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Look what Google’s doing to the outside of its massive data centers

The Data Center Mural Project
Keen to shed some light on the work of its massive data centers that help make the internet what it is, as well as to prettify the somewhat dull structures, Google recently hired the services of four mural painters to jazz up their outside walls.

“Whether it’s sharing photos, searching the web or translating languages, billions of requests are sent to ‘the cloud’ every day, but few people think about how all this information flows through physical locations, called data centers,” Joe Kava, VP of Google Data Centers, wrote in a blog post about the art project.

He explained that as the outside of the centers usually look a bit drab, people aren’t inspired to think about “the incredible structures and people inside who make so much of modern life possible.”

The Data Center Mural Project aims to change all that, with Kava describing it as “a partnership with artists to bring a bit of the magic from the inside of our data centers to the outside.”

The scheme kicked off with four artists getting their paint pots out for Google data centers in Oklahoma (Jenny Odell), Iowa (Gary Kelley), Belgium (Oli-B), and Ireland (Fuchsia MacAree).

In Mayes County, Oklahoma, digital artist Jenny Odell worked with Google Maps satellite imagery to create her mural (below), focusing on “types of infrastructure that enable the flow of goods, power and information – not unlike data centers themselves.”

The Data Center Mural Project: From Pixel to Paintbrush

Across the pond in Belgium, meanwhile, street artist Oli-B drew ideas from the cloud to create his striking mural (below) on the outside of Google’s St. Ghislain data center.

The Data Center Mural Project: Painting a Cloud

The Mountain View company says it plans to add murals to more of its data centers over time. The idea certainly helps to beautify what would otherwise remain as big, bland blots on the landscape, and just imagine the glee of the artists asked by Google to bring their work to these huge canvases! You can find out more about the scheme at the project’s dedicated website here.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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