Judging by the growing number of friends and family sending me virtual hugs, pokes and cocktails, Facebook appears to be winning the perpetual social networking horserace, at least for the moment. Not quite as narcissistic as Twitter or slum-dog as MySpace, the Facebook app is not too hot, not too cold, but prides itself on being just right - innocent enough for posted photos of your adorable new niece, Cadence, but cool enough for your guitar-player buddy to post iPhone video from his gig in Austin.
When the company’s rank quickly swelled to over 700 employees scattered hither and yon in 10 different locations around Silicon Valley, it became necessary to consolidate operations and get all those faces reading from the same book. The historic tendency of most newly minted internet start-ups is to take those up-till-now, unfamiliar profits and spend a hunk of those spanking fresh millions on an extravagant new “Corporate Campus” that will serve as a testament to the company’s enduring three-year legacy. And as history has also proved, most are usually belly-up before the paint dries. So let’s send Facebook a virtual hug for going green on their new company headquarters in Palo Alto.
The remodeled 150,000-square-foot laboratory facility was the former home of high-tech manufacturer Agilent Technologies in the Stanford Research Park, and is the first commercial project completed under the city’s new Green Building Ordinance. Keeping with the green theme and reflecting Facebook’s flatly structured company set-up and egalitarian ethos, every employee’s opinion was weighed equally in the design of the space, resulting in a very raw industrial feel with a recycled, unfinished look. Using existing architectural features and industrial components, recycled millwork, recycled-content carpet and even transforming an old, left-behind industrial crane into a designer conference table, everything that could be reused was used.
The task of creating smaller, inviting spaces within such a huge industrial context fell to Project designers, Studio O+A, who gave the space a free-flowing and open floor design with a series of mini-villages. These villages each reflect the style of the company’s different divisions, which, though they once operated separately, now work together under one enormous roof. Retro-style furniture blends seamlessly with the exposed surfaces of the complex and a kitchen and café provide employees with gourmet meals 24 hours a day! Drinks and snacks can be had at micro-kitchens throughout the headquarters. Throw in an outdoor basketball court, smooth concrete floors perfect for skateboarding between meetings, and of course, the industry-standard ping-pong tables, and you have a workplace that’s fun, functional and friendly, just like Facebook.
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