A look inside Google's new Tel Aviv HQ
Cobbled streets, bohemian cafés, a slide instead of a lift (what could possibly go wrong?) and a tractor adorn the 'communication landscapes' of the search giant's new Israel office
The other day we reported from a cutting edge design show at the Holon Design Museum in Tel Aviv. More high-minded aesthetics and high jinks can also be found at the newly opened Google HQ in the city.
Now we all know that high tech businesses like to go a bit mad on their interiors. Some of this is because they just can, and some of it is to keep their demanding and easily-employable-elsewhere staff happy. Google must think its Israeli staff are at particular risk of jumping ship, as the new Tel Aviv HQ truly makes the mind boggle.
Designed by Camenzind Evolution in Switzerland with Israeli firms Studio Yaron Tal and Setter Architects, this building seems to have everything. There are orange trees in a meeting area, an artificial beach peppered with workstations and slides connecting different floors.
But while some of these gimmicks have cropped up in other such HQs, this office has a site-specific theme. The mini scenarios staged every time a Googler turns a corner are based on a genuine place in Israel - a new spin on Google maps perhaps?
“Each floor was designed with a different aspect of the local identity in mind, illustrating the diversity of Israel as a country and nation,” say the designers. Hence the corridors done up as narrow cobbled alleys flanked by window boxes and arched windows. And hence a room full of surf boards – in homage to the city’s fledgling surfer culture – and the room decked out like a desert landscape.
There is a serious intent behind these room sets, we are told. “Nearly 50% of all areas have been allocated to create communication landscapes, giving countless opportunities for employees to collaborate and communicate with other Googlers in a diverse environment that will serve all different requirements and needs.”
Which means the other half of this eight-floor HQ possibly comprises more conventional desking. It’s pretty crazy, and we wonder if it actually feels like a place of work but with the work-life divide increasingly blurred it's a risk that Google was obviously prepared to take. If there was something as conventional as a stand to rest it on, we'd take off our hats to them.