Helsinki in The Valley

Finnish mobile giant Nokia’s colorful outpost

Andrew Braithwaite

Employees play Xbox and the classic video game Galaga in the third-floor arcade


Since 2010, Nokia has closed its five satellite offices in the Bay Area and relocated the employees — mostly workers from research and development and marketing — to a gleaming five-story building in Sunnyvale, Calif. There, amid Nordic modernity, they enjoy a shape-shifting office: Fewer than 10 of the 500 employees have a permanent workspace.

“It’s about the variety it gives you,” says communications manager Karen Lachtanski. “We move to new views to give a new perspective. We’re not a place with family portraits pinned to many cubicle walls.”

Employees work over lattes and fresh-made sandwiches from a cafe that brews Peet’s Coffee. Two wellness rooms, each with a shower and a napping area, help traveling executives decompress before meetings. Clusters of classic arcade games and a trophy case of obsolete Nokia models are constant reminders of the inexorable need to innovate or perish. The smallest conference rooms, lined with fragrant pine slats to evoke a Finnish sauna, double as private phone booths. “Finns love their saunas,” says Lachtanski.



Neighborhood: Sunnyvale, Calif., Silicon Valley

Building completed: 2010

Square feet: 156,600

Designer: Gensler


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