The Geo team recently moved into a new building here at the Googleplex in Mountain View, and we wanted to give the building a real geographic feel. We placed a couple of life-size Google Maps pins outside of the building to connect our physical presence with the online map, and named the conference rooms after famous explorers. But despite Pegman’s constant presence in the building, we still felt something was missing.

That’s when we discovered artist Christoph Niemann’s creative take on online mapping. We thought his humorous depictions were the perfect thing to give our new office a fun, distinctly geo feel. We got in touch with Christoph, and luckily, he thought it was a great idea too! We knew that the building design team had been planning to put more generic art on the walls, so we basically charged into their planning meeting and yelled “Wait!” Once we showed them Christoph’s art, they were equally excited about the quirky, funny designs, and they incorporated his art all around the building. You can find his maps in obvious places such as a print on a lounge wall, but also in unexpected places like on glass walls!

My personal favorite is “omelet,” which covers an entire lounge wall on the first floor and even wraps around the corner. I love the way the road tangles and knots in the center, then runs along the wall and turns the corner, escaping the lounge.

We were lucky to have Christoph visit our new office to speak with the team about his design vision and process, as well as his love of maps. His talk drew a large crowd of eager fans who’d been enjoying his work in our building for the past month. He had us rolling on the floor with his witty metaphor-bending designs and acerbic comments about life as a designer. We also appreciated learning more about his creative and iterative approach to mixing maps with humor. We were very flattered that he ended up using Google Maps to inspire this collection of artistry, and thought our maps were a canonical reference that any audience would immediately “get.”

Special thanks to Tai Kuncio for her work with the building planners
and Peter Brueckner for these photos.

So thanks, Christoph, for turning our look on its head, tail, up the stairs and around the corner - and for helping our office feel appropriately fun, silly and, well, Googley.