Posted on June 04, 2015

Steve Jobs on Office Design: Science vs. Results

We’ve all heard of Steve Jobs, the entrepreneur, inventor, technician and co-founder of Apple Inc. who sadly passed away in 2011. But what many people may not know about this famous face, is that Jobs was also an interior designer. Surprising right?!

Well, according to Walter Isaacson’s Jobs biography, he was in fact, an innovative genius of architecture, having created the jaw-dropping Pixar headquarters which opened in 2000. He even used many of the same ideas when designing the Apple ‘space ship’ now being built in Cupertino, California.

(image: Apple Inc. under CC BY-SA 3.0)

So what exactly was his workplace design philosophy? And what can regular business owners learn from his innovation?  

Interaction Aids Innovation

Jobs believed that cubicles stifle creativity and innovation is restricted when staff only communicate electronically. So when creating the Pixar offices he encouraged staff to design their own private offices with very few rules. There is large and open communal areas with sofas, where staff can relax or hold meetings in a fun and inspiring environment.

Who wouldn’t want to work in a place where their desk sits inside a castle, next to a shed and an oversized Lego man? It’s fun, although, admittedly, not for everyone.  

(images: Nicki Dugan Progue under CC BY-SA 2.0, Home Designing and Pixartalk)

In such a huge building, the staff and their work are cleverly divided up into departments, such as the coders or the illustrators. But Jobs figured out a clever way to get the entire company to interact and merge on a daily basis. A coming together if you will. How? Well, with an atrium.

This atrium holds the post pigeon holes, meeting rooms, kitchen and all of the toilets. Something that at first sounds impractical and rather annoying for anyone who works there. But there was method in his madness; by placing essential facilities all together in one place, people are forced to bump into other staff members and make contact.

It is a nice way of making people talk to each other; he believed random conversations would promote collaboration and foster the imagination. 

What Can We Learn About Office Interior Design From Steve Jobs?

Choose Open Plan – Where possible choose an open plan and collaborative workspace in order to boost productivity and creativity. But if this isn’t possible due to the structure of your building, instead design your space with shared communal areas. So one large kitchen, one entrance and all toilets in the same area. 

Step Outside the Box – A standard build or office refurbishment is the basic safe and functional design that abides by industry standards, but that doesn’t mean you have to abide exactly by these plans. Instead, use your imagination and with the help of our designers you can create something amazing.

Step outside your comfort zone, but still keep standards in your peripheral, and you can make a functional yet unusual business environment.

Go With Your Gut – You know your business better than anyone else, so if you think a design aspect will work, go with your gut – even if others knock it. When choosing an office design specialist, choose someone who shares your vision and can create a suitable environment (hopefully that’s us).

Be Passionate About Everything You Do – If we could all learn one thing from the late Steve Jobs, it would be to be passionate about everything we set our minds to. Be resolute in our convictions, do everything to our best abilities and before long you should reap the rewards.

Are you looking for an office interior design company who love what they do? Then you’ve come to the right place. The Office Image team would love to help you design, build and fit your brand new office space using their turnkey service. So get in touch today to organise an initial meeting!


(main image: segagman under CC BY 2.0)

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