Unless you’re an Olympic athlete (you aren’t), the company ping pong table is just one of those fairly sterile, standard office perks. Like a SodaStream or chalkboard. There’s no excitement. No danger. But Google’s Asia HQ stepped it all the way up and delivered a ping pong table that triples as part game board, part artistic installation, and part demented mulitasker’s fevered wet dream. Just look at this thing:
First spotted by SE Roundtable, this particular “Ping Pong Go Round” table was found in Singapore, at the Google Asia Pacific HQ. Maybe Google Asia thinks it’s good for office productivity? To have someone encircled, then targeted mercilessly by bouncing ping pong balls, forced to defend themselves with only one paddle?
In some cases, however, it actually looks like it’d be fun if you can grab a dozen (possibly drunk) people to fill up all the empty space:
The ‘Ping Pong Go Round’ is actually the invention of Singaporean installation artist, Lee Wen, who debuted the weirdo device mega-table in 1998. Wen explained the surprisingly lofty goals of the original installation, which don’t include torturing unproductive workers:
The game itself is like a dialogue between players on opposite sides. Would it be possible to change its shape to that like a conference table? By making it a doughnut round shape with no borders towards the left and right side, a different perception of the limitations of the preceding game gives new possibilities of a broader dialogue.
Obviously, ping pong in Asia is no joke. A noble goal, of course, but mostly it reminds me of: