Inside Facebook's Forest City Data Center: A creative culture fueled by local talent

Feb. 15, 2013 @ 07:09 AM

A heady mix of local and international talent make Facebook’s Forest City data center an innovative and inspiring place to work. A recent video tour of the facility explored the data center’s technical workings. But there’s still more to the culture that drives Facebook’s constant innovation — from art to cuisine. 

Inspiring art plays an important role at all of Facebook’s offices. Western North Carolina's Gabriel Shaffer has contributed two new pieces to the company’s collection that are significant in both size and vision.  

Shaffer’s mural, entitled ‘Super-nature Growth Chart’ measures approximately 35' x1', filling an entire wall in the large, open room where Facebook personnel monitor data center activities. Colorful and brimming with a diversity of characters measuring up to seven feet high, the piece represents Facebook’s role in connecting the world.

The overall theme/concept of this piece is interconnectedness, amongst people, regional history, different cultures and generational ideas. There are ten separate characters standing side by side in a linear formation," Shaffer said, in a press release. "Each of these characters is either interacting, reaching towards, or into each other, to convey a sense of communication and sharing. Facebook, not only represents interconnectedness, it promotes opportunity and individual truths while witnessing the human experience. It gives the smallest individual a hope that they can change the world with an idea.”

Meantime, in the sunny and spacious cafeteria, Shaffer has created a koi pond. The 10' x 10.5' floor mural includes Facebook’s ‘f’ logo and inspiration from the pond at the farm of the artist’s grandmother.  

The murals are the latest in a series of local art projects including a larger-than-life statue of Facebook’s iconic ‘f’ created from recycled materials found at the site by Rutherford County sculptor Tom Elfers. In addition, work from area middle schoolers who’ve participated in an annual Facebook art contest is on display. 

“Facebook is about expression, and what better way to celebrate expression than commissioning works from talented local artists,” says data center manager Keven McCammon. 

And art isn’t the only source of sustenance. A day in the life of the data center also includes regular meals for staff and contractors. Facebook leadership pays a revolving circle of local businesses to serve up their best. The meals — include breakfast and lunch five days a week — are on the house. 

For more on the art featured in the Facebook’s Forest City data center and the culture that surrounds it, please contact Billy Warden (919.412.0630) or Greg Behr (919.272.5621).