The Kendall Square office of Facebook, which opened last year, includes five art pieces commissioned by the social media giant. Ryan Mack, who runs the local office for Facebook, oversaw the selection of art:
“If you look at any of our offices, art’s an important part of our company culture. We try to find pieces that combine Facebook culture, which is about technology and connecting people, with the local culture. So we always get stuff from local artists.
“There are design elements that are consistent across all Facebook offices, but the art gives them a local touch. We put an artist statement up near each piece that tells a little story about the artist or how they designed that piece for the office.
“The ‘f’ was part of our launch event about a year ago and we reached out to Artisan’s Asylum and found an artist named Zebbler, who does a lot of electrical-mechanical work, and commissioned the piece.
“It’s actually a little bit smaller than the original, which was about 9 feet tall.
“We had to shrink it down to 6 or 7 to fit it into the office.
“It’s stainless steel sheets that they laser cut and bent into form. They repurposed some old circuit boards and built up the electronics inside so there would be blinking lights.
“It’s kind of random, but if you stare at it long enough you can imagine there’s a pattern. I’ve been known to do that, but I haven’t been able to work out exactly what it is.
“There was a bug in the software they wrote for it originally: every four or five weeks it would stop blinking and we’d have to unplug it and plug it back in. People would’ve come in and the lights wouldn’t be blinking, and we just couldn’t have that happen.
“We tried to come up with a very high-tech solution to fix this. We were thinking about putting some sort of video camera on it. Then one of my colleagues got a Christmas tree timer, so now it just turns off every night and every morning it’s on and working again.”
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