It’s no easy task, so Toyon tells us he did plenty of research ahead of the show’s April release.
“Mike Judge [show creator] and myself visited Google, Facebook, and a few of the companies in between,” he tells Business Insider of creating a Google-like headquarters on the show. “I personally went to Zynga, I went to Dell, I’ve been to Microsoft before, and what’s interesting about these companies is that they have campuses in a very collegiate-like way where the spaces in between the buildings are for pedestrian use.”
Toyon says that “in the case of Facebook and Google, the intended consequence is that you run into people that you know to encourage discussion and participation between people” — which was a problem for a show shooting in the Los Angeles-area.
Toyon explains, “If you look in Southern California, all of the office parks have parking in between, so none of them worked. We searched and searched and the only thing that I felt was ever going to come close to what you find in Silicon Valley are real college campuses, and so that’s what we ended up doing, shooting on a real college campus.”
California State University, Los Angeles, located five miles east of Downtown Los Angeles, was where Toyon chose to shoot many outdoor scenes for “Silicon Valley.” [A few other exterior shots were also filmed at California State University, Dominguez Hill.]
“They have a new quad area, and a couple of new student buildings that are very fresh and very current looking, so they worked well for what we were requiring,” explains Toyon of his choice.
But that doesn’t mean production didn’t have to change a few things first in order to make the college campus look like the show’s Google-esque company, Hooli.
“With a lot of signage changes and other elements we brought to it, we made it feel like what Hooli was supposed to feel like,” says Toyon. “I think it worked. It was sort of an homage to Google.”
Here’s how the final transformation looked:
When production had to shoot interior scenes at Hooli, they used the office of Chiat Day advertising agency.
Here’s an image of the interior of the agency’s office from their website:
Here’s what the interior of Hooli ended up looking like in the show:
And here’s an actual Google office on which the set is based:
It was eventually “the combination” of the Chiat ad agency and Cal State LA that “created Hooli,” says Toyon.
The only problem the show ran into when visiting big tech companies for research or filming on college campuses? Show creator Mike Judge’s celebrity.
Judge, who used to live in Silicon Valley while working as an engineer at a tech startup in the ’80s, is also the mastermind behind “Beavis and Butt-head,” “King of the Hill,” and “Office Space,” among others.
Toyon recalls, “When we went with Mike Judge, he has a certain amount of celebrity within the tech community, so word would get out that Mike was there and by the time we ended our tour there were a number of people doing the Beavis laugh and had stuff from ‘Beavis and Butt-head’ that they wanted autographed.”
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