Luxembourg city is growing fast, with new quarters being built irregularly. Currently, the area around Cloche D’Or is acquiring office blocks and shopping centres like nobody’s business.

Disappointingly, the buildings are mostly dreadfully dull to see. Yes, they’re architected well, and, yes, one or two of them have interesting form, but almost all are an unfortunate off–white, nay, grey. It’s as though the architects have decided to disguise the concrete exterior by using panels in the colour of concrete.

image: la défense

Now, I can understand the difficulty of painting a building once it’s built. You have the cost of the scaffolding, the workers, the paint, and, most of all, the cost of the legal people to get an interesting scheme past the local council. Actually, I don’t know if that’s how it works here, but the uniform dullness leaves me to suspect that perhaps it is.

So I would like to propose a new way to paint buildings. I suggest using world–war–one style biplanes. Instead of dropping world–war–one style bombs, which could have an unfortunate demolition effect on a new building, the biplanes would drop paint bombs. They would drop multicoloured paint bombs: no, not polychromatic paint, but many paint bombs each of a different single colour. The biplanes would have to be accurate enough to hit the right building, but inaccurate enough so the exact pattens of splats could not be predicted in advance. In consequence, the buildings would be decorated with an exciting and unpredictable patterns of incredibly colourful splats.

Imagine a quarter, not dominated by the dull grey of imminent mortality, but in brightly coloured delight. Imagine being a pedestrian there, looking up, seeing, not dull grey concrete against a dull grey sky, but rainbow colours on a blue sky. Indeed, rainbow colours against a rainy sky are happier than dull grey against more dull grey, unless building camouflage is the goal. Admittedly, I can understand why people, on choosing dull grey for a building, would hope no one would notice, but trying to disguise something the size of a tower block needs a little more than dull dull dull.

I think the result of biplane painting would be delightful, idiosyncratic, and always unique. Passers–by the day after could spend hours goggling and gawping at the impressive colours, perhaps discussing amongst themselves at what angle, and in what direction, the biplane dove and dove to create such glorious paint effects, hopefully not noticing the still smoking crater a little way off in a very shocked granny’s back garden.

Some people have asked me ‘why biplanes and not helicopters’? Well, I think that it’s very important that the results of the coloured are unpredictable, and helicopters are, well, too accurate. They can hover in one place and at one height, and control exactly where and at what speed a paint bomb splats. A dive bombing biplane, on the other hand, can do no such thing, so the results of its splat run should be significantly more unexpected, and so significantly more interesting.

So, what do you think? If you like the idea, do you happen to own a biplane? How good are you at dive–bombing? Do you fancy being the first person to try a new form of guerilla graffiti? If so, I’ll be in freshly built bunker, some distance away, taking photos with a very zoom lens.