Sunday marked the season finale of HBO’s new hit comedy, “Silicon Valley.”
One reason the show was successful and renewed for a second season is that it portrayed what life in Silicon Valley is really like.
Production designer Richard Toyon worked hard to make everything feel realistic — from the “hacker hostel” house the main characters share to the Google-like campus (Hooli, as it’s called in the show) they frequent throughout the season.
But at the advertising agency where the show often filmed, it wasn’t easy making an entire office interior look like Google.
Toyon says he followed Google’s rule of the three “H’s” when constructing the Hooli office set: “Health, hygiene, and hunger.”
“Supposedly they work hard to keep you satisfied in those three areas,” Toyon tells Business Insider. “It’s all about productivity so you can come in at 10 a.m. and leave at midnight, or you can work 24 hours a day and still be able to take a nap, take a shower, exercise, and be fed.”
Toyon explains, “For the health part, Hooli had a sports court and a mountain-climbing wall. The quad area always had people bicycling around the campus.”
“The hygiene we never really showed in the shower rooms or anything like that. It was implied.”
As for “hunger,” Toyon says the series showed “micro-kitchens” that were “not more than 150 feet from where the characters were working.”
Production had a say in everything, down to the drinks characters consumed on camera.
“We did a lot of ground work where we found out from a local beverage distributor how much they’re selling, or what particular products they’re selling to Google, and we tried to use those.”
Toyon adds: “We found that a lot of people seem to like Dos Equis, so we used a lot of Dos Equis, but also tried to use craft and local beers as much as possible. And then there’s the overabundance of energy drinks.”
One thing Toyon and show creator Mike Judge found particularly interesting about Google when they visited the campus were the “multiple heights of desks and the multiple things people sit on, stand on, or work on.”
“Google has a great department of ergonomics so when you’re a new employee they will come over and measure you and figure out what your posture is and your height and will work with you in terms of being comfortable as possible at your work space,” says Toyon.
“So when you look at any Hooli environment there is a variety of those things,” adds Toyon. “They will be multiple monitors, the monitor systems will be up some, will be down some, some will be regular chairs, some will be standing, some will be a high chair. So that was really signature, so we wanted to make sure we captured that.”
Toyon says that “one of the things you see at Google are the Energy Pods, which are one of those sleeping couches that have the bubble around them and inside they have some very subdued lighting and subdued music and sounds and you can put in.”
“They’re around Google and Mike Judge really liked that,” adds Toyon. “We really worked to put one of those into our set.”
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