888 Boylston Street

Submitted by FXFOWLE Architects

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Client: Boston Properties

Location: Boston, MA, United States

Completion date: 2016

Project Team

Art Consultant

Erdreich White Fine Art

Client

Boston Properties

Artist

Christian Eckart

Artist

John Salvest

Artist

Steinunn Thorarinsdottir

Overview

Commissioned artwork in 888 Boylston Street’s office lobby enhances both the building’s architecture and tenant experience. Elevated and located to the back, the space is accessed via stairs or escalators from the front lobby, or from the adjacent Prudential Center.

“QED, 2016”; Water-based acrylic urethane on aluminum; 162” diameter x 32.5” deep; 1,750 pounds. “Magma II”; Cast iron; 73” tall x 33” x 13”; 800 pounds. “Intermission II”; Aluminum and Dolerite rock; 39” x 31.5” x 27.5” (figure); 50” x 98” x 10” (rock); 160 pounds (figure); 1,650 pounds (rock). “Aspire”; Business cards; 80” x 276” x 4” deep.

Goals

To support the architectural design, three art directions were selected to enhance the structural and space layout, speak to various aesthetics, enliven the lobby, and create an active dialogue Two human-scale sculptural figures greet and engage each passerby. One can walk around them to further interaction, while the figures remain passive, contemplative, and thought-provoking to reinforce the human condition as a natural element of public spaces. Above the reception desk, a large disc hangs bold and proud, gently bowing to its audience below. Its surface changes colors as one views it from various angles, and it is affected by exterior elements revealed by the lobby’s clerestories opposite—speaking to the space’s multiple approaches and the ever-changing nature of the world. On a pedestrian bridge above the lobby, a piece made from approximately 3,200 business cards reads “ASPIRE.” Towering above like a witty, celestial message to tenants making their way to the office tower, it reflects diversity through each signature card, while symbolically suggesting the motivation of people brought together. For 888 Boylston Street, a paradigm of the new workplace, each piece is strategically positioned to engage on various levels, passive yet assertive, visual yet intellectual.

Process

While 888 Boylston Street was under construction, Elizabeth Erdreich White/Erdreich White Fine Art, Dan Kaplan/FX FOWLE, and Boston Properties met to review the overall project scope and design of the building. The inherent nature of the space was discussed, as well as the design intention, materials, and building program. Elegant, organic, and sculptural, the design of the lobby space was purposeful and deserved the perfect artistic collaboration. Given the scale, design intent, and aesthetic choreography that was desired, commissioned artwork was considered the best direction. Following agreement on the most important locations for art, a broad array of options was reviewed, with agreement that direction for the back wall was to be considered first. Then, it was paramount that the other selections would contrast yet speak to each other eloquently. There was a series of thorough review meetings to narrow down the artists and further explore the finalists. Once selected, each finalist created a proposal to express design ideas, and final concepts were approved. Boston Properties committed to redefine the public experience by engaging the viewer with carefully selected art in dialogue with one another and in concert with the FXFOWLE-designed space, while triggering all the senses.