LinkedIn has gained currency as a professional networking social media platform but not many of its 830 million users may realize that the company’s new Sunnyvale headquarters, which opened two weeks ago, was designed by a firm based in downtown Los Angeles.
For many years, LinkedIn, which launched in 2003, was headquartered in Mountain View — also home to Google. LinkedIn still utilizes those buildings, which are part of a campus of 24 buildings that stretch into Sunnyvale.
NBBJ Los Angeles worked on redesigning the office space that has become the hub of LinkedIn’s senior leadership in Sunnyvale at a space dubbed Building One.
“Building One was built and the executives two weeks before (it opened) decided they loved the building and wanted to move into it themselves,” said Robert Norwood, principal at NBBJ Los Angeles, who led a team of 12 on the LinkedIn project.
The building was originally meant for rank-and-file employees. Development on the project, which covers roughly 240,000 square feet, began in 2017. Construction started in 2018 and work was still in progress when the pandemic hit in 2020.
“They shut the project down partially built and LinkedIn asked, ‘Well what would you differently?’” Norwood recalled.
From the standard desk to the booth banquette to a lounge chair, there’s a large variety of furniture options available at the office.
“There are about 75 different settings. The settings are intended to support the amount of time you intend to spend with your colleagues,” Norwood said.
After a pandemic-related pause, construction resumed again in 2021.
“It was an amazing, awesome opportunity to think about how work will be in the future and have the challenge of the pandemic to enable that to be considered,” Norwood said.
The pandemic influenced the direction of the project, which was initially supposed to accommodate 1,500 workers.
“As we changed the design, we reduced the number of workstations to about 570,” Norwood said. In “the areas that were left by the removal of those roughly 500 work stations, we designed various other types of work settings.”
The technology found in conference rooms makes it possible for those working from home to feel integrated into a meeting that happens to be inside an enclosed room. The offices also come equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
“In one room in particular there’s a sofa that faces a pair of monitors and cameras that are directed at you at seated height. When your colleagues are at home, they seem like they’re sitting across the table from you,” Norwood said.
Other technologies are also at play.
“In one room in particular, a sofa faces a pair of monitors with a camera and behind that is a higher table with stools,” Norwood said. “Behind everyone is a whiteboard. From the camera you’re looking at remotely, you see the faces of the folks participating in the conversation in the room. If there’s someone standing at the back of the room writing code or sharing, as you’re writing it ghosts you out so that those who are remote and can see what you’re writing live.”
There are also libraries, game rooms, training rooms and an outdoor deck space on the third floor with a wall that opens it up to an indoor/outdoor space.
“People really seem to embrace what the building enables them to do from a work perspective and social perspective,” Norwood said. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback.
Norwood could not comment on how many more of the 24 buildings at the LinkedIn campus NBBJ is busy working on but said Building One will set the tone for the other buildings. Moving forward, from a design and a construction perspective, there are some supply chain challenges, he said, that will slow down the workflow.