Four Things Silicon Valley Insiders Know When Selecting Art

Ever wonder how a particular sculpture or landscape feature was chosen to grace a company’s office or headquarters in one of the most prestigious locations in the world? As a studio that has worked with many of the famous names in Silicon Valley, we can tell you from experience at least four major considerations every executive and/or arts committee will have on its mind before the first shovel breaks ground.

1.  Silicon Valley is all about imagination and ideas. Without the ability to dream, create, and invest in something that doesn’t exist today, the people and organizations who have established themselves here would not be who they are. Any major artwork commission has to be conceptual and sophisticated enough to merit inclusion in a society that values both ideas and imagination as among its highest attributes.

2.  The Valley’s companies and wealthy individuals are major influencers of popular art and culture worldwide. Extensive capabilities for creating art are now in the palms of our hands and at our fingertips, thanks to Silicon Valley entrepreneurship. Access to works of art is only a screen tap away from almost any corner of the world. Today’s powerful companies and individuals in the Valley are also direct benefactors of working artists, not unlike the Medici family of the Renaissance. Whatever works of art they select for themselves, whether inside or outside a structure, cannot be insignificant and must pay meaningful tribute to the world of art itself.

3.  Silicon Valley has a profound sense of place. This narrow Northern California peninsula, bounded by San Francisco to the north and San Jose to the south, with Stanford University as its beating heart, occupies a unique geographical and emotional space that has yet to be successfully replicated, though many areas have tried. Companies recognize the uniqueness, exclusivity, and prestige associated with a presence in Silicon Valley. The art they choose for themselves is not going to be bolted onto a project as an afterthought. Instead, it will be considered carefully ahead of time, making sure the concept is in keeping with the ethos of the company or developer who has claimed a spot on what could arguably be described as the world’s most precious—and limited—stretch of land.

4.  Human capital is the most important venture of all. It’s no secret that Silicon Valley lavishes affection on its people. The competition to find and keep the best talent is fierce, and art plays a part in creating an environment ripe for human achievement. We’ve all heard about the food, transportation, recreation, and campus environments found there, and artwork is no exception. All these perks and benefits are in the spirit of attraction, retention, and optimization of talent, i.e., helping people generate their best ideas and work to their highest capabilities. To that end, the capacity for encouraging people to pause, think outside the box, or simply be soothed might be high on the list of criteria for a major art commission.

For examples of companies we love, and our work for them in Silicon Valley, please visit studiowinterich.com and browse our portfolio.