The world’s coolest workplaces
Tough day at the office? Not if you work for one of these companies. With orchards, pirate ships, castles, Olympic swimming pools and resort-style luxuries on tap, it’s a wonder anyone ever goes home.
Epic Systems Corporation, Wisconsin, USA
For the 10,000 employees of healthcare software company Epic, work must feel like a psychedelic parallel universe. Their workspace is larger than its neighbouring town Verona and contains a treehouse, waterfall, moat and medieval drawbridge, underground tunnels and skyways, giant cactuses, a Harry Potter-themed room and giant 11,000-seater subterranean auditorium. Meetings are held in Epic’s life-size Grand Central Station complete with walk-in train carriages, or on its farm campus with four-storey barn, milk jugs, butter churns, and tractors. Further talking points include an Indiana Jones-themed hallway, Blues Brothers waxworks, seal and elephant sculptures and a tin man on a bench.
Hootsuite, Vancouver, Canada
A former Vancouver police station with a multi-coloured exterior conceals media company Hootsuite’s office space vision, based on a Canadian alpine ski resort. The Whistler-inspired workplace has a ‘fishing lodge’ lobby with wood paneled walls, plaid-covered log benches and antique fishing tackle. Nine full-sized indoor cabins are named after real ski runs, tents serve as meeting rooms, and a library, sunken lounge with beanbag chairs, and even beds provide relaxation for workers. To boost productivity further, those canny Canadians break out the free on-tap beer on Fridays.
Inventionland, Pittsburgh, USA
‘Creationeers’ at George Davison’s innovation company Inventionland enjoy a workspace resembling every kid’s dream theme park. Its 16 unique environments include: a pirate shipwreck in water with faux shark, seagulls, treasure chest and rocks; a giant shoe; a motor speedway with car-shaped seats and desks; a huge robot called Inventron 54, and a castle complete with turrets and drawbridge. There’s also a cavern, treehouse, pet shack and cupcake kitchen. This workplace wonderland boasts three running waterfalls, trees, butterflies and grass-lined sidewalks, while a red carpet leads to a state-of-the art audio, video, and animation studio.
Selgas Cano, Madrid, Spain
Architects Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano soothe their employees with immersive views of woodland at the headquarters of their Madrid architecture practice. The long, striking, carriage-shaped structure is semi-submerged in the forest floor and has a glass wall curving up into the ceiling, so workers can gaze at the treetops or out at the eye-level wildlife.
Apple Park, California, USA
Check out the cool address of Apple’s brand new $5 billion global headquarters: One Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California. The late Steve Jobs promised it would be “the best office building in the world,” and the 70-hectare site lives up to the hype with a circular, ‘flying saucer’ design by world-leading architect firm Foster + Partners, surrounded by specially planted trees. Apple Park boasts 6km of glass walls providing views of all that greenery, a 9,000 square-metre fitness centre, and two miles of walking and running paths around an orchard, meadow and pond inspired by Jobs’ childhood memories of rural California.
Samsung Digital City, Suwon, South Korea
The 35,000 employees in this cutting edge campus enjoy free healthcare, from physicals and flu shots to dental treatments and acupuncture. They can take swimming classes in an Olympic-sized pool, or retreat to dedicated chill out rooms to chat, relax or sleep. Big-name entertainers regularly perform in the campus’ numerous open spaces, and you can get your game on at ten basketball courts, four badminton courts, three soccer fields and two baseball diamonds, or expand your mind in a museum with electronics artifacts from 270 years.
Airbnb, San Francisco, USA
Airbnb's 7,000 square-metre headquarters in San Francisco replicates the company’s coolest worldwide listings as workspaces. Eight private meeting rooms are exact reconstructions of these sleek pads, arranged around an atrium with a massive living wall climbing up the brick façade and a conference room inspired by the War Room in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.
The Googleplex, California, USA
Google’s Silicon Valley hub has more attractions than a grand hotel: parks filled with public art including android-inspired funky statues; two organic gardens growing produce for the on-site restaurants; free valet parking and cute primary-coloured bicycles. Lucky employees enjoy massage rooms, napping pods, a beach volleyball court, three free meals a day and a slippery slide.
Facebook, California, USA
Mark Zuckerberg’s 40,000 square-metre home-from-home in Menlo Park, California contains what Zuck himself described as “the largest open plan floor in the world, a single room that fits thousands of people.” This colossal space contains smaller collaboration areas and above it all there’s a ‘green roof,’ with a four-hectare landscape of walking trails and outdoor workspaces.