While most of us 9-to-5ers hunch over in boxy, fluorescent-lit cubicles, feeling lucky if our office has a snack machine, the Google employees of the world are zooming around on scooters, slipping down tube slides, playing on their indoor putting greens, and gloating about the awesomeness of their offices. If they can even be called offices—the designs of these nerd playgrounds so outclass your average corral of homogenous desks that we had to round them all up in a grand, jealousy (and sometimes eye-roll)-inducing slide show, on the occasion of Google unveiling its new Mexico headquarters. As one Google spokesperson told the New York Times, designers of Google offices have but one goal: “to create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world.” Marvel at the most over-the-top workspaces of Google’s big happy techie family and lament not being better at computer science.
Occupying an entire city block, the New York-themed amusement park of Google’s Chelsea-based headquarters has hallways decorated with subway grates and fire hydrants, graffiti’d conference room doors, and chandeliers made of meat hooks, a nod to the nearby Meatpacking District. One conference room is set up like a tiny Seinfeldian New York apartment—think exposed brick, an electronic drum set, and awkward family photos on the wall. Victorian-style portraits of Star Wars characters decorate the library. Scooters provide its 3,000 employees transportation around the 2.9-million-square-foot building, which welcomes dogs.
Designed by local studio D/DOCK, Google’s Amsterdam office designs also take inspiration from their location’s cultural history and visual flavor, capturing the playfulness inherent in so much Dutch design. The ceiling panels are designed to look like stroopwafels—that quintessentially Dutch gooey waffle-cookie. Maybe Googlers draw inspiration from sugar cravings? 1960s caravans serve as meeting rooms, complete with lawn chairs and fake grills.
Office foosball tables are old '90s startup news, but an office putting green? Top that with veritable jungles decorating workspaces, and Google's Dr. Seussian Dublin campus is possibly the most playground-like in the whole family.
Occupying eight floors of the Electra Tower in Tel Aviv, these offices look like what elves and fairies might build if they held board meetings. Designed by Camenzind Evolution in collaboration with Setter Architects and Studio Yaron Tal, the office features Space-Age egg chairs, ivy and flower-covered walls, shag carpeting, a Lego room, a tube slide between floors, and a view of the Mediterranean sea from the rooftop deck.
The trifecta of Google offices in London range from a space station-like space that seems straight out of a Stanley Kubrick movie to this happy kiddie funhouse to a decidedly homey anglophilic dreamhouse fit for Mr. Bean himself.
The original global headquarters in Mountain View, California, the heart of Silicon Valley, is a sprawling, sun-drenched campus known as the Googleplex. “It’s easy to feel like we’re back in college,” Googlers brag in their career page's description of the campus. Here’s why: hundreds of bikes and scooters provide transportation from the conference rooms to the bowling alley, the climbing wall, beach volleyball, and weekly “TGIF” celebrations. Whether hacky sacks are involved in those celebrations, we don't want to know.
Google toned down the Google for its Pittsburgh headquarters, opting for exposed pipes and peeled paint to channel the Steel City's rough-and-tumble vibe.
Zurich Google employees are called Zooglers. And they're virtually required to contract Peter Pan Syndrome in this fireman pole, slide, videogame, and hammock-filled workspace.