Architectural digital solution
The city is created under emergency conditions: On the one hand, the obligation to update its infrastructures and, on the other hand, the need to maintain the same standards as in other cities, both of which require the continuous incorporation of new technologies to public spaces. If the now rare telephone booths were an example of this modernising in their day, today’s urban screens are so now. Once the economic factors were overcome, they were implemented all over the city following confused criteria linked to business performance and inertia inherited from previous examples, such as in Times Square in New York. These trends have led non-commercial display devices to become a rare exception within the city’s digitalisation process. Apart from informative electronic signs, these experiences have been uncommon and always reduced to a temporary scale. This situation shows that although some private companies are interested in them as a support for their advertising purposes, few institutions have been able to profit from their ability to activate public spaces or their capacity to create local identity and identify open processes in the city.
The digital façade of the Plaza de las Letras is the result of a commission from the Arts Area of the Madrid Town Council to provide the Medialab-Prado Centre with one of those non-commercial systems as a laboratory to make visible its researches regardin art, public spaces and new technologies. The new façade aims to become a virtual space for exchange and communication with both visitors and locals. It is an infrastructure designed as an active support capable of promoting social responsibility, information transmission, social interaction and play-oriented experiences.