The long guarded veil of mystery surrounding Magic Leap for years was finally lifted last year when the company revealed its Magic Leap One device.
But even now, as the company releases new apps and high profile partnerships, the company itself remains something of a cipher. We can now erase at least a portion of that mystery via images we've obtained of the interiors of Magic Leap's remote Florida headquarters.
The space Magic Leap currently occupies is the former home of Motorola Mobility. Motorola's departure from the site in 2015 was prompted by the decision by its parent company, Lenovo, to eliminate 3,200 jobs internationally.
Employees learned about the impending closure in August of that year, and in just two short months, in October, the massive 259,000 square feet space was swiftly emptied.
Not long after, Magic Leap held a semi-public event to celebrate its takeover of the space at 7500 West Sunrise Boulevard, fueled in part by $9 million in state and local incentives (as well as a famously large investment arsenal led by Google and others).
It seemed quite fitting that the space that once facilitated the production of mobile devices from one of the most famous mobile brands in tech history would now be the fertile production base for Magic Leap's engineering, design, and product manufacturing.
But in the subsequent years since the company's arrival at the Plantation, Florida site, few from the outside world have been allowed inside to take a look around.
But now we have a better view of what the daily workday world looks like for Magic Leap engineers and executives thanks to images we've received from the award-winning, Florida-based architecture firm Glavovic Studio.
The firm, which was co-founded by Margi Nothard and Terence O'Connor, handled the renovation of the space for Magic Leap, turning the dry Motorola confines into a more open, slightly more relaxed space for the startup's spatial computing ambitions.
The renovation work lasted from 2015 until 2018 and was led by Nothard as the principal designer.
A big part of the challenge of renovating the space revolved around Magic Leap's unique needs: included research and development labs; advanced acoustics and audio system support; manufacturing facilities; a machine shop; shipping and receiving areas; demonstration labs; as well as traditional office space for an estimated 1,000 workers at the start of the renovation project.
"[Glavovic Studio] developed a pattern of linked 'neighborhoods,' where, like in a contemporary city, interaction and disruption is guaranteed to occur through the streets and nodes when people meet and greet," the firm states in a document describing its approach to the project.
"An interconnected non-linear geometry fosters and supports a strong creative culture at Magic Leap and is achieved with a spiral-shaped plan. Links and views between departments through pathways that are open work areas and open glass meeting spaces at various scales lead to a series of public gatherings spaces/nodes that include seating, eating, interactive opportunities as well as spaces where Magic Leap products are tested, used and explored."
Normally, finding out what the interior of a major tech startup looks like wouldn't draw so much interest, but in Magic Leap's case, so much has been shrouded in secrecy for so long, any additional piece of the puzzle is welcome.
Furthermore, given the company's extreme distance from the often unorthodox and playful office trends of Silicon Valley, embodied by companies like Google and Facebook, a glimpse at Magic Leap's secretive inner sanctum tells us just a little bit more about the company's culture, which continues to develop outside of the traditional tech ecosystem.
Are there colorful slides, ball pits, mini basketball hoops, and hoverboards scattered all about Magic Leap's halls? Not that we can see.
But the images here, often showing spaces festooned with Magic Leap's now well-known logo, offer a fresh perspective on a company that still clings to its wall of privacy, even as it slowly begins to charge into the mainstream at full steam.
The overall layout seems similar to what it was during the Motorola heyday...long interconnected corridors connecting disparate departments with plenty of open spaces in between. The other changes are bling, bling extras.
Probably took a long 3 years for these cosmetic changes since much of the Motorola building is actually rented out by a medical firm next door unrelated to Magic Leap so there was probably a need to construct internal walls that didn't exist during the Motorola epoch.
I have been around the 'high-tech' campus' for many years now as an Engineer and must admit that it is a beautiful Headquarters. I also have been following the ML products and development for some time now and think they are going to have a real tough time making money and infiltrating all the 'wonderful' possibilities and markets associated with this technology. Just alone , the $2300 price which is the approx cost for the "developer" kit is going to actually limit their success in my humble opinion. Even if it gets adopted by major gaming and other virtual apps it will out-date itself and become extinct before it can penetrate these new markets (ie technical limitations with the number of prism planes/resolution and density/extent of the view/clipping limits/render process speed/etc.). Unfortunately, again from experience, it isn't always the first and best that wins these tech races. I do applaud their product - it is a step towards the future and I do wish them the best! Again, unfortunately, those chillingly air-conditioned and cool hallways will once again become chilling empty and warm.
Share Your Thoughts