These beautiful projection maps bring to life some of the most iconic structures on the planet

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Projection mapping is a rapidly-growing art form that turns buildings, landscapes and even human faces into otherworldly interactive displays. In the last five years, about a dozen projection mapping companies around the world have revolutionized the use of powerful light projectors to bring to life some of the most iconic structures on the planet.

One of those companies is Woodland Hills, CA-based Paintscaping, Inc. whose recent projection mapping work on the posh corner of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills gained it a lot of attention. Philippe Bergeron, the company’s CEO, compares the state of the new art form to film in the early part of the 20th century, and says that the story-telling possibilities are boundless. You can watch some of his beautiful projection maps in the video above.

Projection mapping begins with the acquisition of an object’s form, often a building facade, using technologically-advanced tools like LIDAR or photogrammetry to create a highly detailed 3D image of the surface on a computer. Digital artists and writers then essentially develop stories in projected light, just like film, but in this case they use the contours of the object as part of the narrative.

“You have to listen to what the building tells you,” says Bergeron. “It’s very much left brain and right brain.”