Steve Jobs: The ideas behind the Pixar office design

No one can deny the success of Apple and the iPhone, iPod, iTunes phenomenon, but did you know about Steve Job’s background in office design and what requirements he wanted for the Pixar workplace? Below we take a look.


The space is an extremely large 218,000 sq ft building, with an enormous Atrium in the middle. The design reflects the left and right sides of the human brain, with the creative offices on the right side and the technical offices on the left. The central Atrium is where art and technology join together to trigger innovation and creativity. Jobs designed the building to encourage people to mingle by chance so the creative process could happen naturally.


Within the central atrium are the cafes, mailroom, gym facilities, table football, gift shop, and where you will find the main toilets in the space. This was purposely designed so people had to come to the Atrium and connect. It had everything that would get you out of your office and draw you to the centre, to have many people crossing it, many times a day. It was designed for 700+ employees to be brought together under one roof, and Jobs didn’t want it to be more than a two-story high building to support this collaboration.


The building was to look like a timeless design. The steel frames were bolted together and not welded, and then blasted with materials to form a natural coating. The facade had bespoke red bricks. The attention to detail of the design went through Jobs’ stringent process to get it exactly right.

Connection to the workplace

Within each office, the employees have creative license to express their ideas and design their space how they like. It is proposed to create a work environment that people enjoy working in and can connect to. The building also reflects the latest feature film that Pixar has released or are working on, through artwork and awards. This is to remind employees of the great work that is produced.

Creating the ‘Pixar feeling’ in your office

  1. Be intentional about designing for unplanned collaboration
  2. Make the office a place where employees want to work, rather than have to work
  3. Allow employees to express themselves through their workspaces
  4. Embed the brand within the space to remind employees of their great work

Photo credit: Office Snapshots



At Woodhouse we design and build a workspace that supports unplanned collaboration and creativity, and embeds your branding. For more than 40 years we have been helping organisations achieve high-quality workspaces that are crafted to the needs of their company. To find out more about how we can deliver your smarter workspace, please call 01707 255300 for a friendly chat with one of the team, orĀ send an email here and we will be in touch shortly.