Fine grain façades
Make a new headquarters for AOL

395 Page Mill Road


395 Page Mill Road in Palo Alto is the address of Aol’s new West Coast headquarters. It is also home to several small businesses—a coffee shop, a gym, a tech incubator—that occupy the same building. The design challenge here was to coordinate these spaces and Aol’s public lobby in a way that builds community and fosters interaction. Our solution: turn the complex and adjoining outdoor areas into a “campus.”

A unifying selection of warm wood finishes

All crafted in an urban-rustic style, begins the process of drawing disparate enterprises together. The interior design of the Ground Up coffee bar compliments the alfresco seating and leisure elements in the outdoor plaza, which, in turn, echo the fine grain facades in the building’s spacious lobby. The result is visual continuity with just enough variation to keep the eye—and mind—engaged.

Common areas and paths of travel encourage cross-pollination, not only between separate departments of Aol, but also between separate companies in the building. The aim is to create communal energy, in essence to grow a little city at one location: organic, vital, adaptable to change. As with a real city, the consequences of this “urban planning” are never predictable, but always trend naturally toward growth and problem-solving.

  • City: Palo Alto, CA
  • Year: 2011
  • Square Footage: 80,000
  • Team: Primo Orpilla, Clem Soga, Perry Stephney, Denise Cherry, David Hunter, Liz Guerrero, Albert Claxton, Justin Ackerman, Sarunya Wongjodsri, Caren Currie, Jeorge Jordan, Will Chu
  • Services: Site Analysis, Programming, Conceptual Development, Interior Design, Landscape Design, Custom Graphics, Project Management, Furniture Coordination
  • Photographer: Jasper Sanidad