What would a week-long celebration of workspace improvements be without a peek into some cool, productive workspaces? Today we’re peering inside the homes of Boxee, Mint.com, a video game innovation lab, Google’s “conference bike” and the maker of Plants vs Zombies.
EA’s Game Innovation Lab
Video game giant Electronic Arts (EA) sponsors a “Game Innovation Lab” at the University of Southern California. The space is meant to inspire a spirit of play, creative thinking and learning about what we enjoy in gaming. Appropriately, it takes a different approach to office design. These shots were taken by our own Aaron Martin on a tour of the facility.
The cubicles themselves have curved walls, rather than straight side walls:
The effect is that while workers get some personal space and privacy, looking back from your cubicle allows you to see most of your fellow workers. Those curved walls are put to good use too.
Curves and bends are all over the space. Look at this whiteboard, for instance — it kind of boggles the mind. Lots of colour, lots of games of all kinds.
Like any good lab, there’s a one-way mirror where developers and planners can watch people enjoy — or not appreciate — their projects and learn what makes their particular challenges fun.
Here’s the view from inside the looking glass:
From a small-ish walkup office in New York, the team at Boxee make media centre software that puts the web on your TV. Soon enough, they’ll launch their own box for the purpose. You can see early box prototypes and the team’s ping-pong obsession at Business Insider’s full photo office tour, and they let us pull out a few highlights:
If you’re going to work at a media centre firm, you’d hope they’d have a nice TV setup. And they do:
Here’s the general office space:
And here’s their whiteboard, with a kind of cool yet cryptic master plan:
Google’s “Conference Bike”
Rather than make teams quietly transport themselves and assemble in rooms across their large campus, Google offers “conference bikes” for free rental. Teams all pedal the bike, while one person steers, and the team is able to prepare and talk while heading to another spot on the Mountain View acreage:
Personal finance aggregator Mint seems like a bike-friendly place to work, judging from the parking configuration and also a generally open layout of low-cut cubicles.
Finally, we come to PopCap Games, maker of such addictive properties as Bejeweled and Plants vs Zombies. Their offices are colourful and laid out in interesting ways, but it was the game rooms — the jealousy-inducing game rooms — that caught our eye:
Where have you seen other great workspaces across the web? What offices have made you envious? Share the spots and links in the comments.