Inside the Walls of Facebook Headquarters, Palo Alto

Posted on
Jul 30, 2012
Posted in: Photos

Rand and I were in Palo Alto for work.

Well, he had work. I had things to eat and photos to take. Which is the closest thing I do to work.

Holy crap. My life rules.

Anyway, I digress. We were in Palo Alto, and we carved out some time to stop by the Facebook offices. We have friends who work there, and we were lucky enough to get a tour from them. Unfortunately, photography is forbidden inside the Facebook offices.

So, naturally, I took some photos.

I know, I know. That sounds bad. But let’s everyone calm down. You know how freakishly rule-abiding I am (mostly), right? I don’t jaywalk. I floss nightly. I wait until after I’ve eaten my meal before gobbling up dessert (okay, that’s only true 60% of the time, but for me, THAT’S RESTRAINT).

However, someone – I AM NOT SAYING WHO – said that it would be okay if I took photos, as long as I didn’t capture any sensitive material. No pictures of computer screens or whiteboards, no photos of people meeting inside conference rooms, no snapshots of documents entitled “Enslaving the World: The Future of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg.” You get the idea. So I went ahead and took photos of FB’s offices. And since there are 25,000 more sensitive pictures of the campus on Flickr, I’d say I’m okay.

So, with that previous paragraph serving as a preemptive strike against any cease-and-desist letters I might soon receive, here are some photos I took of the little-seen playground that is the Facebook offices …


Upon arriving, we saw this sign, which I find rather clever (and also a testament to their branding. How instantly did you recognize the logo?):

You like this.

We visited during one of their infamous Hackathons, as was indicated by the tiles in this courtyard, we have been colored in to say “HACK”.

The inside of the officers were covered in art. Much of it is done by professionals, but some of it was done by folks who work at Facebook (apparently employees are given free range to decorate empty wall space as they see fit. If someone doesn’t like it, it just gets painted over).

I really liked this little guy:

“YAY! Unicorn horns are awesome!”

And this was kind of incredible. It’s the Facebook logo painted on railings, the wall behind, and it extends down to the floor below. I had to find just the right angle where they all matched up perfectly.

The story behind this next piece is a fascinating one:

It was originally painted – along with several other murals – in Facebook’s old offices (and physically removed and put up in its current location). At the time, the artist, David Choe, was given the choice to be paid in cash or stock. Being a bit of a risk-taker, he took stock.

When Facebook went public this past year, Choe’s stock was worth $200 million.

See? Not ALL artists have to starve.

This vertical garden was the brainchild of an employee. It was made with plants in two different shades, and yes, they’re alive (there’s an intricate irrigation system at back). I wish I could have captured all of it, but it was in a hallway, so space was limited. But look closely and you can see most of the Facebook “f” logo:

In addition to the artwork, Facebook’s walls (heh) were covered with a lot of quirky little inspirational phrases. I liked this one, in part because it’s so easily-attainable:

ZOMG. I can totally do this! Though I prefer “Move sluggishly and break things.”

 And here’s another …

Underneath, someone wrote in teeny tiny letters, “Everything.”

This piece, which spanned an entire wall, was interactive. Folks measured their height on the wall, and signed their name and the date next to it. Most everyone fell into a wide horizontal band, but there were a few outliers of  very tall and very short people.

I’m right underneath Erin Gilman.

Walking through the offices, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat small and insignificant. Facebook is huge, in every sense. The offices are massive, the product ubiquitous.  Hell, even my mom has an account. It’s enough to make you wonder precisely what you are doing of note with your life. And just when I started to get overwhelmed by all of it, this happened:

I swear, the wall behind us was blank until he kissed me.

And just like that, the panic and the feelings of inadequacy and lack of accomplishment melted away. After all, he was my “it’s complicated” long before Facebook even existed.


Leave a Comment

  • Swoon… I just love how totally adorable you and Rand are. Your post made me want to go and give my partner a big old smooch too. The walls didn’t go like that, but a cloud of butterflies did fly past 🙂

  • Tiffany @ theUnimaginedLife

    love, Love, LOVE this! You facebook rebel, you 🙂

  • I love that you were able to take a blog post on Facebook artwork and turn it into a “Aw, how cute and romantic” post at the end. 🙂

  • Looks like at least they let you take photos of the good stuff.

    This is my first time here—clued in by Nomadic Matt’s post about his favorite travel blogs. You look waaaay younger than I am, but there are some definite parallels. If you can get past the shameless self-promotion, check out my blog. I’d be curious to see if you see what I mean. I’m basically, an empty nester trailing spouse.

  • I find all this fascinating. FASCINATING! That whole art thing, the $200-million stock (OMFG), the perfectly matched up “F”…HIRE ME FACEBOOK

  • LIKE!!

  • Like, Like, Like especially the last bit. I hope you saw them working hard to improve Timeline.

  • Amy

    Gahhh you get me every time with your romantic bits of info and pics of you and Rand. <3

  • I don’t know how anyone gets work done at fb hq, since they could be drawing on the walls and moving fast/breaking things instead.

  • In a world of “I hate my life” and “I hate my partner” this is wonderfully refreshing. LOVE!

  • Caronis

    I regret to inform you that you have violated Facebook’s Terms & Agreements regarding the publishing of these photos of Facebook’s Headquarters. However, the lawyers at Facebook will not be pressing charges. Instead, Facebook will be posting your lovely Face on Roseanne Barr’s naked body and we will send this to all of your Facebook Friends. Good Day, Ma’am!

  • Jay

    I love the last part — cute.

  • I’m sooo jealous! But I’m really happy for the two of you! And for facebook as well… Great feelings and ideas at the right moment can bring you and many others a lot of happiness indeed. After all, it’s not that complicated, is it? 😉

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • The final, finished copy of my book arrived at our house today. Rand is very excited about it. (Everyone else has to wait until May 2nd, but you can pre-order it now. Link in bio.) #AllOverThePlace #AOTPbook #everywhereist #happydance
  • 9 foods we ate in Japan that I'm missing now:
1) Sushi! 
2) Kaiseki (a multi-course meal with tons of delicious little plates)
3) Croissants (Japanese bakeries seem to have mastered them) 
4) Okonomiyaki (multi-layered pancakes with noodles and all sorts of stuff)
5) Takoyaki (octopus balls) 
6) Ramen (so many styles, all so good) 
7) Yakiniku (grill your own meats!)
8) Tempura (so light and crispy) 
9) Onigiri (Geraldine was crazy for these - the best ones came from 7-11 of all places) 
#foodsofjapan #randtookthis #latergram #tastebudsforeverspoiled
  • Geraldine bought this frickin' adorable tea cup in Tokyo and I'm kinda jealous (even though everyone knows cups that hold hot liquids need handles!). #studioghibli #totorotea #randtookthis
  • Sayonara Japan. We loved you so much, we're already planning ways to come back. Thanks to @nicelleh & @wescarr for insisting we go, and for being our tour guides. #randtookthis #randaldineselfie #selfiesonaplane
  • It's not often you get to meet up with friends at Tokyo Station on the way to Narita, but we lucked out. Thanks @benhuh @emilyphuh for the great lunch and amazing company. #randtookthis #lastdayofvacation #selfiesatthetrain
  • That's no way to describe how stunning the ryokan & onsen is here. Maybe these 7 photos will help. It's definitely modern, but the landscape, the food, the lobby, the architecture, the service... everything is just spot on. And we even get to wear yukatas! #randtookthis #hoshiniya #karuizawa #beautifulhotels
  • Karuizawa has its own creamery, and they make both matcha and black sesame gelato. It's frickin' tasty. Who cares if we have to wear coats to eat it. #icecreamtime #lastdayofvacation #nagaifarm
  • Waiting for the bus. With a friend. 
#randtookthis #totorotime
  • This stone church in Karuizawa was designed by an American architect, Kendrick Kellogg, and serves as a popular wedding facility. Fascinatingly, it has no right angles in the design (though Geraldine spent most of our visit trying to claim that angles on exit signs or edges of photos inside technically violated this rule). #randtookthis #stonebuildings #curvyarchitecture
  • We have been incredibly lucky to stay at many beautiful hotels around the world (mostly thanks to generous conference organizers). But, #hoshiniya in Karuizawa almost certainly belongs in the top 3. Every detail is stunning here. It's almost sad to walk out of the resort! #randtookthis #randaldineselfie

All Over The Place

Pre-order my book now and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.

Pre-Order Now!