International outdoor advertising and street furnishings firm JCDecaux and Zaha Hadid Architects have proposed a new billboard design for a busy London intersection. The Paris-based JCDecaux has quite the history of collaborating with high-profile architects and designers—Peter Eisenman, Robert Stern, Gae Aulenti, Philippe Starck, and Lord Norman Foster among them.
From an improbable aerial view, the project looks promising.
But on the ground, its aesthetic traction is questionable. The design is a retread, both in its resemblance to defective tires and with regard to Hadid’s canon of mobius-like creations.
The pedestrian experience—no pun intended—doesn’t look to be enhanced, either, even though the proposed structure is narrower than the existing advertising kiosk.
Could a case be made that such eye-catching, animated structures might contribute to distracted driving? The answer to that question depends on who you ask. The U.S. Department of Transportation conducted a study that concluded digital billboards are no more distracting than stationary signage. But an investigation by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute came to a very different finding, which led to the removal of all such advertisements.