Silicon Valley is not your typical workplace comedy. The new HBO series, loosely based on creator Mike Judge's experience as test engineer at a tech startup in the ’80s, follows protagonist Richard Hendriks—who invents a powerful file-compression technology called Pied Piper—as he starts his own company and fights for a slice of the tech-boom pie. Along the way, we get a fictionalized glimpse of Silicon Valley office spaces—a subject easy to satirize, given how Bay Area tech giants such as Google have become famous for their zany, playground-plush offices spaces.
Silicon Valley is a meticulously researched show—tech advisors help ensure that even scribblings on Post-It notes on set seem as realistic as possible—and the work spaces that appear on screen are no exception. Production designer Richard Toyon, the man responsible for the visual storytelling, called up friends all over Silicon Valley to get a peek inside the offices of Facebook, Google, Zynga, and others. Security often prevented Toyon from taking pictures inside the buildings, so he made due with mental notes.