display interesting projects.

If this project has inspired you to try something similar in your city, Roy has uploaded all the plans and schematics for the setup here. How much does it all take? About 2,000€ for equipment and materials, two months to build the device, and one day to set up.

(h/t DesignTAXI)

About the Author

Jenny Xie
Jenny Xie

Jenny Xie is a fellow at CityLab. 

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