It sounds like an urban legend, but both C/Netand The Huffington Post have reported the story of Eric Simons, the 19-year-old start-up entrepreneur who secretly lived in Aol’s Palo Alto offices while trying to get his start-up going. Apparently the Phantom of Aol slept on couches and foraged in the company’s communal kitchen, used a gym in the facility to shower and eluded security for two months until he was discovered… and bounced.
We understand the necessity of securing perimeters– but as the designers of Aol’s West Coast HQ, we think this story illustrates a point we’ve been making about designing offices for all-hours use. As Andrew Blum said in a recent article in Metropolis: “These are honey-traps, designed to encourage employees to never go home.”
And non-employees, apparently.
Above: Comfy furniture at Aol, suitable for meetings, creative collaboration– and a good night’s sleep.
Photo by Jasper Sanidad