We've seen brands turn their ads into useful items—like IBM's award-winning ads that doubled as street furniture. But what if a company's advertising could literally put a roof over somebody's head? Slovakia-based design agency, Design Develop, wants to execute such a plan by housing the homeless inside of highway billboards. The idea, called Project Gregory, would use the billboard structure as the foundation for a lofted dwelling. Triangular in shape, and built from wood, concrete and steel, the home would include a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and windows. The electricity needed to keep the billboard lit would be enough to power the house.
Matej Nedorolik, the business manager for Design Develop, says the firm is still looking for brand partners to sponsor the homes. "Money from the rent of two advertisements for 12 months should cover the costs for building," he says. "If we find a company that could rent an advertisement for 12 months and also pay for it in advance, we can start with construction of the house."
It does seem strange to house a disadvantaged person inside a home featuring luxury cars or expensive watches. But as Nedorolik explains, the project should be judged solely on its ability to solve an urban problem. Project Gregory isn't about brand promotion; it's not even about promoting Design Develop.
The name for the project—Gregory—is a fictional person. "He's just someone who tries to help people," says Nedorolik. "The creator himself does not need to be presented."