PIXAR – A playground for grown ups.

Okay, Pixar films are awesome. I love their animation, but I never expected that their offices would be anything near as cool. So, last week when we were invited for a tour by our animator friend Robb… I was kind of semi-interested. What can be so special about visiting their office space? Surely it’d just be some animator geek cubicles?!

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And it was a hot, sunny day at the Pacific coast where I could find a million other things I wanted to see.

Oh well, I went there anyway, curious enough to see what everyone is so excited about…and I have to admit…I TAKE IT ALL BACK!

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Arriving there was also kind of underwhelming. First of all, it is quite far outside of San Francisco in Emeryville. And secondly, they are doing some massive construction work and adding a totally new building at the moment. So while we could not drive into the company grounds under the famous PIXAR gate, which I would have loved to, we were allowed in the back entrance. And they gave us fancy stickers calling us “Strangers from the outside”.

After that, it was like entering into another world. Everything in there seems designed to encourage creativity. You enter under their mascot Luxo Jr. who stands 15feet tall so he makes you look miniature,

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and you are then greeted by a human-sized Lego Woody and Buzz at the reception desk.

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Oh and you walk past like a million Oscars! Pixar hangs giant sized artwork of their latest feature film in their main hall. So there are these beautiful paintings from Toy Story 3 everywhere. And of course, they also have a huge photo wall with images of all their employees on the ground floor 🙂 Some Kodak Moments right there.

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The production offices, the story department and the meeting rooms were all on the second level. We were not allowed to take any pictures there, but I can tell you, it was awesomeness!! Every office wall was fully decorated with beautiful drawings of their latest films and I have never seen so many oversized screens like in those meeting rooms. The creative environment is even more creative in the Pixar animator’s cubicles. Each and every one is customised with different interior design, different colours – like little dreamlands. Some look like small houses, some are totally stuffed with toys, others are neat and clean but have crazy artwork on the walls.

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Each office has a couch too…I guess for busy times when it gets too late and the way home is too long. One animator even has a treadmill built into the floor so he can run while he animates! Another has a nerf gun fort he built above his office. And another has a secret bar hidden behind a bookcase. Ah and the office of one animator who happened to be just a little too long on vacation was totally redecorated in pink and purple by his lovely colleagues 😀 It’s kind of nuts. But also kind of awesome. It’s like a playground for grown-ups. 

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