Facebook has just unveiled its new office building, designed by Frank Gehry, as the company looks to push the boundaries and and recapture the creativity that the industry was originally built on. As start-up companies began popping up throughout Silicon Valley, the once inventive technology campuses slowly became eerily similar, making them anything but innovative. A quality which these companies were built on and are supposed to exude.
With Facebook’s new building, it is clear that Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of his partners were looking to bring back that spark in the company which drove them forward for so long. This is not to say that the building makes the company, but a building like this can certainly have a positive effect on worker productivity.
The building is a vast 434,000 square feet floor with grand, 22-foot high ceilings, making it feel more like an airport hangar than an office building. Pathways curve and loop around groups of desks, which Facebook refers to as “neighborhoods,” each housing a different product team. The colors throughout the office look spectacular, as the saturated colors and designs adorned by various artists, give the rooms depth and personality. Sun pours in from the skylights above bringing energy and brightness to the workday.
As you continue to walk around, you will pass snack kitchens with lounge seating and cafeteria, where three meals are served free everyday. No person has a private office (not even Zuckerberg!) keeping all employees accessible. On the roof you will find gardens with trees and grass with views of the mountains and San Francisco Bay. Throughout the garden, you will find space for meetings, naps and coffee. The layout (and the free food) inspires creative, sharing, collaborating and sociability. All of which the company represents on an online front.
Zuckerberg was looking to push Facebook’s workplace culture to new heights of fluidity and transparency. The open layout helps to maintain a sense of visibility as opposed to hierarchy. Workers will often find Zuckerberg moving around the looping paths as a time to reflect in his thoughts or engage with people on their work.
The building is surely spectacular and the design pushes the boundaries for what may be the next wave in office structure and layout, especially in Silicon Valley. The new office captures Zuckerberg’s extraordinary vision and the new building will mark the next chapter in the company’s well-documented life.