In the first part of our Microsoft‘s Redmond campus tour, we kicked things off from Microsoft Store in Bellevue and then progressed to the actual campus ground itself starting with Microsoft Visitor Centre as well as the campus own public transportation network. From there, we checked out some of the current projects that researchers and engineers at Microsoft Research Lab are working on.
So now, it is time for Part 2 of the tour. Let’s begin this with this question: where do Microsofties in Redmond campus go to eat?
Well, they could choose to go outside of the campus but then again, there are actually plenty of places to eat within the campus itself with variety of cooking style to choose from. One such cafeteria that we visited is called Café 34 which is located in Building 34 of the campus that not only feature variety of food but also a hydroponic installment that produces fresh microgreens for the café and part of the company’s sustainability effort.
Next, we head on to the nearby Microsoft Executive Briefing Center which is where the company hosts highly focused briefings with their invited guests and customers. Within the center is a section called Microsoft Envisioning Center which houses proof of concepts and prototypes that showcases Microsoft’s vision of the future.
The Envisioning Center itself contains several spaces that represents several scenarios in workspace and home. For example, there is a space dubbed as Action Center that is designed to drive collaborations and features a really large wall-sized touch display. There is also the highly impressive smart kitchen concept that mixed interactivity and contents together with object recognition capability in order to assist users.
Being proof of concepts, all the products and services shown in the company’s Envisioning Center have no exact roadmap in terms of engineering or availability for end users but considering the level of technology that we already have at the moment, majority of them are not far-fetched at all. The showcase spaces do change from time to time though as prototypes come in and go.
As a huge corporate organization, it is not surprising to see that Microsoft maintain a number of art pieces. In fact, Microsoft Art Collection is one of the largest corporate art collections in the world with around 4,728 pieces which include a section of Berlin Wall (yes, the real wall) that was a gift from Daimler-Benz AG to Bill Gates in 1996.
While we were walking and commuting from one building to another, we can’t help but to notice the beautiful sceneries all over Microsoft Redmond campus thanks to the abundance of trees within the area. The arrival of autumn further highlight the lushness of the campus which also has its own jogging/biking trails and numerous playfields.
So, here it is: Building 1 which is one of the six original building that Microsoft occupied when the company moved into its Redmond campus in 1986. As you can see from throughout our tour, the campus has significantly grown since then. Just don’t go looking for Building 7. ;)
While we have our own theories, none of the Microsoft staff that accompanied us knew why this rather lonely chair is here, at the lake in the middle of the campus original buildings. Like, seriously.
This particular part of the campus is called The Commons which is considered to be some sort of a shopping mall specially developed for Microsoft staff at the campus. There are plenty of things that Microsoft staff can get done here as the area houses post office, credit union, bicycle shop, telco providers and hair salon (yup). Of course, there are quite a number of restaurants in The Commons which include a bar as well.
This life-size elephant statue was used during Kinect for Xbox 360 World Premiere event in 2010 which involved a massive show performed by the world renowned Cirque du Soleil.
Located in the same building as per Microsoft Visitor Center is the Company Store which is also opened for public with the exception of a small section within the store that is specifically reserved for Microsoft staff. The store features tons of merchandises bearing Microsoft’s branding as well as its products. We spotted the legendary Ninja Cat Unicorn t-shirt in the store as well but only Microsoft staff is allowed to purchase it. Too bad then.
So, that’s it for the second installment of our Microsoft Redmond campus tour. Stay tuned for part 3 very soon where we’ll be meeting some of the folks that are working in the campus (including a Malaysian) together with a tour of Microsoft Garage and Microsoft Cybercrime Center.