Meet the man who designs Google’s new Headquarter

British designer Thomas Heatherwick is designing Google’s new buildings in California and London.


In 2012, the British designer Thomas Heatherwick found himself at dinner with Google co-founder Larry Page from the billionaire house in California.

Page wanted to discuss future of The sprawling headquarters of Google in Mountain View, as well as some of the other offices of the company in all the world.

But dinner almost didn’t happen.

“I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t, we didn’t, really” back to them in origin, ”Heatherwick told CNBC in an exclusive tech event in Rural England last week.

Heatherwick was hesitant as to why some of the other technology companies were “doing” private worlds for themselves behind fences “and that didn’t interest him.” A friend of the studio, who also knew them, spoke with us, and said, ‘No, really, you need to talk to them. ‘”

Heatherwick told Google she would be interested if the development contributed to the whole of Mountain View rather than creating a “smug and separated bubble” for exclusive and elite workers. ”

Google liked the sound of it and Heatherwick – who designed the new London’s “Routemaster” bus and the controversial Garden Bridge proposal over the River Thames and the ship structure in New York – was invited to have a broader conversation with Page over a one-for-one dinner.

It went well. “There was a shared interest in see buildings as an opportunity for re-evaluating what it means work, “said the bearded man 51-year-old, dressed in floating black pants, a white shirt and a black waistcoat. “From that moment a journey began”.

Google hangars

Heatherwick had her say studio decided to team up with the Bjarke Ingels group because of the scale of the project.

Both companies were desperate to try to avoid what was happening to others? tech companies in Silicon Valley where there are “buildings with this asphalt tutu round the edge” it’s at car skirt, “said Heatherwick.

They wanted to create something more natural that gave a little of Bay Area Streams and Plants “a chance to be amplified and multiplied “and an opportunity for the public wander relatively freely between the between various Google buildings. “Wax real support from Google, ”Heatherwick said.

The new Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View CA is in construction e features a tent like canopy. The structure is designed by architects Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick.

Steve Proehl | Corbis Unpublished | Getty Images

Heatherwick said the idea of have “tasteless boxes” of office space”it didn’t seem right and this design moves even a slight change in atmosphere seemed appropriate.

Flexibility was one of by Google key criterion given that the company can need for use the spaces for time production in time.

Heatherwick visited NASA’s Ames Air Base which has three giant hangars and sits next for one of the sites on which Google is expanding. “Looking at these airship hangars, it suddenly became … clear”Heatherwick said.” There were … big, flexible volumes in that you could adapt and change over time.”

The solution for Google consisted of four vast hangars all slightly different from one another. Two can house around 4,000 Google employees each, while another can employ around 3,000. The final one it is a theater.

Heatherwick describes hangars as a bit like semi- rigid giant curtains. Unlike most tents, however, Google’s will be in able to generate energy.

“We started off by saying, ‘what if that’s all? like one gigantic solar panel … that we can pull, like a tent to make a giant hangar, ‘”Heatherwick said.” And then we cut it … like Zoro for daylight in wherever you are want. ”

Heatherwick said he worked with solar panel manufacturers to obtain a tailor-made product that had a “slightly different aesthetic quality” than the standard blue and black panels that may seem “heavy enough”.

The four buildings are now almost completeHeatherwick said before pulling out your phone a show off some photos on a big screen.

“We are still probably a year via”he said on the completion date.

In addition to Mountain View, the Heatherwick company is also Working on by Google new offices in San Jose, which has “lost its vitality over the decades, “according to Heatherwick.

The Internet giant plans to produce space for 35,000 people in San Jose.

London “skyscraper”

On the other side of the Atlantic, Heatherwick has designed by Google new UK headquarters, which are located on a long and thin texture behind King’s Cross Cross railway station in London.

“It’s as long as the Shard (skyscraper) is tall,” Heatherwick said, repeating a line that was scattered in British newspapers.

“It will be the greatest use of wood in any facade in London, “he has added. “So the building it will age and have a texture. ”

Heatherwick can see the development from the roof of his condo, that is also in King’s Cross.

by Google new London office.


The project, however, it is in course for several years behind schedule and it won’t be ready for another two years, according to Heatherwick.

The Heatherwick company was brought in around 2017 after Google ditched rival AHMM since build with reports suggesting that Page found the initial plans for London office boring. Google did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

“In Mountain View, e in London, there had been teams thinking about the sites, “said Heatherwick.” I think there has been a re-evaluation within the leadership. Other teams they were stopped and we were taken in. ”

No Covid changes

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Google to reconsider how often addicted need to come in in office.

The company said in May you expect 20% of its employees in permanently work from home upon the reopening of its offices.

but nobody of the new buildings in Mountain View, San Jose or London have been adapted in whatever way as a result of the pandemic, according to Heatherwick, who says that I am already flexible enough to handle with Covid.

“Emotion of your team is key”Heatherwick said.” And so the workplace must be a temple of values of a organization, especially if someone is no longer a prisoner five days a week, but only in arrival in two or three days a week “.

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