The Looking Glass

Designed by: ifp teen creatives 2017

location: kendall square

Clients: Cambridge Redevelopment Authority and Boston Properties

Installation Date: June 2019


The Looking Glass

invites you to look backward and forward in time. Standing on one side, people can catch a glimpse of Boston and the Longfellow Bridge, provoking memories of Boston in 1793 before the bridge was installed. On the other side, the sculpture frames a view of Cambridge and the future being created by some of the world’s most innovative companies.

The Looking Glass is a 5-foot aluminum sculpture installed in the heart of Kendall Square that serves as a permanent testament of iFp Studios’ capabilities. In response to a call from the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority for creative interventions in the built-environment, iFp Teens designed an interactive sculpture to showcase the city’s transformation from an industrial powerhouse into a biotech and tech mecca. The sculpture is linked to a website with a growing repository of stories to help inform the city’s visitors, workers, and residents of its rich history and exciting future.

The Process

iFp Teens use our Integrated Creative Problem Solving (iCps) framework for all design challenges. Students start with ethnographic research tools to understand the problem being solved, synthesize the data to determine what’s most important, consider many ways through ideation and prototyping, then finally deploy a solution to delight and amaze our clients. During the process there is a significant collaboration between the Teens and many mentors. The final design is fabricated by a professional fabricator. The Looking Glass was a two year project from conceptualization to installation. There were many unforeseen obstacles with permits and approvals.