Artistic Duo Uses Drones to Visualize the Past and Future of Architecture

DRIFT Aerial Sculpture of the Colosseum

What did the Colosseum look like in Ancient Rome? And what will the Sagrada Familia look like when it's finished? These are some of the questions that the Dutch artistic duo DRIFT is answering with their aerial light sculptures. After perfecting their drone software, they've been able to create artworks that transform space and help visualize the impossible.

Through incredible life-size renders, DRIFT is reimagining the future of architecture. The idea to use drone technology as an architectural solution first came to the duo after the burning of Notre Dame. DRIFT was interested in using light to rebuild the historic church and this led them to investigate how the technology could be applied to other famous pieces of architecture.

By working with trusted partners Drone Stories and Nova Skystories, as well as a team of multidisciplinary experts, DRIFT has been using drone technology to create these light projections since 2020. Not only can these aerial sculptures reveal the beauty of historical monuments, but they could also be applied to see how future architectural projects could change the fabric of a city.

“A large building can change the landscape of a city dramatically. We can help visualize the impact of how a new structure can enrich a cityscape or visualize how a society in the past might have reflected on it,” shares artist Ralph Nauta, who along with Lonneke Gordijn, founded DRIFT in 2007. “It can help to show a local community how their city will look. Or help celebrate the moment a structure goes up and show the finished end goal. We have started a company next to our art practice to help creatives to explore these ideas.”

DRIFT's project is an incredible marriage of art and technology. In seeing the potential of drones, the duo has been able to apply its capabilities in new fields and, thus, give architects a new tool to visualize the future.

DRIFT is an artistic duo that uses drones to create life-size architectural visualizations of famous monuments.

DRIFT Aerial Sculpture of the Sagrada Familia

The same technology could also be applied to see how new buildings would impact the urban landscape.

DRIFT - Aerial Sculptures

DRIFT: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by DRIFT.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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