“When something exceeds your ability to understand how it works, it sort of becomes magical.” Judging by these words, spoken by Apple’s designer-in-chief Jony Ive at the 2010 launch of the iPad, the glass walls of the firm’s new headquarters in California are one of the most magical things the tech giant has ever produced.
Not even Apple’s own employees appear to be able to see through this magic to understand the true function of the walls, with a spate of 911 calls revealing the injuries caused by people walking into glass at Apple Park.
Transcripts of the calls, obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, confirm reports last month that the transparent design was proving problematic at the so-called “spaceship” campus.
“We had an individual who ran into a glass wall pane and they hit their head,” one call from January 2 states.
“We had an employee, he was on campus and he walked into a glass window, hitting his head,” states a second call from the same day.
Two days later, another call, this time from one of the victims: “Um, I walked into a glass door on the first floor of Apple Park when I was trying to go outside, which was very silly.”
Apple has tried to stem the rate of collisions by placing stickers on the glass, though the whole issue might have been avoided if the iPhone maker had heeded the warnings of a California building official during the construction of the $5 billion headquarters.
“We did recognize that this is going to be an issue, especially when they clean the glass,” Albert Salvador told the Chronicle. “When you clean the windows, you can’t even tell some of them are there.”
When Salvador visited the site during its construction last year, he reportedly brought up the issue with Apple. Even contractors were walking into the glass, Salvador said, so it was no surprise that on the first day that employees moved into their new offices in January, the local 911 dispatch center was receiving calls.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the 911 calls, and Ive, who helped oversee design of Apple Park, rarely gives interviews, let alone comments on issues with products. However, in an interview last year with Fast Company, Ive shared some prescient thoughts on the new headquarters.
“We didn’t make Apple Park for other people,” Ive said. “So a lot of the criticisms are utterly bizarre, because it wasn’t made for you… We made it for us to help us be better.”
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