Artists create relief sculptures of Google and Apple headquarters
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Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe exhibition by Langlands & Bel

Artists create relief sculptures of Google and Apple headquarters

The headquarters of Facebook, Apple and Google feature in this series of relief sculptures by artists Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell.

Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe exhibition by Langlands & Bell
Langlands & Bell has created reliefs of several technology company's headquarters including the Foster + Partners-designed Apple Park in Cupertino

The artists, known collectively as Langlands & Bell, created the pieces for an installation at the Ikon gallery in Birmingham called Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe.

The artworks are based on the offices of some of the world's largest technology companies. Each is made by hand, from a combination of white-painted card and wood.

Included in the exhibition is Foster + Partners' Apple Park campus in Cupertino, Google's Charleston East campus designed by BIG and Thomas Heatherwick and Facebook's Frank Gehry-designed Menlo Park office in Palo Alto.

Ikon gallery in Birmingham called Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe
The exhibition called Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe is at the Ikon gallery in Birmingham

Langlands & Bell created the artworks as they believe technology companies are becoming increasingly powerful, but that we can learn a lot from the buildings they occupy.

"The internet giants continue to grow exponentially, becoming ever more powerful by the day, and are exercising an increasingly profound influence on our lives," Langlands & Bell told Dezeen.

"They are reshaping the cultures, politics and economies of the planet comprehensively."

Ikon gallery in Birmingham called Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's office in Seattle designed by NBBJ is included in the exhibition

The project began after the pair saw plans for Apple Park, and learned that many other "internet giants" had recently built or were building new headquarters.

"The plans were so spectacular and ambitious we realised that this was a significant moment, not just in the development of the companies themselves, but in all of our lives," they said.

"We realised that for the first time these companies whose intangible and rather opaque activities are by turns enabling and controlling, were now making definitive statements about their intentions and ambitions in a language that we could all understand."

Ikon gallery in Birmingham called Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe
The plan of Google's Charleston East campus designed by BIG and Thomas Heatherwick is featured in the exhibition

Along with Facebook, Apple and Google's headquarters, three further buildings in the US are included in the display – the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's office in Seattle designed by NBBJ, Apple's campus in Sunnyvale California designed by HOK and computer component manufacturer Nvidia's Californian base by Gensler.

The exhibition also includes four buildings in China, the offices of E-commerce giant Alibaba in Hangzhou designed by Hassel, IBM's headquarters in Beijing designed by NEXT Architects, an NBBJ-designed office for online retailer Suning.com in Nanjing, and the headquarters of Chinese web services company Baidu in Beijing designed by ZNA Architects.

Ikon gallery in Birmingham called Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe
The exhibition includes an artwork based on the Frank Gehry-designed Menlo Park office for Facebook

"We don’t want to be distracted by decoration or peripheral agendas, we're interested in the essential appearance and structure of the building, both for its intrinsic aesthetic value, and for what it says about the intentions of the client and the architect," explained the duo.

According to the artists, the offices' forms are broadly based on long-used simple architectural forms or consciously futuristic designs.

"Either they engage timeless and universal typologies, the circular plan, an idealised harmonised enclosure, the ring structure, as with Foster's design for Apple, or they are futuristic anecdotes with a kind of extra-terrestrial Sci-fi approach, such as Nvidia’s huge new HQ at Santa Clara," they said.

Ikon gallery in Birmingham called Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe
Baidu's headquarters in Beijing designed by ZNA Architects has been recreated in a hand made model

The artists hope that the exhibition will encourage people to consider the role of tech giants in the modern world and ask whether the buildings they are creating will define the 21st century.

"We wonder whether this new genre of architecture will be era-defining: the architecture of the 21st-century. Will these huge and expensive buildings last and rival the Colosseum, Versailles, or Stonehenge?" they said.

Langlands and Bell have been collaborating together for 40 years. The Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe exhibition is on show at the Ikon gallery in Birmingham until the 10th June 2018.

Exhibition photograph is by Stuart Whipps.

More images

Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe exhibition by Langlands & Bell
IBM's headquarters in Beijing designed by NEXT Architects recreated by Langlands & Bell
Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe exhibition by Langlands & Bell
NBBJ-designed office for online retailer Suning.com in Nanjing recreated by Langlands & Bell
Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe exhibition by Langlands & Bell
Nvidia's Californian base by Gensler recreated by Langlands & Bell
Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe exhibition by Langlands & Bell
Alibaba in Hangzhou designed by Hassel recreated by Langlands & Bell
Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe exhibition by Langlands & Bell
Apple's campus in Sunnyvale California designed by HOK recreated by Langlands & Bell
Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe exhibition by Langlands & Bel
Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe exhibition by Langlands & Bel
Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe exhibition by Langlands & Bel