Studio O+A has designed new headquarters for software developer Giant Pixel.

The first thing you see upon entering? The opening crawl text from Star Wars--written in a custom-made binary code.

“These engineers are self-professed nerds, so we did something that was in their language,” O+A designer Neil Bartley says.

The Giant Pixel founders shared two different design inspirations with the O+A team: the look of Charles and Ray Eames’s workshop and The Jetsons. The latter inspired the curvy, concrete receptionist desk seen here.

The Giant Pixel office is an example of Studio O+A’s larger goal: designing offices that can foster company culture, instead of doing wacky, amusement-park-like offices and assuming they'll somehow lead to great ideas.

“The way we do that is through a lot of research," says O+A principal Denise Cherry.

That kind of research led the design team to install a full bar in the Giant Pixel basement.

Before they had headquaters, the engineers liked to brainstorm new ideas at bars.

"We are making observations to see how each group works," Cherry says. "So if we're placing a slide in there because it seems ‘fun,’ it’s also because it’s a direct connection to how they work.”

Co.Design

A "Star Wars"-Inspired Office In The Heart Of Silicon Valley

Software developer company Giant Pixel’s new office makes a coded reference to the trilogy's opening sequence.

When Giant Pixel approached Studio O+A to design its new headquarters, the software developer wanted a studio office that would also echo the look of Charles and Ray Eames’s workshop. And The Jetsons, too.

“It was up to us to marry that all together in one cohesive design,” says Denise Cherry, a principal at Studio O+A (the design team behind Facebook's and Square's offices, to name a couple). To capture a 1960s-era, but still futuristic look, Cherry and O+A designer Neil Bartley settled on a spare office with a few marquee pieces, including a large perforated-steel screen that makes up the entryway. The screen reads the opening crawl from Star Wars: “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...”

…in binary code. “These engineers are self-professed nerds, so we did something that was in their language,” Bartley says. “[The Giant Pixel team] jokes that they’ll bring recruits in and if candidates could understand the message they get off to a good start.”

The Star Wars-inspired screen is fun (“it’s a secret little nod,” Bartley tells Co.Design), but it also ties into Studio O+A’s larger goal: designing offices that can foster company culture, instead of designing wacky, amusement-park-like offices and assuming they'll somehow lead to great ideas. “You don’t want to create a playground; it’s a place where people work,” Cherry says. “The way we do that is through a lot of research. We are making observations to see how each group works. So if we're placing a slide in there because it seems ‘fun,’ it’s also because it’s a direct connection to how they work.”

Which explains how the Giant Pixel team also got a Studio O+A-designed speakeasy cocktail bar in their office basement: "The engineers told us they like to go out to a bar to brainstorm ideas, so we built them a full commercial bar," Bartley says. Because quoting Star Wars, like most things, is always better with a buzz on.

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7 Comments

  • Geekbait article detected! Cut-out binary inspired panel looks more like Matrix instead of Star Wars in my eyes. I can't remember any scene in Star-Wars using such pattern.

  • Mir Ahsan

    Get the Myo armband for everyone, and do some office automation and get voice control and motion detectors to do all the work and you're all set!

  • Richard Ballermann

    I thought the same too; this doesn't look much like Star Wars. But the text does indicate that there are a few pieces of inspiration from the films brought into the space. I don't know if it is accurate to say its Star Wars "inspired", more like subtle Star Wars references sprinkled throughout. Very cool space though.

  • Tommy Hood

    Aside from a few pictures, I don't see the Star Wars inspired office... Am I missing something? I was expecting cool window frames at least.

  • Stanley Manley

    I'm not sure I would qualify it as Star Wars, but it's a nice space and I like the emphasis on wood throughout. Make it more "earthian" and less "spacey".