You know that feeling of excitement when you’re opening up the packaging to Apple’s newest product? (And come on PC users – fess up.)
Well, we’re feeling it today, but because it’s not just a new product, it’s THE product that gets us where we live: Apple’s new headquarters, Apple Park — the spaceship — in Cupertino, Calif. This month, Apple is scheduled to begin moving employees into its circular, 2.8 million-square-foot, 176-acre site that will eventually house 12,000 employees according to an article in MacWorld.
What interesting for us is that Apple Park will incorporate many of the elements of corporate headquarters that we have been predicting will become the norm for many years:
— Employee wellness: Apple Park will include a 100,000-square-foot fitness center, two miles of walking and running paths, adjacent to an orchard, meadow and pond, natural lighting from exterior views from both sides of the ring
— Sustainability: “Most of the power for the facilities will come from an “on site low carbon central plant,” according to an Apple Insider report. Apple intends to use alternative energy sources to power the campus, as part of its pledge to use 100 percent renewable energy at its facilities. Solar panels will be installed along the top of the building.
— Modern transportation: Parking will be underground and the campus will be outfitted with 1,000 bikes for staff to move around campus
— Collaborative working: There will reportedly be custom-designed 18-foot tables by a Dutch company called Arco for Apple employees to take advantage of open work spaces to discourage an office-like atmosphere.
But here’s the part we might be geeking out on the most: “As with Apple’s products, Steve Jobs wanted no seam, gap or paintbrush stroke showing; every wall, floor and even ceiling is to be polished to a supernatural smoothness. All of the interior wood was to be harvested from a specific species of maple, and only fine quality ‘heartwood’ at the centre of the trees would be used,” an insider told Business Week.
What Apple’s headquarters really demonstrates is that with all the talk of mobile work, telecommuting and the rest, there is a truly a need for corporate headquarters, for space and for a physical place to accomplish the task at hand. For Apple, for decades, that task has been nothing less than changing the way we live and work — and play music. So, if Apple is betting its hand on a massive corporate headquarters, albeit one that is entirely futuristic and modern, there should be no handwringing for fear that corporate office space is a thing of the past.
And get psyched, even those of you who like to say that you aren’t the least intrigued by what Apple does.
It’s time for an upgrade.