Marking time in January 2014
I admire the polite care sometimes taken in Europe, when historic buildings are being repaired, to maintain the quality of public spaces nearby. It’s not always done, but I have seen fine examples where scaffolding has been shrouded in screens printed with images of the facade behind. People in the streets are protected from the dirt and distraction of the building work, and they can still see (at least a simulation of) the architecture.
The Piazza della Signoria is one of the most important public squares in Florence, overlooked by the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi, and linked to the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio. Thousands of people walk through the piazza each day, and many stay to look around and to eat in the open-air cafes. Giving all of them a good experience is essential in this city whose commerce is built on tourism.
When I was there in September 2010 one of the buildings facing the piazza was scaffolded and shrouded—the Palazzo delle assicurazioni Generali, an insurance company office built in 1871. It is not the most significant building in the square, but it contributes to the space and I heartily approve of its printed wrapping.
Printed shrouds are also deployed at the Château de Versailles near Paris. The video below shows how the printed screens are recycled into useful objects after each conservation project is finished.