Client: BioMed Realty
Location: Cambridge, MA, United States
Completion date: 2015
Chris Williams Sculpture
Kendall Square is home to some of the leading biotech research companies in the world. “Nerve Center” with its reaching dendrites, is the epicenter – the hub of Kendall Square. Made in bronze and slumped glass, this piece reaches 25’ tall.
When Biomed Realty began to develop the plaza between the buildings of Kendall, they wanted to create a sense of place recognizing the science this place is known for. As we walked along the Charles River that ends at Kendall, my client turned to me and said, this place is like a nerve center for biotech research. He held his arms out pointing to the various buildings saying all of these companies have similar goals. My response was immediate - we need a giant Neuron!! “The Nerve Center” creates a sense of place and its purpose; to recognize the cutting edge biotech research happenings at Kendall Square - a birth place of big ideas.
Working glass into my sculptures has brought color and light into my work. But more importantly it brings that fluid integration between mediums that is the true reflection of life in the art. I wanted to bring this life into Nerve Center. For many years I’ve been blowing glass inside of my sculptural forms and with this piece it was crucial to me that glass be a part of the nucleus. This was a challenge because of its size. But that’s where the excitement lies. My friends at MIT worked with me on this one. I created molds and had the MIT glass lab team slump the glass into my forms creating the individual windows you see on the nucleus. After the windows were made, I created the metal around them. Resulting in what looks like the biggest blown glass project you’ll ever see. Bulging glass out of the voids as if it were blown inside. So great and it looks organic, like the living cells they study at Kendall.