17 Apr 2014

The Wacky Warehouse

When going round offices, you get the feeling that workspace design was accounted for under next to zero budget. And the likelihood is that most of us aren't that chuffed about our style-less, charm-less workplaces. Or if indeed we are chuffed, this might have not been the case at previous employers... I've worked in offices that range from the sublime (understand posh, trendy, light-bathed, design-led, Warholeque showroom type) to the darn right ridiculous (as in grubby, gums stuck to that knackered old brown carpet c.1972 matched by grime-caked Dickensian walls prospect)... So yes, I've worked in a few places from the sublime to the ridiculous and vice versa, but now I wish I had at least experienced Google!

I'd heard about Google's wacky uber trendy workplaces, from a friend of a friend who had worked at its Mountain View HQ. She had described to me the use of bold primary colours for the interiors that are supposed to excite those neurones (a bit like those tacky colours at McDonalds restaurants are supposed to excite those taste buds!). My friend had also mentioned the sleep pods where Google employees could catch 40 winks during their long shifts. Now this is the kind of concept that would get our European trade unions reel in horror and throw in a picket line straightaway. But what is interesting here is that - although I don't know whether those sleep pods were exported across the pond - Google's revolutionary wacky office format has certainly been teleported to the European cities of London, Dublin and Amsterdam, as featured in Fast Co.Design and The Telegraph, bringing fun, quirk and comfort into offices! You can see that the designers had a ball with the brief as they let their imagination run wild à la Lewis Carroll! Adios teary palettes of grimy grey, yawny magnolia and dirt-alike beige, the old clunky metal furniture that jars, the cheap carpet tiles that curdle and the small dingy windows that let the cold in and no natural light! Google's offices were designed to love you and be loved back. Now this is more than revolutionary, it is a novelty, right?

Liberace's Boudoir? I Think Not! This is a Conference Room at Google London's Super HQ!
Safe Room at Goldman Sachs? No, Padded Cell Room (Meeting Room) at London HQ!
Iron Man's Ejector Seat? No, It Belongs to London HQ!
TriBeCa Youth Centre? Google Amsterdam Offices More Like!
Latest Mr Bean Movie Set? Nope! It's a Meeting Room at Google Amsterdam!
Alice's Tea Party? Or Google Amsterdam Offices Featuring Stroopwafel Ceiling Tiles?
Photo source (from top down):
(1) to (3) = The Telegraph
(4) to (6) = Fast Co.Design

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