After I wrote my post on the new Facebook office spaces, my friend Andy made me put my money where my mouth was and invited me to Facebook to tour the offices for myself. Since that was one of my most commented upon posts I couldn’t pass up the chance to see the campus for myself.
Was the campus overwhelmingly large? Yes. So much so that there are shuttle buses and bicycles to get people from building to building. But is also filled with light and art and posters and a sense of play. It was also a lot quieter than I expected it to be. People were very respectful of the open seating and kept their voices down in the open areas. They used the closed conference rooms and outdoor areas, the coffee shops and other communal areas for conversations. It was actually a very congenial environment and not at all what I was expecting.
There was so much art. And posters and graphics all pinned haphazardly to the walls which gave the space a casual vibe and made it feel partially like a college campus and partially like Disneyland for coders.
I also work in a large office with tons of cubicles and an ongoing attempt to have “open seating” despite the photo from the previous post, Facebook’s space actually has a warm comfortable vibe of a loft apartment rather than a corporate office that stripped all the walls out of the cubicles. Each employees space has personal touches that show their personality, some more than others, of course. Some folks work on large desktop machines while others work on laptops to be more mobile. Some people work on mobile apps and just wander around with their phone in their hands. What a way to function!
All in all, it was an inspiring day and I feel quite differently about the landscape, both inside and out, of the Facebook offices. And I’m supremely jealous that the weather is such in California that Facebook employees can essentially work outside in the roof garden 11 months out of the year. Makes me dread January in KC.
For even more photos, check out my full Facebook HQ album on Flickr. And yes, I’m eating my words a little now. At least they taste like asian noodle bowl and mint chocolate chip ice cream.
I was listening to Cortex yesterday and Myke and CGP Grey were mentioning the new Menlo Park headquarters for Facebook and the large, open-plan work space. This space is not a trend unique to Facebook. Many companies and office spaces are transitioning to open-plan work spaces for more “open communication” and collaborating. But is this type of space really the solution to that? Do people really collaborate more and do critical thinking in a space like this or do they end up trying to drown out all the distractions with headphones or go hide away in a closet somewhere to get some actual work done?
I find the interior space of the new Facebook office neither aesthetically appealing nor engaging for working or collaborating. It just looks cluttered, messy and noisy. The fact that no one is given any storage space nor are they encouraged to have personal items on their desk seem to only make it more disheartening and cluttered. The overly high, unfinished ceilings with cables descending down are even worse! I think of something Trevor Noah said about not moving into Jon Stewart’s office after he left the Daily Show… he talked about how the whole point of moving up in the worked and getting out of poverty meant he didn’t want to have to live in a space with exposed brick walls again and what was it with white people and exposed brick? I feel the same way about wealthy tech companies and exposed wiring? You can afford to have that sh*t covered up! This whole space gives me a case of the hibby jibbies!
I really hope that the pendulum of the open floor plan office starts to swing back the other way because I don’t believe that this much openness is genuinely conducive to non-distracted working and thinking. I believe it leads people to seek out other places to work, or they choose to come into work either early or stay late in an attempt to avoid distrations. I think the myth of multi-tacking needs to stop. It makes people sloppy and tired. We can multi-task for a little while but, in the end, I don’t think its effective, efficient or healthy. I don’t think we, as idea workers, can come up with our best ideas when we are constantly distracted by co-workers, bleeps, or other disturbances. Yes, its nice to have a way to bounce ideas off other people, but we need to find a better way to do it other than forcing people to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with headphones on while they madly type into their laptops and mobile devices. That’s not really collaborating, is it?
I hope these spaces feel colorful and inspiring. So many of the images I find around the internet of workspaces lately have been stark white and barren and don’t feel like inviting workspaces. These spaces felt tidy but productive with evidence of people actually utilizing the space for a variety of tasks.
There are lots of great detail photos and “where to buy” guides interspersed in this office tour of fashion blogger Caroline Harper Knapp of House of Harper. Also interspersed are other workspace and office tours previously posted on My Domaine. Eye candy galore.
I’m loving reclaimed wood or deep stained wood desks lately. Whether the look is rustic, mid-century or ladylike, I love them all. Maybe its a desire to have a work surface that’s not made of MDF or faux wood veneer.
Click on the photos to link to the original posts.
Is your desk wood, metal or some other material? Are you thinking about upgrading?
With all the grey, bleak weather around these days, I got the itch to redesign my office speace with lush greens and natural woods. I want to create an oasis of greenery, woodsy beauty indoors.
Putting a desk near the window takes advantage of natural light without being distracting.
I love how functional this space is – and crammed to the gills. The Vitra vintage plastic wall (available new from Design Within Reach for a mere $475) caddy is a great way to keep tools handy and makes an office space feel more like a workshop.
Each month, in Vanity Fair magazine (and on their website) there is an annotated photo of a famous person’s desk. For the pen geek, its a treat to see that Jerry Bruckheimer collects ornate fountain pens, that Lorne Michaels office looks just like the set created for Sutdio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and Trey Parker and Mat Stone’s office is just as messy as you thought it would be. I love Aaron Sorkin’s vintage Pen & Pencil ashtray shown in the photo above.
They also have a digital version of the My Desk column called My Phone that shows digerati’s home screens and they discuss their favorite apps.
The folks over at European Paper, an online paper goods shop located in Colorado (not really Europe at all!), have taken some of my desk and office pins from Pinterest and combined them with some of their lovely paper goods and featured them on their blog. Click on the images to see EP’s product recommendations that coordinate with these work spaces.
And stay tuned, their shall be more collaborations between The Desk and European Paper. Are you excited? I am!
Not to usurp the awesomeness of Lucky Magazine’s editor-in-chief Eva Chen’s new office but the once hallowed home decor magazine Domino is back as an online magazine and shopping portal. Just so you know.
Now, back to Ms. Chen’s office. Its a lovely light, bright, colorful space complete with sofas to lounge upon and flowers galore. Its a bit of an ideal ideal but I do love the nice clean, white desk for all the computer equipment. And I really need to keep more flowers and greenery in my workspace. I do think it cheers things up immensely.
I would, however, have put a large wooden table and chairs where the couches and coffee table are. I prefer a good working area to meet or spread out all those pages for review and editing, then couches to veg out on.
My co-worker, Tobe, featured a post on her site, Because It’s Awesome. The article was written by Guest Blogger Emily from Recently the Blog about her home office. The content was so “Well-Appointed Desk”, I just had to share.
Visit Because It’s Awesome for more details about how Emily turned a 70s built-in into a fresh, modern workspace including links to resources.
A peek inside the office of Meghan Goulette, Director of Marketing at Rockit Ranch Productions shows a space with traditional modern office furniture with her own aesthetic touches to make it feel more personal and luxe. She keeps a vase of fresh flowers and a vase of oranges to give a joyous pop of color. She added some in-box trays in lime and a black ceramic dish to hold her personal items. On the wall, she added zig zag striped fabric panels for notes and inspiration. Hot pink storage boxes on the shelf help hide any additional clutter.
Do you have any techniques for jazzing up corporate office basics?
Interior design team and brothers Doug and Gene Meyer shared images on their blog of their desks and the massive collage walls of inspiration in their Miami studio. They actual employ a collage technique in a lot of the spaces they design for clients. Its a feast for the eyes and a great way to brighten the space over your desk if you don’t have a window view.
Even Don Draper needs to upgrade his office furniture every season or so. The set designers for Mad Men worked hard to make the office furniture appropriate for the time period using both vintage and reproduction pieces. The article on Midcentry Modernist goes into extensive detail about the specific pieces used and the subtle upgrades made throughout the series.
This week, I thought I’d cull through all my desk, pen and office supply boards on Pinterest and give you some visual Link Love. Check the sidebar to find me on Pinterest and follow the boards that interest you.
From aqua to navy, blue is a soothing color and a great backdrop for those shiny silver and black computers we all use. I have collected, from all over the internet, an array of bluetiful desks from tres feminine to manly and retro.
Do you prefer a natural work surface or would you consider using getting a can of paint and having a more whimsical desk? If not blue, what color would you choose?
I love seeing he workspaces of authors and other famous folks. So finding this treasure trove of photos of workspaces totally made my day.
This is cluttered space where writer William F. Buckley is a converted garage. He spent a lot of his life and even died here.
The writing hut used by Neil Gaiman is one of the most amazing little places. I would love to have a place like this someday thought I doubt I would write anything as loved or amazing as The Anansi Boys, Neverwhere, or American Gods.
The new focus on standing desks and treadmill desks aren’t a new thing. Winston Churchill was a believer in a standing desk fifty years before the Nike FuelBand.
While researching for the Free People office post the other day, I also found images of the neighboring Urban Outfitters office space and thought it would be fun to share this space as well. This is part of the old Philadelphia shipbuilding yard, a series of massive old buildings with some unusual elements that create a striking, grand space.
Lots of the original architectural details of the building was preserved while adding some modern and urban looking additions. There are even koi ponds in pits previous used for bending steel.
There is a wonderful video on the MS&R site that goes into more detail, with more images of the space, that is really quite moving. I’m not a huge fan of the Urban Outfitters brand in general but I think their workspace is hugely inspiring.
Oh, all those windows! I work in a cavelike space at the moment and have serious window-envy!
You can see more images of the Urban Outfitters office at Decor8.
One of the great things about owning my own business is that I get to work from home. So it was very important to me as an Interior Designer that I have a space that reflects my style and is an inspiring and energizing place to come to work! I love everything about my office, it has all the essentials… flowers, candles, pink walls, my iMac, a skull and, of course, some animal print!
The offices of Free People are in Philadelphia in the navy yard alongside the office for Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. There is a bohemian bazaar feeling to the Free People space that mirrors the fashions that they sell.
I like that they covered the Eames Aluminum Group Chairs with ethnic print fabrics in one of their conference rooms. The natural wood conference tables are such a nice change from the laminate tables found in most conference rooms.
The work spaces are definitely not cubicles in the traditional sense. There’s lots of exposed, natural materials and natural light give the space a studio feel.