Engineer the Future

Reimagining landscapes in 2050

By Museum of Engineering Innovation

La Net Zero Rue Saint-Honoré (2021) by LovettMuseum of Engineering Innovation

COP26 has brought into sharp focus the debate about how the UK will address its goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and improving sustainability.  

To bring about decarbonisation on this timescale and of this magnitude, the UK will have to make rapid changes that will affect many aspects of our lives.  

The Net Zero Wheat Fields (1816) by ConstableMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Although we face a national shortage of people entering the profession, the need for engineers is now more important than ever. Engineers will shape the way we heat and light our homes, how we produce our food, how we build our houses and cities, and how we travel the world.

With many engineering innovations set to revolutionise how we live and work, this series of masterpieces asks: what could a net zero world look like in 2050? 

Net Zero Factories at Clichy (2021) by Vincent Van GoghMuseum of Engineering Innovation

To mark This is Engineering Day 2021, the Royal Academy of Engineering commissioned a digital artist to rework classic paintings to show how engineering innovations could shape our lives over the next 30 years, informed by expert insight from some of the UK’s leading engineers.  

These reimagined masterpieces, based on Van Gogh, Constable, Pissarro, and Monet, have been recreated to show how cleaner, greener innovations, created by engineers, could transform everyday life and landscapes in the future. 

The Net Zero Seashore at Sainte-Adresse (2021) by MonetMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Further details on the paintings and feats of engineering can be viewed in exhibits in the Museum of Engineering Innovation.

Monet’s The Seashore at Sainte-Adresse (1864re-imagined for 2050.  

Professor Susan Gourvenec, University of Southampton
00:00

Professor Susan Gourvenec

RAEng Chair in Emerging Technologies for Intelligent & Resilient Ocean Engineering at the University of Southampton

The Seashore at Sainte-Adresse (1864) by MonetMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Reimagined Seashore at Sainte-Adresse labelled (2021) by MonetMuseum of Engineering Innovation

La Net Zero Rue Saint-Honoré (2021) by LovettMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Pissarro’s La Rue Saint-Honoré (1898) re-imagined for 2050.  

La rue Saint-Honoré (1898) by PissarroMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Reimagined La Rue Saint-Honoré labelled (2021) by PissarroMuseum of Engineering Innovation

The Net Zero Wheat Fields (1816) by ConstableMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Constable’s The Wheat Field (1816) re-imagined for 2050.  

Kit Franklin, Senior Lecturer in Agricultural Engineering at Harper Adams University
00:00

Kit Franklin

Senior Lecturer in Agricultural Engineering at Harper Adams University

The Wheat Field (1816) by ConstableMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Reimagined Wheat Fields labelled (2021) by LovettMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Net Zero Factories at Clichy (2021) by Vincent Van GoghMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Van Gogh’s Factories at Clichy (1887) re-imagined for 2050.

Sophie Harker, BAE Systems
00:00

Sophie Harker

Assistant Chief Engineer of Electric Products, BAE Systems 

Factories at Clichy (1887) by Van GoghMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Van Gogh annotated (2021) by LovettMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Engineering the future mosaic (2021) by LovettMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Dr Rhys Morgan, Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering says: “These famous masterpieces originally captured a snapshot of daily life at a time when the consequences of carbon emissions were not known."

“By reimagining them for 2050 we hope to start a conversation about how engineers can help shape our net zero future and inspire the next generation to join the profession. To realise the emission-saving technologies imagined in these artworks, the UK needs more engineers – for example, National Grid estimates that the UK energy sector alone will need to fill 400,000 roles between now and 2050 to reach net zero.” 

Engineer the Future - Ashly Lovett Commentary (2021) by LovettMuseum of Engineering Innovation

In discussion with Ashly Lovett

Behind the scenes with the digital artist who reimagined engineering into classic artworks

Ashly Lovett Headshot by Ashly LovettMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Known for her captivatingly ethereal artwork in chalk pastel, Ashly Lovett is a freelance illustrator, writer and gallery artist. Inspired by folklore and mythology, she hopes to bewitch her viewers with a deep sense of wonder. 

Ashly Lovett Headshot by Ashly LovettMuseum of Engineering Innovation

She has done licensed work for Jim Henson Company, Adult Swim, Netflix, SEGA, and more. She received her BA in Illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design and has exhibited in galleries from California to New York. She lives in Louisiana, USA with her  husband Matthew, son Leon, and fat cat Skeletor (a.k.a. Skelly.)

View the exhibits in the reimagined series:

Engineer the Future with Constable

Engineer the Future with Monet

Engineer the Future with Pissarro

Engineer the Future with Van Gogh

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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