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The Inspiring Offices of Tech Companies in Silicon Valley

Many people remember the heyday in the 1990s in Silicon Valley where excess was expected, both in the number of hours of work to the fringe benefits such as five-star chefs providing 24/7 food for the exceedingly well-fed and pampered worker bees. This extended to the office architecture which often included slides between floors and other eccentric designs.

The present-day offices in Silicon Valley are still at the top of the mountain when it comes to design. Modern life-size versions of Chutes and Ladders may not be as common as they once were, but you can still find them. What we have observed is there seems to be a move towards open-area offices where people can gather for brainstorming as well as collaboration on projects.

We have picked a few of the Silicon Valley firms and taken a look at their office designs. Sit back and enjoy our journey among the big, and small companies that dot The Valley.


There are some offices at Facebook that have some interesting designs. The designers came up with an exceptional solution to maximize coveted offices with windows. They turned some of the exterior offices at an angle allowing one of the corners to protrude outside of the building’s exterior wall. Now, a lot more people can have a corner office.

Five corner offices in a row in different colors
Five corner offices in a row in different colors

With predominately white furniture, splashes of color would normally be called for. This minimalistic look is not to be had at Facebook as far as colors go. Bright walls of various colors make a bold artistic design statement.

Bright orange conference room structure sits in the middle of an open area via bustler
Bright orange conference room structure sits in the middle of an open area via bustler
Bright yellow wall is a perfect backdrop for this office via bs2h
Bright yellow wall is a perfect backdrop for this office via bs2h

Some open areas and offices do use a minimalist design to balance out other areas of the buildings. Look at these two excellent applications via bs2h.
Splashes of red, orange, yellow and black in this beautiful minimalist office

Two enclosed offices add splashes of color to open office and sitting area


eBay, the popular auction site with headquarters in the Silicon Valley is no slouch when it comes to boldness in their color schemes. Take this open meeting area right next to a bold and bright orange wall. Note the PEZ collection displayed in this shadowbox each with its personal shelf.

Were these PEZ dispensers purchased through eBay? via eBay Ink

Dark cube walls and chairs provide a good contrast for the colorful wall via California Home and Design

You should recognize this area. Besides a comfortable sitting and working area, it serves as a backdrop for many eBay and PayPal advertisements and photo ops.

Open seating areas with logos in background

A Project Lounge has a relaxing green ambiance and promotes a comfortable area for your mission.

Move your team here for some unified work

We don’t know exactly what these padded booths are called. We have christened them “comfy cubes.” They provide a quiet oasis with the padded sound-absorbing material cradling you.

Green open meeting area with red comfy cubes in the background

More comfy cubes – this time in orange via Home Designing


Google is a very colorful place in which to work. Their brightly colored logo was a starting point for the building designers. The bold colors permeate every aspect of the architecture.

From cozy nooks to cafeterias, Google’s culture encourages a family-like atmosphere.

Togetherness at the cafeteria tables
Togetherness at the cafeteria tables

Here are some more enticing pics via Clive Wilkinson, the person in charge with the whole project in Mountain View.







Doesn’t this look like an exciting place to work?


The new Nokia offices located in Sunnyvale, has pulled out all the stops in designing their Silicon Valley headquarters.  Amazingly, the design team must have had a goal of using just about every color pallet they could get their hands on. And it is tastefully accomplished for an office in which you would love to work.






Visiting execs can even take a shower after a long flight and catch a quick nap.
Visiting execs can even take a shower after a long flight and catch a quick nap.



Pictures via Bloomberg  Businessweek


AOL is another giant in the Silicon Valley. It is readily apparent they have not skimped on their designers or materials in providing a comfortable and pleasant place in which their employees work in their Palo Alto office.

The work cubes may appear a bit minimalistic at first glance. What would normally be (if “normal” could be used anywhere in The Valley) plush cloth in the cubes are now replaced with whiteboards.
These cubes have plenty of whiteboard space with cabinets in bright accent colors

Cubes with colorful names march down toward a picturesque view

Open office area with conference room

AOL has many areas for small intimate meetings away from your cube environment. It is important to “get away from the office” without leaving the building.

Relax or discuss work in some private booths
Relax or discuss work in some private booths

A foursome can meet here

Stretch out your legs in a semi-private couch-like area

More couches for secluded meetings

Breakfast meeting in a comfortable setting

Openness can create an air of privacy

Interesting area suggestive of a coffee bar
Interesting area suggestive of a coffee bar

Private conference rooms are available in key locations.  This conference room is an interesting modern design with a curved sliding door made of particleboard.

Translucent material provides privacy in this conference room

Inside the spacious conference room

Pictures via Office Snapshots


SunPower is a Silicon Valley firm located in San Jose. They use silicon, as well as other materials, to produce solar cells. They have been in business for over 25 years providing power systems for homes, businesses and even large-scale utilities.

As a successful “green” technology firm that has harnessed the sun’s power, their office design reflects the sun and their greenness. Their carpeting is a mixture of patterned green in areas and a patterned charcoal for contrasting areas.

White cubicles sitting upon a green carpet

More cubes – Glass walls giving a view of the fab

You can see the clean fabrication area through the glass walls in the above right-hand view. The etched squares with rounded corners are the shape of their solar cells.

Etched areas in the glass provide some privacy

SunPower makes use of skylights to provide natural lighting in some open meeting areas. The creative use of slanted wood mimicking the rays of the sun is a nice added embellishment.

Open area with blue seating and open conference area

Slanted wood visually continues the sun’s rays from the skylight
Slanted wood visually continues the sun’s rays from the skylight

Here is another open seating area at the end of a large conference room.  Note the same etched glass solar cell pattern at eye level for some privacy.

Large conference room with frosted glass


Airbnb is a company that allows you to rent out your home, vacation spot or other real estate through the internet.  With over 100 employees and growing, they picked San Francisco as their headquarters. They hired a designer to create meeting rooms that looked like some of their premier rental properties.





Meeting room set up as a dining room



A den in the office




Recreation of one of Airbnb’s rentals


Evernote is a storage and data capture company. Their products will help you to remember everything digital. They even have an elephant, who never forgets, as their logo.

The whole layout of the office is set up to encourage teamwork. The workstations are created using economical tables and small file cabinets on rollers. These file cabinets have padded tops and double as stools for another seat.

Open office work areas highlight minimalism and economy

The design of their headquarters in Redwood City has a minimalist feel with the color scheme of predominately white. Bold accent colors appear here and there add to the freshness of the work environment.

Office doors add color to the white background

It is hard to ignore the elephant in the room
It is hard to ignore the elephant in the room

The coffee bar has seating that reeks of minimalism and economy by the use of lab benches on wheels.A mixture of chairs and stools add some wood tones and a touch of orange to add little pops of color here and there.

Coffee bar adds a family gathering atmosphere

It seems like the rest of Evernote’s headquarters is set up to entice informal get-togethers and promote teamwork. The stairs between floors have a radical design: one half is normal stairs and the other half has steps twice as large.

You have to love the design ingenuity of these stairs
You have to love the design ingenuity of these stairs

Working in a comfortable corner and listening to tunes

Plush couches to work by yourself or as a group

Great for four contemplating stars or remembering
Pictures via The Design Home


SquareTrade is a growing Silicon Valley company located in San Francisco. They provide 3rd-party warranty for smartphones iPads, laptops and other electronic devices. A lot of earth tones are used throughout the office.

To break this up, furniture in greens and oranges spot their landscape. Take notice of the green and orange color theme in the booth seating. Also, look at the white floating ceiling panels to abate noise from the open seating arrangements.

Green and charcoal upholstery with orange lamps in the cafeteria

Orange open seating to the left in contrast to conference rooms

AOL isn’t the only one with booth seating
AOL isn’t the only one with booth seating

Two rectangles consisting of conference rooms and bright offices are set at offset angles to further reduce noise reflections and provide a loud punch of color.

Two bright orange offices add color to the gray wall

The orange tunnel with wood grain walls and white doors

Orange and yellow rooms with more wood grain walls

Pics via Retail Design Blog


San Francisco isn’t technically in a valley; not by a long shot with all those hills.  Anyway, it is considered part of The Valley as firms have expanded into the city by the bay. Dropbox headquarters moved into downtown San Francisco in 2012 and has some great designs with washed black walnut, copper and plenty of LED lighting.



Lounges, wall art and even a music room were part of the plan.



Even a grand Piano and a chandelier
Even a grand Piano and a chandelier
Wall Art with Ping Pong Balls
Wall Art with Ping Pong Balls
Closeup of the Ping Pong balls
Closeup of the Ping Pong balls

And a touch of a newsroom feel was incorporated into the look and feel.




Pictures via Office Snapshots


Asana was also attracted to San Francisco. Asana is a task and project management company. Their software allows you to manage your entire project down to the last detail. They have paid attention to details with their office design.  Just about everything in this open office environment is easily movable on wheels.





Lots of snacks


Pianos must be popular in San Francisco
Pianos must be popular in San Francisco



As you can see, we have taken you on a quick trip around the Silicon Valley and just touched on a few of the hundreds of companies. Of these companies, which is your favorite one with respect to the design qualities? Let us know in the comments section below.

Fred Hoot
I write for decoist.

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