Steampunk-Inspired Sculpture

Art comes in many different shapes, sizes and settings, and a sculpture outside a Massachusetts hotel is drawing curious onlookers.

The exterior of Hotel Marlowe is now transformed, thanks to a sculpture fabricated with steel, aluminum and gears from an old water mill.

"About 6,000 man hours went into building this thing. Weighs over 6,000 pounds, 25 feet tall. It actually arrived in one piece, which was amazing to see," said Hotel Marlowe general manager Joe Capalbo.

That was an event itself as "Celeste" made her journey on a flatbed truck from western Massachusetts to East Cambridge. The sculpture is the creation of Salmon Studios and ModVic, a design company specializing in steampunk art. That caught Capalbo's eye.

"The concept of using different reclaimed products and repurposing them into art is really cool," Capalbo said. "The hotel has always had a discovery theme to it, a theme of exploration. You see that throughout the guest rooms, throughout the guest spaces, the existing artwork in the hotel. It seemed like a natural fit to tie that armillary into the theme of the sculpture."

Those armillaries - celestial spheres that incorporate a framework of rings - can be found throughout the hotel, from lamps to table tops and now the courtyard.

"Over time, it ages so it looks like it's been here forever," said Capalbo.

The sculpture has an internal motor that gives it movement. At night, "Celeste" is illuminated with LED lights that can change colors, enticing visitors to grab a glass of wine and head outdoors.

"Every time that I'm out there, I see guests that are walking around the sculpture, walking around, looking up and interacting with it," Capalbo told necn.

The sculpture was a year-and-a-half in the making. Capalbo said the hotel's aim is to offer a special experience not only for Hotel Marlowe guests but members of the Kendall Square business community as well.

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