Artaic creates 330 square foot custom mosaic for the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
Two years and $220M later, the grand opening ceremony of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research was set for March 4. Yet the building was still without an important finishing touch. Supplier issues had left lead architect James Biber of Biber Architects without a solution for a signature mosaic on the floor of the main entryway.
Several days prior, a Biber associate received an email from a friend about “this cool company in Boston that uses robots to make mosaics super fast.” The friend, from architecture firm Payette, had recently toured the studio of Artaic – Innovative Mosaic. Impressed by the company’s capabilities, he had to let his associates know about this new find.
When Jim Biber presented the mosaic supply issue to his staff looking for a creative solution, the Biber associate was armed with his friend’s new information. The scenario was too good to be true: Artaic was able to meet ridiculously short timelines, was based about one mile away from MIT, and was also an MIT spinout company with connections to the Institute.
I was at home finishing dinner with my family on the evening of Jan 12 when I got a call from Jim Biber in New York… Jim had an urgent problem: A mosaic had been specified for the MIT building, yet they were not able to get it from the company originally specified within the tight timeframe.
Ted Acworth, CEO and founder (plus receptionist) of Artaic recalls
Biber had a month until the building’s grand opening – at which MIT president Susan Hockfield, Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown, and the building’s namesake & $100M donor David Koch would be in attendance – and needed a solution FAST.
A day later, Ted met with James Biber and James May, Senior Project Manager of MIT Department of Facilities. 36 hours later Artaic had a purchase order. After several design iterations with varying materials, the artwork was finalized using an American, made-to-order porcelain tile from American Restoration Tile. Artaic then fabricated the entire 330 sqft mosaic within a week, allowing plenty of time for Port Morris Tile & Marble to carry out the installation prior to the grand opening.
James May said one reason for the choice of the building’s location is its “proximity to similar institutions.” The Broad Institute, Whitehead Institute, and Brain & Cognitive Science buildings are all next to the proposed site.
May said that there is a “strong synergy” between researchers in these buildings. The mosaic design depicts this synergy by displaying all MIT buildings in a sandy color tile while similar biotech buildings are in white. The Koch building is centrally featured in a vibrant red tile.
Artaic was excited to work collaboratively with other innovators, Biber Architects and MIT. Their creativity and willingness to accept our new way of designing and fabricating mosaics really helped us fulfill this project on time.
Artaic really saved the project, I look forward to working with them on a future mosaic.
+ Video courtesy David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
+ About Artaic
Artaic is a full-service provider of high-end, custom mosaic projects. Through the use of computeraided design software and precision robotic manufacturing, Artaic drives the production of large scale and high volume mosaics with unparalleled speed, ease, flexibility and value. Artaic designs and manufactures their customized mosaics from a studio/factory in Boston’s Innovation District.
+ About The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT
The Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research is the new home of the Koch Institute – featuring roughly 180,000 square feet of state-of-the-art lab and workspace. The floor plans are specially designed to foster interaction and collaboration among biologists and engineers – both in terms of dedicated lab space and in the common areas, where informal talks will lead to new collaborations and spontaneous information-sharing. Together, our diverse faculty members will create a new culture of interdisciplinary cancer science.
In addition to lab and meeting space, the building features a ground-floor exhibit gallery that is home to a changing display of art and information on MIT’s leadership role in life sciences – the centerpiece being the Artaic mosaic feature.