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Artist and artificial intelligence have joined forces

The Blanka tunnel as a work of art: Prague's Letná is now "adorned" by a chimney

Karolína Lišková
08.May 2020
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2 minutes

The Blanka tunnel is not exactly pleasing for the eye - functionality is preferred over aesthetics here. However, the Czech-Argentine artist Federico Díaz decided to change that and, with the help of a robot, he turned the giant exhaust chimney, the so-called outlet, which is used to ventilate the tunnel, into a work of art.

Umělec s ředitelem společnosti vlastnící robota.

Diaz covered the chimney with plaques with plastic heraldic motifs. The relief was created by means of an ABB robotic arm. Prague 7 can thus boast of a truly unique artwork.

The concrete outlet of the Blanka tunnel had originally insensitively affected the architectural space of the residential part of Prague's Letná. A civic association was formed among the locals, represented, coincidentally, by the well-known historian of architecture Zdeněk Lukeš, that resented the concrete monster, which was doomed to be "decorated" by sprayers.

Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 9 - 123m
Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 9 - 123m, Praha 9

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Výduch už není trnem v oku.
Výduch už není trnem v oku. Source: archiv ABB

The association selected a design by Federico Díaz, combining modern industrial technology and heraldic art, and soon a piece of art consisting of 176 artistically crafted plates measuring 130 by 235 centimeters, each of which is unique, saw the light of the world. Part of the project is also the regeneration of the surroundings, thanks to which a relaxation zone featuring exercise elements and benches that stretches over an area of ​​approximately 1,000 m2 was created for the public.

"I have to say it's great, I really like it, I often go here for walks with the stroller, so it's a refreshing change for me,"

told us a young woman on maternity leave. Diaz is no newcomer to the world of robotics.

"The Heraldic project was a challenge for our team. I have been working with robots since 2008, but we developed a new technique with the ABB robot for the relief on the outlet, which enabled me to create a work of such a large scale,"

the author of the artwork Federico Díaz said about its completion. Díaz had began experimenting with the latest technological methods already during his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in the 1990s. He's exhibited his work all over the world, for instance in London, Tokyo, Venice or Massachusetts.

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Robot s umělou inteligencí.
Robot s umělou inteligencí.Source: archiv ABB

Not only the inhabitants of Letná are happy with the result, but also the technology company ABB itself.

"The connection of art and technology can lead, among other things, to new directions in technological development. In addition to the elements of artificial intelligence that our robot worked with, the project also tested a unique technique of casting, engraving with extraordinary precision or recycling of casting material,"

said Vítězslav Lukáš, CEO of ABB in the Czech Republic.

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Místo bylo zvelebeno například i pro sportovce.
Místo bylo zvelebeno například i pro sportovce. Source: archiv ABB

This is not the company's first project combining art and technology. It also collaborates with Federik Díaz on the creation of a sculpture for the Bořislavka Center, where the artist uses a unique robotic fabrication technique to work with the material UHPC (ultra high performance concrete) developed by the Klokner Institute at CTU, which can be considered a breakthrough in construction.

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Source: archiv ABB

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