A Tour of Oakley Headquarters: The Exterior


If you locked Willy Wonka, fiery General George S. Patton and architect Frank Lloyd Wright in a room filled with Red Bull, peyote buttons and a stack of Sharpies, they might emerge with a design looking something like Oakley Headquarters.

Mounted on a hilltop in Foothill Ranch, CA—about halfway between Southern California’s premier surf spot and its most popular mountain resort—the building looks like something out of a Michael Bay blockbuster: part alien spaceship, part military bunker, part spike strip.

Like many of Oakley’s spectacular designs, you have to see the building to believe it.

Driving Up
The first thing you notice is the tank. Not a water tank or a septic tank; an actual World War II era attack vehicle, complete with top-mounted cannon, chain drive, and “Oakley” emblazoned across the side. While it makes for a nice first impression to visitors, the Oakley tank isn’t just a showpiece. Over the years, we’ve used it to destroy everything from a sailboat to a Buick, each to the cheers of on-looking Oakley employees.

The Helipad
Yeah, a helipad. With a big O in the middle. Sometimes helicopters land there. Sometimes it’s just where we put the things we plan to run over with the tank.

If you continue up the hill a little further, you’ll find a small traffic circle built around an actual torpedo, and beyond that stands the completely unmistakable, virtually indescribable entryway to the parallel universe that is Oakley headquarters.

The Front Door
Search Google for “Oakley Headquarters” and take a look at some of the images that come up. Most of them show the main entry to 1 Icon—a bulbous, metallic sculpture that stands as a constant reminder of Oakley’s commitment to “deliver the unexpected.” It definitely looks like something transforming into something else, but beyond that the definition is strictly subjective.

RC Track
A few dozen yards to the right of Oakley’s main entrance sits an undulating mound of dirt lined with lengths of white plastic tubing. This is one of the newest additions to the 1 Icon campus—a track for radio-controlled cars. Given that one of Oakley’s neighbors is a well-respected manufacturer of the hobby vehicles, its not uncommon to see a handful of employees on the track, some trying to avoid collisions with other cars, others seeking out small-scale carnage. This is Oakley, after all.

Pump Track
One of the most popular attractions at Oakley headquarters is behind the building. A favorite among Oakley athletes and employees alike, the dirt “pump track” features a series of corners, bumps and curves that allow adventure cyclists to gain so much momentum that they don’t even have to pedal.

Tee Box
If you’ve been paying attention lately, you know that Oakley sponsors Rory McIlroy, winner of this year’s U.S. Open. Ian Poulter, Ricky Barnes and more than a few other pros wear the O on the golf course, too. Befitting a company so closely tied to the PGA, Oakley built a modified driving range out back. Take it from us: nothing shakes off the afternoon doldrums quite like crushing a tee shot with everything you’ve got.

Check out the November issue of O News to see what craziness and unexpected magic lies behind the exterior walls of 1 Icon.


Danny Evans


September 30, 2011