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Google facelifts data centres with colourful mural project

Wed 25 May 2016

Data center mural

Google has launched a new global initiative to jazz up its data centres, asking local artists to put their creative juices to work on the facilities’ façades and adorn them with public artwork.

Joe Kava, VP Google Data Centers, said of The Data Center Mural Project: “Billions of requests are sent to ‘the cloud’ every day. But few people know all this information flows through physical locations, called data centers. Because these buildings typically aren’t much to look at, people usually don’t, and rarely learn about the incredible structures and people who make so much of modern life possible.”

Oklahoma digital artist Jenny Odell was tasked with the project of designing a mural for a data centre in Mayes County. She used satellite imagery from Google Maps to create a collage of different types of infrastructure including 125 swimming pools, 206 circular farms, 77 waste and salt ponds, and 964 water treatment plants. After creating the mural digitally, Odell worked with a team of 15 painters to mirror the design on the walls of the building.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.09.29Odell said that the mural represents a modern flow of power, goods, and information, all of which come together in the data centre.

Another project in Belgium saw illustrator and street artist Oli-B decorate a data centre in St. Ghislain, which serves users across Western Europe and other global locations. Oli-B decided on an abstract representation of the cloud, which includes depictions of local Belgian life and references elements specific to the site and its employees. For example, an 8-ball featured in the artwork is a nod to the employee pool table found inside.

Further murals have been commissioned in Dublin, Ireland and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Both are due for completion by the end of 2016.

Kava added that he hopes the campaign will eventually be brought to more locations around the world.

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