Amazon's one-of-a-kind spherical addition to its downtown Seattle headquarters officially opened this week.
The Spheres are part of the e-commerce giant's $4 billion headquarters that's now where 40,000 employee work, and perhaps not coincidentally, 40,000 plants fill the space.
Ron Gagliardo, senior manager of horticultural services at Amazon and the person who oversaw the project's plants from seedling to full bloom, said there is nothing comparable to The Spheres in any conservatory anywhere in the United States.
John Schoettler, vice president of global real estate and facilities at Amazon (and one of 2017's Most Influential Seattleites), hasn't been shy comparing The Spheres to Seattle's iconic structures, putting it in the same sentence as the Space Needle, Smith Tower, and Pike Place Market, and talking about it as a modern iteration of London's Kew Garden's -- something he's had in mind since the project's very inception.
“I recall bringing Jeff to the Denny Triangle," Schoettler said at the grand opening event. "It was Halloween, 2011. We walked around and began to think big -- and boy, did we ever. Back then, the Denny Triangle was a collection of old hotels, surface parking lots, and in desperate need of a new mission. We wanted to create something really special, something iconic for our campus and for the city of Seattle. We wondered, what would London’s royal botanical Kew Gardens look like, if they were built today?”
For now, at least, The Spheres will not really be open to the public. The Understory, a separate-but-connected part of the structure, is now taking reservations, and will be open seven days a week.
John Sa, Amazon spokesman, said the company is "looking to create that opportunity in the future," but noted that The Spheres has a capacity of about 800 people, and that time is currently being booked by the 40,000 Amazon employees.
Seattle magazine photographer was there for the grand opening event, and captured the ins and outs of Seattle's latest greatest iconic structure.
See more at seattlemag.com.