MWC is an assault on the senses – just take a look at our intro video to get a feel for what it’s like. Thousands of people, a constant din and massive booths designed to capture your eye and draw you in are everywhere. But nestled amongst the inviting eye candy lie a few areas that are off-limits to all but the invited few (I know for a fact that some people have handled the Galaxy Fold, for example, and thankfully, I’ve been told it’s legit). Trade shows are full of secret back-room meetings and hands-on opportunities, but many of these are restricted areas to the majority of attendees.
Related: Our favorite products of MWC 2019
One of the most tantalizing of all no-go areas at MWC 2019 has got to be the Android Plaza, where Google conducts its partner meetings behind closed doors. It’s invite-only and walking past it usually only reveals a reception desk that conceals the larger space behind. Any curious tech fan would love to know what’s inside the huge white box, but sadly, we’ve never had the chance to find out. Until now.
Knowing our lust for the unknown, this year Google was kind enough to reveal what’s inside the themed meeting rooms where it holds private meetings. We’re sharing the photos here so you too can satisfy your curiosity. To some, they’ll just be meeting rooms, to others like us, they’re an exciting glimpse at spaces we’d otherwise never see.
As you can see in the gallery above, each of the rooms in the Android Plaza has been decorated in a specific style to match its name. The pub meeting room, for example, is set up exactly as you would expect a pub to be, as is the record store, complete with characteristic plywood boxes for the real records on display. There’s also a bike shop, tailor’s, taqueria, barbershop, ceramics workshop, bakery, streetwear store, plant nursery, and even an arcade.
The attention to detail in each meeting room is pretty amazing for a location that only exists for a few days (take the hand-lacquered table, real books and crazy expensive Tom Dixon air diffuser in the book store as a case in point). Anyone that’s ever walked the show floor the day before an event opens to the public knows just how quickly these spaces are put together and then how rapidly they vanish afterwards, so the specificity in each room here is impressive.
Google stores some of the interiors but a lot of the furniture and fittings in the Android Plaza meeting rooms are donated to local schools or libraries after MWC wraps, including the books that line the shelves in the book store meeting room (nice one, Google!).
Having been in plenty of meeting rooms at MWC over the years, I can safely say that Google is right up there with the best meeting spaces at the trade show. There’s usually a stark contrast between the polished complexity of the public-facing areas and the typically bland meeting areas, so it’s cool to see how much more interesting they can get when done with a little Google flavor. Let us know in the comments if you’d like to see more “behind the curtain” content like this and we’ll see what other velvet ropes we can get past in future!