Steve Jobs, while CEO of Pixar, cared so much about the construction and design of its offices that company executives like to describe the finished product as “Steve’s movie.”
“It took the same budget and the same amount of time as one of our movies, and he was the director,” Pixar exec John Lasseter told Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli for their book “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader.”
Jobs obsessed over the building’s exterior — he made a Washington kiln reopen just to commission him 24 very specific shades of brick — but also the way everything was laid out inside. Ultimately, Jobs wanted the office layout to encourage unplanned meetings.
“He had the theory of this big atrium that would be able to house the whole company for a company meeting, and that would have everything that gets you out of your office and into the center spine,” Lasseter told Schlneder and Tetzeli. “It would draw you to the center, or have you crossing it, many times a day.”
He was so set on this, that he proposed a crazy idea: that there would only be one set of bathrooms in the office’s central atrium, and none in either of the building’s two wings.
Forcing everyone to use the same set of bathrooms, he reasoned, would force more interactions.
Luckily for Pixar employees, CTO Edwin Catmull managed to ease Jobs out of the “absurd” idea — the office had a a second set of bathrooms upstairs.
Jobs ended up spreading the same mantra over the early designs of Apple still-unfinished new “Spaceship” campus. Like Pixar’s office, the new, circular building was designed to foster spontaneous encounters.
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