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  5. Studio O + A
  6. 2011
  7. AOL Offices / Studio O + A

AOL Offices / Studio O + A

  • 01:00 - 14 June, 2011
AOL Offices / Studio O + A
AOL Offices / Studio O + A, © Jasper Sanidad
© Jasper Sanidad

© Jasper Sanidad © Jasper Sanidad © Jasper Sanidad © Jasper Sanidad +28

From the architect. AOL launched a company-wide initiative to adapt to changes in online culture—which the company had been instrumental in creating in the first place. As part of this effort, AOL moved its West Coast headquarters to a new corporate space in Palo Alto and brought in Studio O+A to give the office a fresh design.

© Jasper Sanidad
© Jasper Sanidad

The existing space retained a distinctly 1980s corporate aesthetic: drop ceilings hanging over every office, high cubicles separating employees into tightly defined workstations, dark finishes, and oblique lines. O+A restored the space to a clean, white canvas—exposing the ceilings, stripping the walls to reveal the structure, and generally creating a spatial equivalent to the transparency that AOL was bringing to every aspect of its business.

© Jasper Sanidad
© Jasper Sanidad

Key to this approach is the concept of “honest materiality”—the embrace of materials and processes that originate in the construction industry and that increasingly provide the finish motifs for modern workplace design. At AOL, for example, oriented strand board (OSB), typically used by contractors to separate spaces on construction sites, was sanded, shaped, and finished to serve as a contemporary accent throughout the complex. Exposed ceilings, concrete floors, expansive sightlines, and modern furniture all contribute to the industrial look. The result is a space that communicates what it is made of and how it was built.

© Jasper Sanidad
© Jasper Sanidad

In keeping with this theme of transparency, O+A’s floor plan emphasizes collaborative space—a change from segregated private offices to open workstations and the collegiality of shared environments. Two features of the AOL design highlight this concept. The first is a series of circular pods positioned throughout the main work areas as impromptu meeting rooms. Constructed of OSB and translucent fiberglass, these cozy silos provide a space for informal collaboration and spontaneous creativity. To encourage that spontaneity, the pods are open to all employees and cannot be reserved.

© Jasper Sanidad
© Jasper Sanidad

An even more prominent feature is the large, bright, collaborative space AOL has dubbed the Town Hall. Part kitchen, part play space, part kick-back area, the Town Hall also functions as an all-hands common area (Ariana Huffington spoke there when AOL acquired the Huffington Post), modeled after late-night eateries in San Francisco’s Mission District. The kitchen’s bench-seating, ample light, and bursts of color against a white palette go well with the game and relaxation area. Centrally located to bring together staff from departments that might not otherwise interact, the Town Hall is designed to foster the kind of creative cross-pollination for which tech companies like AOL are renowned.

© Jasper Sanidad
© Jasper Sanidad

And then there are graphics. AOL’s new logo—the company’s initials in a simple white font—can be placed effectively on any colorful background. Those playful backgrounds vary throughout the headquarters and include both abstract patterns and imagery drawn from nature and pop culture. All wall coverings in the space are custom designed.

The design embodies the elements of the new AOL—transparency, collaboration, creativity, and playfulness—to create a stimulating environment for the firm’s staff.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "AOL Offices / Studio O + A" 14 Jun 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/142900/aol-offices-studio-o-a/>
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24 Comments

Joelle Lattimer, PE · July 03, 2012

Beautiful Design & Construction! AOL NEW WCoast HQ-Palo Alto! Congrats 2 Studio O+A, Novo Const & Entire Design Team! http://t.co/jPCOnQLg

Angel A. Acevedo · June 29, 2012

Some people may think AOL is old news, but checkout their office. They&#39re doing some great things. http://t.co/uAJ8Gs4a

Patty McCormick · May 26, 2012

looking for a creative superhero [http://t.co/wNAGO99R] for my team at AOL Palo Alto [http://t.co/fdmCoCfv]!

Bill Wetherell · May 26, 2012

looking for a creative superhero [http://t.co/wNAGO99R] for my team at AOL Palo Alto [http://t.co/fdmCoCfv]!

Elizabeth Yandall · May 08, 2012

AOL offices are beautiful http://t.co/9yJ2SNDB h/t @darickdang

darickdang · May 08, 2012

Say what you want about AOL ("aol" now I guess) but they have a really nice office space http://t.co/gG9r5Wry

Office cleaning san jose · August 31, 2011

Very good post this very beautiful design.

??????????????? · July 12, 2011

????????????????Studio O+A??? http://t.co/r7IsKPF via @archdaily

Tiffany Apostolou · June 28, 2011

awesome space! AOL Offices / Studio O + A | ArchDaily http://t.co/Cf5rqkW via @archdaily

Joe Gonzalez · June 23, 2011

Really digging the #aol office in Palo Alto, CA http://tinyurl.com/66qg5lh #lovely

James McNeil LEED AP · June 22, 2011

AOL Offices / Studio O + A | ArchDaily http://t.co/3QNUv0H via @archdaily

Ricardo Castro · June 22, 2011

"AOL Offices / Studio O + A" http://bit.ly/jb2Xjw

Diego Fdo Carbonell · June 18, 2011

Una muy buena oficina: AOL Offices / Studio O + A http://t.co/xyy93JB vía @archdaily

Justin Rasmussen · June 16, 2011

Totally digging the new AOL offices! http://t.co/R00CepN

David Robinson · June 16, 2011

It&#39s a great office. “@ericrasmussen: Totally digging the new AOL offices! http://t.co/gVSs1PC”

Eric Rasmussen · June 16, 2011

Totally digging the new AOL offices! http://t.co/R00CepN

LivingTuts FR · June 15, 2011

Les nouveaux bureaux d&#39AOL, confectionnés par le studio O+A http://bit.ly/kOY1oF #inspiration

ASBCLLC · June 15, 2011

$AOL Offices / Studio O + A http://feedly.com/k/m2sPAW

Lowe Indonesia · June 15, 2011

Insiders look at the AOL Offices - very impressive! http://t.co/Ly0t9VK

Lowe Asia-Pacific · June 15, 2011

Insiders look at the AOL Offices - very impressive! http://t.co/Ly0t9VK

Bob Leung · June 15, 2011

“@ArchDaily: AOL Offices / Studio O + A http://t.co/tj5hRC2 #architecture” - Looks amazing... and not much working going on!

80,000Hz ?? · June 14, 2011
p/a/n/g/e/r/a/n · June 14, 2011

AOL Offices / Studio O + A via ArchDaily - © Jasper Sanidad Architects: Studio O + A Location: Palo ... http://tinyurl.com/6gnzp42

Barry Maguire · June 14, 2011

AOL Offices / Studio O + A via ArchDaily - © Jasper Sanidad Architects: Studio O + A Location: Palo ... http://tinyurl.com/43qj76t

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© Jasper Sanidad

AOL办公室 / Studio O + A