Architect: Studio O+A
Project Team: Primo Orpilla, Albert Claxton, Alfred Socias, Perry Stephney, Elizabeth Boze, Denise Cherry, Alexander Ng
Location: 395 Pagemill Road, Palo Alto, CA
Date of occupancy:
Phase 1: January 2011
Phase 2:April 2011
Gross square footage:
Floor: 73,024 sq. ft.
Building: 219,377 sq. ft.
Those who are aware of the first days when the internet became part of our households, clearly remember the ''You've got Mail'' message after a long dial-up tone. Well, that coined AOL into internet glory as they revolutionized online culture as part of our daily lives. Since then AOL has had ups and downs and with a new rebrand by Wolff Olins, came an initiative to bring that culture back. Where do you go to be part of the internet commercial real estate and show the world you are back? Palo Alto, California. Who did AOL call to help this initiative be communicated through their workspace? San Francisco's own Studio O+A, who seems to be growing in popularity in the West Coast as the architecture firm of start-ups.
Studio O+A is already known to have designed the Facebook's office as well and other known startups like Yelp and Paypal just to name a few. They are very aware of the programming, energy, culture, risk and growth these companies usually carry so it is no surprise to see AOL calling them to help implement the flexibility and cultural attributes of their new initiative.
An open floorplan with ample sunlight is accompanied by an array of diverse and honest materials. The use of wood, carpet and color is located in areas where collaboration, play and teaming is of focus; this permits the user to locate them easily while being stimulated by texture, color and graphics. The workspace driver is to foster energy, creativity and collaboration for their new West Coast headquarters. The main reception is a large space broken into smaller zones for guests and staff. It creates an inviting space and immediately speaks to character of the company.
The ceiling is left exposed to take advantage of the height; painting it black hides these unattractive elements while fading it into the backdrop. Playful accessories, wallcovering and furniture materials enhance the spatial arrangement through bold colors, graphic details and dynamic patterns. Architectural hardware has been chosen to complement the industrial aesthetic of the space. The raw wood panels selected for the doors is a perfect selection to enhance office fronts and continue the layering of details in the space. There are zones for play, work and teaming created through various methods: change in flooring treatment, dropped ceiling elements, organized furniture or translucent partitions. The variety of space type not only supports the employees and guests, but creates exciting vistas and a dynamic interior experience.
This experienced company is now back in the game and they have taken the right step into re-establishing themselves into this competitive marketplace. With workplace in Palo Alto and a new look, they have some of the pieces in place for a comeback. Can they start delivering great products, services and break the old image to this young generation that has no clue of what a dial up was? Time will tell.