At the Redbull headquarters, you can take a carbon slide down to the ground floor instead using the stairs, at Google you can sit around and talk strategy in ski gondolas, but at the Pixar offices, there’s something special that didn’t require all the big budget bells & whistles to count the animation company amongst the coolest workplaces on earth.
Did you hear about the time a Pixar employee discovered a hidden room behind an air vent in his office and turned it into his own secret speakeasy lounge where Steve Jobs would end up hanging out?
Yup, that really happened. And it really exists.
Initially, it was the closely-guarded secret of the young Pixar animator Andrew Gordon, who found a small suspicious door with a key in his new office and went quite literally, down the rabbit hole. Then one day, the Pixar director Andrew Stanton came looking for Gordon in his office and discovered the hidden passage leading to his hideout. The young animator assumed he would be fired on the spot when his boss’s head popped out of the access vent into the clandestine lounge he had created– but Stanton had other ideas!
Hidden inside the bonus features of Toy Story 3, the charming little story of the young animator who created this secret Pixar cocktail lounge is revealed…
And just in case you needed some evidence, here are the goods… (photos by Deborah Coleman, behind-the-scenes documentarian for Pixar Animation Studios)
Famous signatures accumulated on the speakeasy’s walls include Roy Disney’s, Tim Allen’s and as promised, Steve Jobs’, but as a non-drinker, Steve preferred to think of it as a meditation room. His official biography by Walter Isaacson recalls the hidden lounge…
“It opened to a low corridor that you could crawl through to a room clad in sheet metal that provided access to the air-conditioning valves…He [Andrew] and his colleagues commandeered the secret room, festooned it with Christmas lights and lava lamps, and furnished it with benches upholstered in animal prints, tasseled pillows, a fold-up cocktail table, liquor bottles, bar equipment, and napkins that read “The Love Lounge.”
Above is the vent where visitors had to crawl through to reach “The Love Lounge”.
While the Love Lounge is said to have hosted an entire football team at one point inside its four walls, clearly just one speakeasy lounge was not enough to accommodate employees and guests. So when Andrew got a promotion and moved offices, they had him create a new one. Of course, his new office was conveniently placed next to another hidden room…
This speakeasy is known as the “Lucky 7” lounge and it’s hidden behind a wall panel that opens by pressing a button found inside the head of a statue…
Pretty neat hey? As far as dream offices go, I think I’d take Alice in Wonderland rabbit holes that lead to secret cocktail bars over Google’s fancy headquarters any day!
Find out more about the fully-stocked bars at Pixar Studios.