From two founders and one employee working out of a friend's Menlo Park garage in 1997, Google has come a long way since then to fill its large Mountain View headquarters—fondly nicknamed the Googleplex. While its mission is still the same, to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful, today Google boasts a multitude of ingenious products including Google Search, Google+, Gmail, AdWords, Chrome , Android, YouTube and more.
The Googleplex itself is home to scores of buildings, each with its own quirky personality, proving that good design can indeed go hand in hand with good business. Google's corporate headquarters is just one among nearly 70 Google offices around the globe. Google employees leapfrog from Mountain View to offices in Ann Arbor and Seattle to Amsterdam and Shanghai. These offices aren't all identical, yet they share a few distinguishing characteristics: Googlers work in cubes, yurts and huddle rooms and there are very few private offices. And the famed free snacks are available 24x7 (blanced by hallways filled with exercise balls and bicycles, of course). Google's offices are designed and project maganaged locally, focusing on design specifically relating to that region.
Director of Global Design Chris Coleman has worked with the company for nearly a decade—crafting and reworking spaces around the world. When helping to oversee the transformation of the 1842 Shoreline building, Coleman went to the company's heart— its employees. Here, design isn't just about the aesthetics, it's about the functionality. The design team turned to users, using their input to create a stylish environment that encourages ultimate productivity.
Like the company, the art at Google's headquarters is constantly changing, growing and shifting. Oftentimes, the pieces are introduced by Google employees. Stan, the life-sized T-Rex skeleton right in the middle of campus, outside of the four main engineering buildings, was planted there by an employee. The random pink flamingos perching on the dinosaur? Similar story—they randomly appeared one night and have been rearranging themselves around Stan ever since.
Hungry? Breakrooms are packed with a wide variety of delicious-looking, healthy snacks and drinks to help keep Googlers going. Employees are also treated to breakfast, lunch and dinner at a number of themed cafes around campus.