Next Floor: Innovation. Google’s Elevator Interior Story

SnapCab elevator interior paneling with the Google Chrome logo on white, metallic silver and black panels

Innovation is wired into every strand of Google’s DNA. Behind the walls of the Mountain View, California headquarters, the most brilliant minds in technology transform complex codes and sophisticated algorithms into solutions that are intuitive, game-changing, and above all, simple.

The Disconnect Between Google and its Elevators

At HQ, or “Googleplex,” they imagine the future — and they do it in an environment that empowers creation and invention. Every quirky element, from animated flooring to custom logo furniture to a full-size T-Rex skeleton replica (named Stan), captures Google’s unique identity. Except for five elevators in an executive office building that houses the Chrome team. Those needed some work.

Conveying Innovation in an Elevator

For Google, the design of the elevators was paramount: it had to express their identity. Google wanted to incorporate their highly-recognizable Chrome logo into the elevator interiors and the design had to align with Google’s image as a high-tech hotbed of innovation. The company epitomizes simplicity in design and complexity with design intent. Even their elevators had to keep up – and on a relatively modest budget.

The Ups and Downs of Designing for Google HQ

With any large (or extremely large, in this case) company, there is often layer upon layer of approvals needed to move a project forward. We worked with Google’s head of facilities, facility manager, and in-house designer on options until we could find the solution that was just right.

The best option finally presented itself— Gorilla® Glass. Since we began working with Corning®, the creator of Gorilla® Glass, we knew it was the perfect fit: bring two innovative companies together to create exceptional results worthy of Google. The SnapCab and Corning teams met with Google to show them all that Gorilla Glass can do.

Future-Proofing the Elevator Interiors

This ultra-thin, ultra-durable glass enables pristine colors and highly precise printing while conforming to rigid weight requirements, making it perfect to display the Chrome logo – while allowing the panels to meet code. Success!

But that got us thinking. What if the elevators could mimic the Google Doodles – and change with every important event that Google marks? What if the elevator panels could display Google’s homepage not as an image, but as an interactive touchscreen? After all, Gorilla Glass is used on 4.5 billion touchscreen-enabled devices worldwide. Though the touchscreen elevators panels are still a thing of the future, Google is poised to be one of the first to have them. For a company committed to continuous evolution and improvement, a Gorilla Glass interior with its unlimited possibilities is the perfect choice.

The Results: Leading Edge Design, On Budget

With the new design, Google achieved all of its goals. At the time, Gorilla Glass for Interior Architecture was relatively new to the market and Google was happy to be an early-adopter. The glass itself helps convey the tech giant’s love of simplicity, innovation – and, thanks to high-res printing — those signature primary colors.

The design, while leading-edge, was also budget-conscious. We used Gorilla Glass on the upper panels of the rear wall, integrating it with complementary materials on the lower panels. This saved money while offering all of the future-capacity Google wanted. With our system, they can easily replace a single interactive panel into the existing system with no fuss or hassle.

The Google Treatment for Everyone, Everywhere

While Google may have more yurts, hammocks, and nap pods than your average office, designing elevator interiors for the company wasn’t so different than doing it for others. We cut through the red tape by meeting regularly for design sessions, giving and receiving feedback, providing renderings, samples, and mock-ups quickly, and moving designs from conception to completion as efficiently as possible – the same way we do for every project we work on. Aligning your brand with your elevator interior, and doing it in a cost-conscious way, couldn’t be easier.