Specifically, this company made kinky porn, and an old armory/castle suited them perfectly. There were some protests from local residents who felt that the company would bring an unsavory character to the neighborhood (a neighborhood, I should point out, that's rife with drug dealing and other street crime), but the city government went ahead with their bid.
Recently, the kinky porn company started offering building tours. Porn isn't my thing (I'm more into the real thing than watching other people do it), but the promise of learning about the internal workings of the porn industry and getting to poke around a mysterious old building was too hard to resist.
We got to talk to several of the kink.com employees, and from what I could tell, they do a very good job of treating their employees well and trying to keep safety standards as high as possible.
Everything is regularly sterilized, and they have sanitation procedures reminiscent of the sort of thing you'd see in a hospital. This is especially amusing when you're in a room designed for acting out medical fantasies, and you realize that the line between pretend and real is not where you thought it was. :-) There were also rooms that were designed to look as dirty and degrading as possible, but in actuality were extremely clean and regularly power-washed.
The stockrooms were a sight to behold... long lines of every conceivable sexual toy neatly arrayed and organized on the wall.
Really, this is where Johnny Five, the robot from Short Circuit, ended up?
There are certain things here that are presented with a businesslike plainness because it *is* a business. Knowing how much weight you can suspend from the ceiling in the Gimp Room is a very serious and practical matter.
And yes, sexual lubricant does come in 35-gallon containers.
This is the only place you can see the Mission Creek, which apparently runs under our feet. It looked like something from Half-Life 2.
On the top floor, they had a 24-7 reality show going on involving a half-dozen women living as full-time submissives in a "mansion". We got to chat with them a bit about their work. It seems like a clever project -- the show is designed to be real-time and interactive in order to combat widespread piracy of porn.
Full photoset at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9055206@N0