Bell Works is not only iconic for some of the most monumental technological innovations of the 20th century, but it has also become a hot spot for photographers (those of us who love snapping pics on our phones). Designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen in 1962 as a home for over 6,000 Bell Labs employees, the building features an open-atrium scheme and one-of-a-kind pedestrian street. During the day of Bell Labs, cameras weren’t allowed in the building, but today, its mid century lines, angles and shadows make it a unique destination for people who are inspired by the building and bring their own meaning and perspective to their photos.
In fact, artists and creatives far and wide have become visually inspired by the building for their projects. In August of 2016, artist Sarah Meyohas brought a team to Bell Works to perform an experiment right here in our atrium on our patterned floor created by Josef Albers. For Meyohas, the space came before the idea. After visiting Bell Works in the spring, she was immediately moved to create, but her iconic muse did not immediately inspire her to action. Then she had a dream. A dream about a cloud of rose petals. During her three day ‘Cloud of Petals’ performance/data-collecting mission, sixteen men chose rose petals they deemed most beautiful, which later got pressed to create a physical subset. That cloud of petals became the multi-layered conceptual performance art piece named Roses at Bell, consisting of 10,000 roses, photographs of the petals and a narrative documentary-style 16 mm film.
Saarinen’s design also attracted contemporary artist and director Daniel Arsham who chose the building to shoot several scenes for the film Future Relic ‘03” starring James Franco and Juliette Lewis. Arsham, a fan of the architects work, deemed the 473-acre site the “perfect location.” It’s also the kind of space that drew country singer Tim McGraw and his crew to feature Bell and its sprawling grass fields as backdrop for the cover of the singer’s 14th album, Damn Country Music.
Are you ready to capture your own image of Bell Works?
Bell Works welcomes photographers and members of the public to visit our building during business hours to capture images for their own personal use.
To learn more, download our photography guidelines.