Google Brightens up its Data Centers with a Cool Mural Project

May 30, 2016

That Google is a dedicated patron of the arts is a long-established fact, and the Data Center Mural Project is only their latest voyage into the creative world. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve witnessed the launch of Google Tilt Brush, which threatens to become an artistic tool to be reckoned with, as well as the Gigapix Camera, that aims to capture and share artworks in museums everywhere in very high definition. Now, Google will have its own murals to add to their ever-growing digital archive. In an effort to embellish its own workspaces around the world, Google has teamed up with four international muralist to paint the external walls of their data centres, reflecting on what is inside their intriguing facilities, as well as on the community they ultimately belong to.

Video - The Google Data Center Mural Project

The Google Data Center Mural Project

At Google, they are very proud to call themselves “the home of the internet” - quite literally, because their global data centers represent actual, physical places where many people work hard to make the virtual side of our modern lives as smooth as possible. Because many people don’t even know they exist, there will now be four magnificent murals that will draw our attention to them immediately, bringing ”a bit of the making from the inside of our data centers to the outside”, according to VP of Google Data Centers, Joe Kava. At the moment, two out of four murals planned for the first phase of the Google Data Center Mural Project were already painted on their walls in Mayes County, Oklahoma and St. Ghislain, Belgium, by digital artist Jenny Odell and street artist Oli-B respectively.

Painting A Cloud in St. Ghislain, Belgium

The Murals, So Far

In Oklahoma, artist Jenny Odell has created vibrant collages made up of imagery collected from Google Maps. Using the data centers, of course, she searches satellite imagery of man-made objects, like circular farms, swimming pools, waste and salt ponds and round structures of wastewater treatment plants - in fact, a total of 1372 of them were featured in her digital collage, which eventually ended up in her mural artwork. It took a total of 15 painters and almost 400 unique colors to finish the piece, using a technique called “pouncing” - the same method that Michelangelo used to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

In Belgium, on the other hand, we have the colourful interpretation of “the cloud”, offered by local street artist Oli-B. Consisting of elements specific to the community, data center site and its employees, the mural mixes abstract and figurative approach by this young painter and illustrator from Brussels. The artist incorporated famous landmarks of the town of St. Ghislain, like the Nimy-Blaton-Péronnes canal, along with the imagery of Belgian life, such as the balloon from the annual festival L’Ascension à Saint-Ghislain. And so, from his sketches came beautiful murals that now grace two entire façades of The Facility Support Area building.

The two remaining murals of the Google Data Center Mural Project will be soon created by Fuchsia Macaree in Dublin, Ireland, and Gary Kelley in Council Bluffs, Iowa. We’re already looking forward to them!

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Featured images in slider: Murals by Oli-B and Jenny Odell for the Google Data Center Mural Project. All images used for illustrative purposes only.