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  • 02.13.14

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.

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“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.

About the author

Margaret Rhodes is a former associate editor for Fast Company magazine.

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