A first look inside Google’s top-secret design lab
Hello! Google designs some of the sleekest, most popular gadgets in the world, from phones to smart s
Google designs some of the sleekest, most popular gadgets in the world, from phones to smart speakers. But until recently, the company’s hardware designers worked out of an old garage. That all changed last year when head of hardware design Ivy Ross collaborated with the architects at Mithun to create a 70,000-square-foot Design Lab on the company’s sprawling campus in Mountain View, California. The bright, airy space is designed to motivate Ross’s 150-person team: It has a library of more than 1,000 hand-labeled, color-coded materials and Human Refueling Stations where designers lie down on leather mats to recharge. The Lab is off-limits to visitors and even most Google employees. After all, it houses dozens of top-secret projects—valuable IP in the hotly competitive world of electronics. But we got an exclusive tour. Read on to see what inspires Google’s designers—and for hints of what the future holds for Google design.