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Google's NY headquarters glows with NYC charm

Google office at 111 8th Ave /Dining Hall

Google office at 111 8th Ave /Dining Hall - (Photo by Shulamit Seidler-Feller) Credit: Google office at 111 8th Ave /Dining Hall - Shulamit Seidler-Feller

With a library, a massage parlor and a jam room for the musically inclined, Google’s New York headquarters sounds more like a celebrity spa than an office.

Google’s New York headquarters, 111 Eighth Ave. are home to more than 2,200 employees. In May, Google unveiled its revamped fifth floor, designed with the theme “Hidden New York.”

“Even though New York is so big, there are so many different small things, whether it be a little restaurant or a great place to get a cup of coffee. We wanted to have that be part of our space,” said Regional Facilities Manager Laura Gimpel.

The rooms on the fifth floor feature an industrial-style design as well as the exposed original flooring of the building.

The idea behind Google’s interior design is about more than just fun.

“Everything we do is done so that there’s more collaboration, and more points of people coming together,” said spokesman Jordan Newman.

Meatpacking District conference room
This conference room was inspired by the old Meatpacking District, and in keeping with the current push towards green construction, real meat hooks recovered from a local building were used for the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The light fixture above, in an adjacent room, references Meatpacking District iconography.

Apartment meeting room
This meeting room was inspired by a New York City studio apartment. The couches are each halves of an old-fashioned claw-foot bathtub, and outside the curtain-lined window is a hallway decorated with a life-size photo of the back of a brownstone. The illusion of looking out your window and seeing the building opposite is almost perfect — until a posse of Googlers walk by, that is. No detail was spared: Keys hang near one door, and Mr. T commemorative plates adorn the wall.

Gimpel’s team covered part of one wall in steel before adorning it with graphics, “so the refrigerator is really magnetic.”

Phone booths
Walk-in phone booths are almost gone from New York, but not inside Google’s office. No one enjoys being forced to overhear others’ telephone conversations, so near the cubicles are phone booths for employees who need to make extended calls. “One of the folks on our team went around and took pictures of doorways all around the city, and we used his images as the graphics on the doors of all of our phone rooms,” Gimpel said.

Coffee-cup kitchen
This kitchen is based on those famous “We Are Happy to Serve You” disposable coffee cups. Their design is re-created in tile along the floor, and a display along one wall features hundreds of the iconic cups stacked atop each other. According to Gimpel, it took “300 cups and two hours with a hot glue gun.”

Dining hall
The largest dining area is designed to look like a rooftop café, complete with a water tower and wall graphics that mirror the view from the windows. “Because of our position in the building, we’re at the same level as the brownstones in the neighborhood,” said Gimpel. “So you can kind of feel like this is an extension of those buildings.”

The seating areas are divided into different sections, each to mimic the rooftop of adjoining brownstones. The floors in each section are all of different heights.

“The rooftops of city buildings aren’t the same heights, so we decided to do the same,” Gimpel said.

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