On October 22, Lenovo celebrated the launch of its new headquarters in the Phase II of Zhongguancun Software Park, the high-tech zone in the northwest of Beijing, with chairman and CEO of Lenovo Yang Yuanqing attending the ceremony. The company aims to create a Silicon Valley style working environment for all its employees.
The new headquarters of Lenovo, designed by famous American architectural design company RTKL, is adjacent to the headquarters of a cluster of Chinese tech giants including Baidu, Netease, Sina and Tencent, which altogether form the “Silicon Valley” of China. It covers a total area of 13 hectares, with six-storey main buildings that accommodate over 10,000 employees.
Lenovo’s headquarters is divided into two parts, with the east and west side connected by a glass corridor. Standing in the corridor, you can catch a glimpse of faraway satellite dishes. They couldn’t make the building too high, as that would block the satellite signals.
The outer facade of the building is shaped like a cube and mainly made up of stone and glass. Its aluminum perforated panel gives off a modern technological vibe and its colors vary in different angles under the sunlight. The light colored stone walls are processed using an oblique cutting technique, which creates a gradual densing visual effect when the observer approaches the building.
The interior design is jointly completed by RTKL and Hong Kong design company M Moser Associates. Both the east and west sides have huge lobbies with high ceilings used both for socializing and public visits.
The office area, looks to me, like a co-working space, which enables employees to communicate freely, unconstrained by the conventional cubicles. The stylish exposed ventilating pipes give the area an industrial feel. The staff told us that it is designed for minimizing the usage of materials that might emit harmful solvents including synthetic woods. The new ventilation system provides fresh air for the staff during Beijing’s polluted days, using the electrostatic adsorption particulate filtration technology and an adjustment system for carbon dioxide concentration.
The laundry room, gym, child care center, and other living facilities are located on the first floor of the main building. The most impressive part is the “blue ocean”, an area where employees can enjoy their lunch breaks. It has a beautiful view of the autumn trees outside.
Doug Woods, co-founder of DPR, the design firm in charge of Apple and Google’s new headquarters once talked about their fondness of roof top solar panels. The designer of Lenovo’s new headquarters also put high emphasis on its environmental friendliness. Solar power and collector systems are installed on top of the building to provide energy for indoor lighting and water heating. All office areas has adopted smart overhead lights with infrared sensors, which automatically turn off when people leave the office. A reflective lighting system is also used for providing lighting to an underground sports field, which saves a large amount of electricity.
The tour comes to an end at the business center on the second floor. It showcases Lenovo’s achievements in AI deployments, focusing on the three major elements of Artificial Intelligence- data, computing power and algorithms. Apart from its traditional PC and smartphone businesses, Lenovo is also a major server provider for seven major cloud computing centers around the globe including Aliyun and Baidu Cloud.
The headquarter building is a combination of industrial ambience, cool coloring, tech innovations and eco-friendliness, all features of an ideal work place. However looking around the surrounding giants of Tencent and Baidu, it might just be the tip of the iceberg of the Chinese version of Silicon Valley here in the far northwest side of Beijing.