Facebook Aesthetic Pre-History
Facebook's interest in the vintage is relatively recent. When I began working at Facebook in 2005 the physical aesthetic of the company was as yet undesigned (at least by anyone whose primary job at the company was physical design) and consisted largely of furniture culled from the Design Within Reach store across the street in Palo Alto. But since it was 2005, the furniture was less mid-century modern and more along the lines of a nameless futurism: gray, modular, somewhat uncomfortable couches strewn with blankets made out of inorganic materials (the Berkeley trend of superorganic fabrics was not happening in Palo Alto, which preferred synthetics).
The main feature of the office at this time was the screen, and lots of them. The more screens the better. One's status at the company was delineated, in fact, by the size of one's screen and how many one had on one's desk. Entry-level employees had 25" monitors while engineers had 32 or 36" monitors. Some engineers had more than one extra monitor on their desk. Some people flipped their monitors vertically resulting in a cascade of code flowing down the screen. By 2007 monitors had been added to every wall of the office that had space to fit a monitor. We were always monitoring something. This aesthetic, ironically, is the closest Facebook ever got to the aesthetic of "Hackers", which is one of Mark's favorite movies.
The Orange Aesthetic
2007 was also the year of F8, the Facebook Platform launch, and the aesthetic of that conference was the defining one for Facebook and tech for several years after. I call it the Orange aesthetic: it seemed to rely on the presumption that orange and red and other bright colors were the colors of TECH and the NEW. You knew you were at a tech event because there would be orange, and yellow, and always and only a sickly day-glo green. No organic colors were allowed during this period in tech aesthetics.