(Photos: EA and CLC Associates)
Even video game designers have to toil in the non-virtual world, and Electronic Arts (EA) has just cut the ribbon on a 20,000-square-foot game design studio in Salt Lake City, Utah. Upon hearing from EA that the space was “specifically designed to promote the creation of innovative video game content,” we were curious to see what that looked like, exactly. Paul Hirshi, architectural manager at CLC Associates, opted for a mountain theme. In the hopes of encouraging collaboration among the 100 EA employees who will work in the new studio, the floor plan has few fixed walls, with team spaces given prime views of Utah’s mountains (real ones), cityscape, and parks. The new offices also feature a variety of lighting elements suspended from high ceilings, illuminating metal wave structures that give the illusion of flow and movement. The effect is invigorating if mildly mall-ish: think New York Times building-meets-carnival Matterhorn ride—and we dare anyone to doze off in the bright yellow conference room. Among the first orders of business for the team-friendly space is developing Monopoly Streets. Slated for release later this year, the game will present the 75-year-old board game as a street-level tour of Mr. Monopoly’s fully animated world. How a giant thimble will fit in is still anybody’s guess, although Claes Oldenburg might have some ideas.