Among the many multinational companies that have shown confidence in Israel is Google, which set up shop here in 2006. Google has become a key force in the country’s startup community, offering entrepreneurs and newbie companies countless resources—such as a “hack space” and “device library,” where users can test out new tech ideas on a variety of platforms; and “Google Launchpad,” a two-week boot camp for early-stage startups, to help with product strategies and technology, marketing, business development, and more. In keeping with the company’s well-known employee-friendly mindset, Google’s new Tel Aviv and Haifa headquarters—designed by Camenzind Evolution, with Setter Architects and Studio Yaron Tal—can only be described as fun.
The Tel Aviv offices, which opened in late 2012, are divided into eight floors of the city’s Electra Tower. The workspaces are designed as riffs on Israeli locations and themes, from the undulating wooden boardwalks of the Tel Aviv Port to the orange groves near Jaffa to the rocky swells of the Negev Desert. One level is devoted to Campus Tel Aviv, which hosts "Google for Education" workshops (for teachers) and "Campus for Moms" (a baby-friendly seminar for entrepreneur-minded mothers). The campus, the offices, the programming—all are designed to facilitate and inspire communication and creativity among employees. In Israel and elsewhere, Google has demonstrated that success can be gained by breaking the template and trying something new. As a company’s watch-phrase reminds us: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are for.”