Co.Design

Google's Newest Office Looks Like A Space Station With Foosball Tables

PENSON's giddy design looks like a movie set, but beneath the glamour, it's a place of work.

Would you like to work in a space station? Not the boring old real space station where conditions are quite cramped but a space station built by graduates of the Stanley Kubrick school of interior design? If so, I highly recommend that you get in touch with Google, and ask to be transferred to London.

Designed by PENSON, Google Engineering’s new London offices are a giddy exercise in science fiction set decoration, replete with smooth white surfaces and bold solid colors. I’ll admit that as I paged through the publicity images, it was a little hard to take them seriously. But this is a real working space, and behind the glamour there are carefully considered affordances for Google’s working style.

For example, unlike Kubrick’s eternally bare white corridors, PENSON intends that Google’s walls should be used. They are surfaced with magnetic whiteboard material. This allows engineers to sketch out solutions to problems, pin up working material, or project presentations as needed. All of the desks are height adjustable, and much of the floor space is given over to casual meeting spaces so that ad hoc teams and discussions can form as needed.

Besides, who’s to say that working spaces need to be ugly and drab? Assuming that the day to day conditions are as functional as PENSON says, the idea of heading into a fantasy spaceship environment for work puts a big smile on my face. Perhaps they can pipe in this loop of the Enterprise’s engines idling to complete the immersion.

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17 Comments

  • Pablogreg

    What I like of this is that is not the same 'It's like an apple design'... Yeah, it's strange but I haven't seen anything like this before, and in many ways this is what creativity is all about, mixing things that already exists in a diferent way. I really don't like when everything is minimal and white

  • Chris Graves

    Come now everyone, if you've followed Google's practices with workspace design here in the U.S., it shouldn't surprise you to see something like this. Or if you followed their day-to-day practices (Where a certain percentage of your time is required to be spent on something non-work related), all of it makes sense. If you've ever doubted their ideas in the past, I"m sure you kicked yourself in the butt... now is no different.

  • guest

    it looks like prison interiors. seriously, can google please spend their dosh on people that are actually creative ?!? Come on. they've been on the apple board. they know that a bit of obsessing over creativity and design (and passion for it) doesn't hurt. how can they expose their own work force to such seriously inhumane interiors? 
    i only don't like it because I'm a big fan of the actual products that are being designed there so I guess they could be WAY better if only they'd create them in a nice environment. 

  • Mark

    Yeah . . . Just OK - the design for Google should scream boldness and vision . . .not feelin the confidence in the design at all . . . I hate to be negative, but this is the kind of project, and I imagine budget, that designers dream of , and these timid pussies just wasted the opportunity.

  • Christopher A. Craft

    @NaoMediaCon:twitter WILL have an office like this one day. Really damn cool stuff here.

  • George Hammerton

    Oh yeah, now that's seriously cool! Don't know what it would be like to work in but it's stylistically quite amazing.

  • Ben

    The lighting feels like a bad coffee shop. Furniture has an instant "cool" response invoking quality but seems like it's actually ikea quality.

  • aaron

    I understand the desire to turn an office space into an area people can enjoy doing what they're doing, but isn't this overkill? I look at the rooms and think, "I want to take a nap." How does anyone get any work done there?

  • Cameron

    If only Android had such eclectic beauty. I don't mind eclecticism, but like GoogleSchmoole, I prefer Jobs' modernist window ring. Less cold, more connection to nature.