For companies whose trade is measured in digital 1s and 0s, the tech giants of Silicon Valley seem pretty keen on having physical reminders of their success in the form of majestic headquarters. The latest example comes from Facebook, with Mark Zuckerberg announcing this week that the company has officially moved into its new digs: a 430,000-square foot warehouse designed by architectural superstar Frank Gehry and nicknamed "MPK20" (code for Menlo Park, building 20).
The building is basically one massive room and boasts the largest open floor plan in the world — a single area where thousands of people can work at once. There are smaller spaces for private work as well, and employees can always head to the 9-acre park located on MPK20's roof, boasting a half-mile walking trail, over 400 trees, and areas to work in. There's also a conference room slash ball pit inside — although this was apparently just the temporary result of "first day shenanigans."
"The building itself is pretty simple and isn’t fancy," wrote Zuckerberg on his Facebook page. "That’s on purpose. We want our space to feel like a work in progress. When you enter our buildings, we want you to feel how much left there is to be done in our mission to connect the world."
"unassuming, matter-of-fact and cost effective."
In an official statement regarding the project, Gehry said that Zuckerberg had wanted a space that was "unassuming, matter-of-fact and cost effective." The building, he said, was therefore not "overly designed" and has been kept "flexible to respond to the ever-changing nature of [Zuckerberg's] business; one that facilitated collaboration and one that did not impose itself on their open and transparent culture. This is the building that we created for him."
These values — openness, lack of pretense — are also noticeable in how Facebook chose to publicize the site. Rather than releasing a bunch of official photographs to the press, the company invited its top Instagrammers to document the site before it opened up. Will Google have to beat this by organizing a Periscope party to look round their new, planned offices? Somehow, we doubt it.
Yesterday, some other Instagrammers and I had the opportunity to visit @facebook HQ and take a first look at their new building: #MPK20. It's a huge, open floor plan space designed by Frank Gehry. It looks like a fun place to work, and it opens today! Fun fact: FB worked with 15 artists on the new artwork in the building. Every piece was created onsite and is meant to speak abstractly to what FB does—many of the pieces are a nod to connections, community, networks and systems. This particular hallway makes me want an orange dessert. More photos to come. #MPK20firstlook