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The truth is its rather subjective – and context is key!

Physical Graffiti

Physical Graffiti is a 1975 album by rock giants Led Zeppelin. Depending on your point of view it could be a band at the top of their game defining the pre-punk rock landscape or the overrated end product of an overpaid, over-indulgent guitar band with a screeching vocalist.

Subjectively, it could be art or it could be viewed somewhat more negatively – just like its namesake, graffiti art is often labeled vandalism or defacement of buildings – and may we remind, a punishable crime!

Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire. Modern graffiti seems to have appeared in Philadelphia in the early 1960s, and by the late sixties it had reached New York. The new art form really took off in the 1970s – around the time Led Zeppelin released their famed album cover – when people began writing their names, or ‘tags’, on buildings all over the city. Since then proponents of graffiti art have fought to have it taken seriously but it was rarely seen in galleries and museums. Until now…

Banksy and others like Barry McGee and have changed all that, with their work exhibited in commercial spaces. Perhaps therefore perception is changing.

In fact this summer Italian architect Carlo Ratti initiated installations of ‘paint by drone’ — which used a canvas installed in the city’s Aurelio Peccei park, inside an industrial structure that previously belonged to Italian car manufacturer Iveco – in Turin.

And here he is building on a long term plan to paint empty urban surfaces across the world — not by hand, but by drone. His studio has developed the ‘paint by drone’ system that can draw on building façades, turning any blank surface into an artistic space for urban data visualisation.

Back in 2017 a fleet of one metre wide unmanned aerial vehicles carrying spray paint tanks were filled with paints and, equipped with sensors, the drones were programmed to draw content submitted digitally via an app, while a central management system regulated their operations in real-time. Ratti justified the experiment by saying our cities are filled with blank vertical surfaces and with ‘paint by drone’ he could unleash the potential of ‘phygital graffiti’.

He explained that any façade could then ‘become a space where to showcase new forms of open-source, collaborative art or to visualise the heartbeat of a metropolis through real time data’. The idea that many people can contribute to the project to generate a result in which the final drawing is more than the sum of its parts is rather appealing – and highly collaborative.

It is an extremely interesting premise and the idea that artists – or even everyday citizens – can illuminate their city and transform, on the face of it, dull façades into vibrant objects has to be applauded.

As leaders in facade (and roof) maintenance and cleaning you might think we would be totally against this – because yes, graffiti can be a long process to remove! And yet, like the aforementioned album, whether it’s ‘art’ or not is rather subjective. With leading architects and artists, like Ratti and Banksy, challenging the notion that ‘graffiti is ugly, stupid and vaguely threatening’* just maybe we will see an increase in this slightly more ‘controlled graffiti art’ or ‘phygital graffiti’ across our cities in the future.



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Building Transformation’s unquestionable honesty and enthusiasm for ensuring the client receives the correct whole-life solution (rather than a quick fix) resulted in us being able to ensure the building was not only returned to its former glory, but will stay that way for years to come. I would recommend them to anyone.

Kenny Gash - Carillion Amey

The work provided by Building Transformation was excellent. Their product and building exteriors knowledge is detailed, comprehensive and practically applied to the client’s needs. They offer a professional, detailed, high-quality and customer- focused service which meets the short, medium and long-term needs of the client, and provides practical, cost-realistic advice.

Kerry Quinn - Echo Arena

Customer service is paramount to Building Transformation and they invested vast amounts of time in providing me with a programme to facilitate what was a very complex and time-specific programme of work for the site. The quality and level of support provided by Building Transformation is priceless to any client/contractor.

Marc Blow MCIOB MBIFM - Carillion Amey

The approach and advice on setting up the works at the Wolverhampton Civic Centre were first-class. Building Transformation’s attention to detail was excellent and the RAMS were followed meticulously to every detail. We were delighted with the works and service, and would not hesitate to use them again, nor hesitate to recommend them to any organisation.

Kevin Egginton - Wolverhampton Council

A 200,000 sq. ft., four-storey leisure venue in the heart of Nottingham city centre surrounded by major traffic routes needed work to be done overnight to deal with the traffic issues, while the site remained open throughout. The project took around three weeks to complete and went exceptionally well; the Building Transformation staff were flexible and able to work round dynamic operational issues. The clean was of a high standard and has made a significant different to the image of the building. A very difficult job done well.

Suzanne Green - Land Securities

May & Co have worked with Building Transformation on a number of projects which have included external building cleaning and refurbishment. They provided a great service, supported by the high level of documentation from the initial quotation to books and industry-related guidance, all relevant to our project.

Anton Theobald - May & Co

I am very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. Also the level of cleaning provided and attention to detail is much appreciated.

Waqas Bin Tahir - Ibis Southampton

I am using Building Transformation’s work to help justify façade restoration works around our business.  They have produced excellent presentations on what can be achieved and is a brilliant piece of informed marketing that is helping slowly win people over in our business to take façade cleaning and restoration more seriously.

Needless to say Building Transformation is a name that is now becoming known and respected.

Simon Attwood - Broadgate Estates Ltd.

Building Transformation gave great communication throughout our projects.
It will be my pleasure to recommend Building Transformation.

Sarah Cameron - My Hotels Group

Just signed off the job with Richard. Myself, the bosses and the tenant all are very pleased with the work. It definitely looks rejuvenated just a case of painting the concrete window surrounds in the new year to finish it off. Have found your company and staff very professional and helpful which has facilitated a project with minimal inconvenience and disruption to our in situ tenants.

Mark Hollinshead - Headruddy Property Development

I had a walk around today with Dave and am impressed with the work so far.  Dave and the team have done a great job.

I’d certainly love to work with you in the future so perhaps before the job is completed we could look at what opportunities there are for the future.

Marie Green - Novotel Sheffield

At this stage, from my point of view your team has been extremely professional, informing us of what was happening at all times and most importantly no disruption whatsoever to our guests and business.

Ludovic Verzi - Novotel Leeds

We are very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. The operatives on site were very professional and communicated to us at all times.

Maria Pinana Mateu - Science Museum

The team at Building Transformation understood our challenge of finding a facade cleaning solution that would initially restore the glazing to its original state, protecting our building for years to come. Through intelligent and thorough testing right through to the full restoration of Block D, we have been very satisfied with the project management and delivery of the cleaning programme.

Colin Pilkington - Renaker Build Limited

Thank you for all the work that you carried out in cleaning the outside of our school.  We are delighted with the results.  You have managed to completely remove heavy staining from many areas around the building.

We found you extremely easy to work with: your quote was reasonable, you carried out the work quickly and you were very flexible in terms of timings.

Tamsin Griffith - Courtney Road Primary School, Bristol

We will definitely be working with you again! Your engineers were very polite and accommodating every time they visited site and have done a first class job. I will be recommending Building Transformation to everyone!

Mark Healy - One Facility

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