Top HQs of the biggest names in tech

A rare glimpse inside the halls of gadget power...

So who would live in a gadget palace like this?

The biggest tech companies need to attract the best staff. One way of doing that is to ensure their headquarters combine sky-scraping grandeur and scenic surroundings, with employee perks hardwired into the fabric of the building…

See below for our look inside the offices of the biggest name in tech

Sony Corporation Japan
1-7-1 Konan, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, Japan

Building design
Sony has no fewer than ten enormous buildings spread across Japan and claims over 171,000 employees worldwide, but this glass tower is where the top dogs reside: perched right above Tokyo Bay. With clinical, clean lines, Sony’s HQ is a simple yet intimidating skyscraper worthy of the legendary tech giant dwelling inside.

Special features
It’s all about making the most of the impressive glass facade: super-fast lifts shoot you up and down the building at lighting speeds while providing staggering views of Tokyo. Strategically positioned rest areas with loor-to-ceiling windows look down on the busy city, as do the indoor smoking booths. The Sony Museum section displays all of Sony’s firsts in technology, from CD players and Betamax to colour TV, while Sony Square – a top secret tour area of Sony’s current works in progress – looks to the company’s future: T took a tour around Sony Square recently, but we’re sworn to complete secrecy, alas…

Sony says…
“This building produces approximately 48 per cent less CO2 emissions than conventional buildings. Sony applies various energy-saving measures developed by its technological excellence to its ofices. The Sony vision of a greener future is well under way.”

You’d kill to work here because…
It’s in the middle of one of the most bustling cities in the world, yet it’s an incredibly clean and peaceful place. Working for Sony might also involve being relocated to Nagano, ive hours into the serene Japanese countryside.

Google Googleplex
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain view, California, United States

Building design
The Googleplex is made up of four main buildings in an area totalling 506,310 square feet, bought by Google in 2003 for the princely sum of $319 million. Most of the site’s buildings are covered in solar panels – there are 9,212 in total. These provide around 30 per cent of the online giant’s power requirements.

Special features
Eco-friendliness is a big theme at the Googleplex. The loors are covered in tiny, hard wearing quartz stones as opposed to carpet and the stairs are constructed from sustainably harvested wood. Employees are encouraged to use any of the hundreds of free bikes to get to meetings. Even the meeting rooms themselves are stuffed with recycled denim to help conserve heat and save heating costs. The Googleplex’s lobby incorporates screens showing search terms from around the world as they occur, like a modern art installation.

Google says…
“Although Google has grown a lot since it opened in 1998, we still maintain a small company feel. At lunchtime, almost everyone eats in the Googleplex’s cafe, sitting at whatever table has an opening and enjoying interesting conversation with Googlers from different teams.”

You’d kill to work here because…
The fun stuff on site includes a beach volleyball court, four free gyms, 19 cafeterias serving three meals a day for round-the-clock work, DIY libraries and two ininity pools on the rooftop. There are also over 200 dogs knocking around on any given day as Google employees are free to bring their pooches to work with them. As long as they keep them off the grass…

Microsoft Campus
14820 Northeast 36th Street, Redmond, Washington, United States

Building design
The Microsoft campus at Redmond underwent an upgrade in 2006 to add what would eventually be an extra 5.5 million square feet. The whole campus is carefully landscaped and designed around the needs of its employees, based on a series of surveys, questionnaires and interviews carried out during Microsoft’s Workplace Advantage scheme.

Special features
The outcome of that scheme was ofice innards that are the antithesis of traditional ofice cubicles. The features in the ofices are customisable. Want a whiteboard for your wall? Done. Want some different lights to boost your creativity? Done. The aim is to have everyone working in a room or space perfectly suited to their role in the company and engineered to help enhance their creativity and productivity. As the name “Campus” suggests, Microsoft is consciously trying to give their HQ a university feel. Employees can use on-campus Prius hybrids to shuttle around the site if they wish, too.

Microsoft says…
“Workplaces are designed to it the speciic type of work the employee is doing. This includes a variety of different types of collaborative spaces such as small breakout areas, moveable walls, touchdown spaces for visiting employees and think tanks for medium-sized group meetings.”

You’d kill to work here because…
This place is HUGE. Not only are there over 40 eateries on campus, there are also pitches for playing a spot of soccer, Frisbee, softball, basketball, cricket, beach volleyball, or even bocce ball, whatever that is; free equipment is on hand if you forget your P.E kit. Microsoft encourages outdoor working too, and the entire 600-acre space has Wi-Fi access.

HTC Corporate HQ
23 Xinghua Road, Taoyuan 330, Taiwan, R.O.C

Building design
The entire HTC complex is encased in glass so the innards have a light and airy feel. The main building is tethered to the factory next door via a huge glass walkway.

Special features
Unlike nearly all mobile manufacturers, HTC keeps everything in-house. Having the manufacturing plant, creative thinking teams, marketing and labs all under one roof and in the same complex is what HTC claims helps it create market-leading blowers. The designers work with the engineers at every step due to their proximity, managing every stage of the process in a more lexible way. The result? Top handsets and happy employees working as a tight unit.

HTC says…
“Every employee is encouraged to contribute ideas and feedback on the company and our phones. The business is a family and everything we do is a real team effort. This means we can push the boundaries of design with creativity and experimentation.”

You’d kill to work here because…
Not only are the company’s mobiles getting huge recognition worldwide, but Taiwan is in the middle of an enormous technological surge that puts it ahead of almost every other country in the world.