Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

WSJ Magazine Visits Apple Park

Christina Passariello and Mikael Jansson (photographer) of the Wall Street Journal got an inside glimpse at progress on Apple Park, and a wonderful profile of Jony Ive in the process. Most of this story is one you’ll already know, to some extent or another, but there are some interesting details. For instance, the new offices:

The thousands of employees at Apple Park will need to bend slightly to Ive’s vision of the workplace. Many will be seated in open space, not the small offices they’re used to. Coders and programmers are concerned that their work surroundings will be too noisy and distracting. […]

I work in an open office — anyone who has knows that noise and distractions are absolutely a concern. However, a modicum of reassurance comes several paragraphs earlier in the piece:

[…] The team quickly discovered that early versions of the small offices on each side of the central area were noisy — sound bounced off the flat wood walls. Foster’s architects suggested perforating the walls with millions of tiny holes and lining them with an absorbent material. In the completed section of workspace, Ive snaps his fingers to demonstrate the warm sound it creates.

Sound-absorbing holes in the walls won’t reduce visual distractions, of course, but this attention to detail indicates that Apple and Foster and Partners are at least aware of how open offices are perceived and how they may be distracting to their employees.

No matter how many of these photo essays get published — Wired got their tour in May, and I suspect there will be at least one or two more as employees begin to move in — I can’t wait until I see some photos of what it looks like when these offices are filled with people. After all, that’s what this building is all about, isn’t it?