Next Monthly Sketch Outing

Saturday, June 16: Anderson School
See Monthly Outing page for details.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Amazon Adventures

1/30/18 One of three Amazon Spheres
1/30/18 View of the construction across the street
through a Sphere window.

Amazon has been in the news a lot lately. The company’s long-anticipated Spheres finally opened this week, and I have to say they look pretty cool. (I first sketched them two years ago when the glass was still going in, and then again a year later.) The triple-bubble, terrarium-like structure is a meeting place for Amazon employees, but what makes it distinctive is that it is filled with plants. This morning Greg and I visited the Understory, which is the Spheres’ visitors center and the only part open to the public. The Understory includes exhibits about the building and the types of plants in the upper levels. Video and photo projections show the bird-nest-like meeting rooms and gorgeous vegetation. It sure made us want to go upstairs!

After we got our fill of that, we walked down the street to Amazon Go, which has also been making national news. Billed as the “store of the future,” Amazon Go has no cashiers. You walk in and scan the app on your phone (which is connected to your Amazon account). The store sells snacks, ready-to-eat foods, meal kits and other convenience foods. You can take anything off the shelf that you want, and a million cameras on the ceiling are watching you. If you don’t put it back, the transaction is recorded as a purchase. A few minutes after you leave the store (“Just walk out!” the signs encourage you), a receipt shows up on your app. It does feel a bit like shoplifting, but since a friendly Amazon staff member urged me to step through the exit with my big orange bag of self-served snacks, I felt reassured.
The pattern in the ceiling
mimics the complex window structure
of the Spheres.

Creepy or cool? You decide. I guess I was more curious than paranoid, so I enjoyed the novelty. All I bought was a cookie and an exclusively branded Amazon Go chocolate bar made by local Theo Chocolate

Understory ceiling

Image of "bird nest" meeting room projected on the wall.

Plant projections

A model of the Spheres is behind us.

We're Amazon Go-ing!

Lots of convenience foods


Just doing my part to support the local economy.

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