Google BHZ : Hardy Design – Estúdio de Design e Branding

Google BHZ

Partnership with BCMF Arquitetos, Mach Arquitetos, Atiaîa Lighting Design, and LD Studio, with collaboration from SubDV, Máximo Soalheiro, and Luis Gluck.

Environmental graphics and signage for Google Belo Horizonte’s Engineering Center.

Most people don’t know that much of internet’s intelligence today has been developed in Brazil, more specifically, at Google Belo Horizonte’s Engineering Center, the only of its kind in Latin America. The new space is over 5,000 square meters, spread over four floors, in a mixed use complex. Our challenge was to identify strong conceptual references that would connect the global company to Minas Gerais state’s values. The interior design integrates environmental graphics and lighting, exploring the tension between local culture and Google culture, in a subtle and sophisticated approach.

Spaces / Environmental graphics: contrary to traditional office design, the common areas take up as much space as formal work areas. The recreational space may also be used for work, so both are constantly interconnected. In work areas, materials refer to a digital (or intangible) context: clear glass, privacy screens, and shiny surfaces, meant to make the space as immersive as possible. In common areas, materials refer to Minas Gerais’s landscape and culture: tactile materials, textures, earth tones, wefts, and trusses. The basis of the color palette, and the chosen lighting solutions also reinforce this binary concept: shades of blue (cold) are predominant in work areas, while red (hot) dominates the common spaces.

Climatology / Parametric Design: the graphics in the meeting rooms’s glass surfaces were designed to provide transparency and privacy requirements. Actual weather data was collected to create, through parametric design (in collaboration with SUBdV), a layer of supersized infographics, with a surprising aesthetic result. The humidity, atmospheric precipitation, and wind data are all Belo Horizonte’s, while the atmospheric pressure ones are global, resulting in different cloud effects on each floor.

Café / Mineral Spices: the Café (restaurant) is a crucial space in Google culture, and a strong reference for Minas Gerais’s cuisine. We invited Máximo Soalheiro, an important contemporary artist in the Brazilian scene, to be responsible for the “Temperos Minerais” (“Mineral Spices”) art installation. Arranged on the shelves of the Café, the 2,116 bowls gather references of all the minerals found in the state. Combined in different blends, they result in 200 shades of an extraordinarily local and authorial palette, assembled as a large periodic table containing the elements of the local landscape.

Technological and rock landscaping: The landscaping project involved biologist Luiz Gluck, a pioneer in the technological development of Cerrado’s plant cultivation. The biome’s vegetation (rupestrian fields) is cloned and cultivated in vitro, with the ability to indicate air quality’s subtle variations. The reproduction of local species is also a socially groundbreaking initiative, involving hundreds of people whose families were previously engaged in predatory extractivism in the state’s countryside.

Architecture: BCMF Arquitetos and MACh Arquitetos
Lighting design: Atiaîa Design and LD Studio
Special collaboration: SUBdV, Máximo Soalheiro, and Luis Gluck

Graphic Design: Hardy Design
Creative Director: Mariana Hardy
Executive Director: Cynthia Massote
Project Manager: Mariana Muchon
Design: André Coelho, Anna Fonseca, and Délio Faleiro
Graphic Production: Mirelle Bairral
Photography: Gabriel Castro