From the front there’s little indication that this is the office of one of the most significant international companies in Ireland. The monolithic building, clad in black and yellow, looks like any modern commercial office – functional but sleek.
As you approach the building from the adjacent rail line you pass old dock buildings, now converted into SME offices and apartments as well as dilapidated structures once used as the city’s mills. Getting off the train and looking up to the building you can see indications of modern life – a busy gym on one floor and above that a stylish restaurant.
Walk to the front of the building and it becomes a little clearer who occupies this structure. Large red, blue, green, and yellow flower pots line the entrance and looking through the glass fronted reception it’s possible to make out similarly coloured shapes rising from the floor.
Turn the corner to the glass wall and it becomes clear what those shapes are – they floor-to-ceiling tall letters spelling out G O O G L E. This is Google’s newest, and biggest, office in Dublin City. This is Google Docks, Dublin.
For most of us this is the closest we’d get to looking around one of Google’s famously funky offices (although Google has never been shy about letting people explore their working space).
But how does Google create its iconic work spaces?
In Europe, at least, many of Google’s office redesigns are done by a German company called Camenzind Evolution. They’ve worked on Google offices from Dublin to Switzerland, to Tel Aviv in Israel and in the past week (from what we can tell) they’ve updated their site to include their latest work on Google’s Dublin campus.
Google operates four buildings in Dublin City, The Gasworks, Gordon House, 1 Grand Canal, and Google Docks (formally The Montevetro). Of these, the latest and the largest is Google Docks.
Since buying the building in 2011 Google has spent a significant amount of time upgrading and personalising it; and the result of this can be seen on the Camenzind Evolution website.
From chain-mail curtains to woodland themed work booths and canteens the company’s work in Google’s offices is certainly unique. But if you thought that Google was all fun and no work than have a look at the floor plans, they reveal that, as funky as the offices look, they’re still most definitely offices (not that they look too shabby). Much of the floor space is designated as desk space with many other areas designed as meeting areas or “alternative working areas.”
Only a few places are set aside as “special communal areas” or informal areas. But with that said the communal areas are pretty nice – who wouldn’t want swings in their offices or a chase long with Lego Star Wars Super Star Destroyer to play with?
And this isn’t the end of Google’s customisations, construction work continues on Google’s campus; with the company having secured planning permission for the development of a land bridge to connect three of its buildings (Google Docks, Gordon House and the Gasworks). The glass and steal bridge will stand eight meters above the street and, according to planning permission, will be illuminated.
Along with that Google also has plans to convert a ground-floor car park into a 380 seat auditorium.
And if that isn’t enough for you, have a look at Google’s Tel Aviv office, which has also been designed by Camenzind Evolution, and was opened in November 2012.