An office for human beings

Wednesday 01 Aug 2012

PENSON introduce Google HQ in Covent Garden where emphasis is on work and play

PENSON have completed their design for the new Google London headquarters located in the Renzo Piano-designed Central St. Giles Building in Covent Garden, after being appointed in May to carry out the concept. The design is a nod to all things British, featuring Union Jack flags, allotments where staff can grow vegetables, old-fashioned communal ‘living’ rooms complete with rocking-chairs, outdoor work spaces named the ‘Secret Garden’, and a 200-person event room named the ‘Town Hall’.

The Google logo is spelled out in tiny lights above the reception desk, adding yet another quirky and innovative design to Google’s project list of workspaces. Measuring 160,000 sq ft, this is the second office PENSON have completed for Google in the last year, following on from the office they designed for London’s Google engineers. The offices cover several floors including the Main Reception, a Lala Library, Gymnasium, Cafés & Restaurants, and the Town Hall, all with brilliant views of London’s skyline.

As usual, the office is highly sustainable and incredibly green. Rooms have been designed with reclaimed or recycled materials whenever possible, and work from Google’s ‘Red List’, which are rules Google make for their designers - removing as many harmful ingredients from the materials used in construction, using water-based products wherever possible. The floors are made of timber boards, with Eco plywood perimeters, which are designed to age with time, developing and changing just as Google, as a business, will. The Secret Gardens are workspaces contained in separate booths, designed to let in plenty of light in the outdoor balcony space, and be a functional working environment whatever the weather. One to four office workers can be seated within each booth, with hedges preened to provide privacy and a shield against excessive wind and sun.

Aside from sustainability, quirkiness, and impressively complex, the workplace is designed to be fun, and doesn’t take itself seriously. PENSON incorporated submarine style noise-proof doors with ‘Do Not Turn to Open’ inscribed on them. Penson founder Lee Penson said about the office: "It’s all about human beings and that’s it. Think sunken snugs, comfort, fun, comfy slippers, squishy carpets, cushions, daybeds, nice fresh food, gardening, vegetables, health, visual stimulation, relaxation, exercise, fresh air & you’ll get what it’s all about as an HQ." The office is set to be fully open by September.

Samantha Morley

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