HGA San Francisco

Designing A Space For Our Toughest Client

When HGA’s San Francisco office decided to relocate, we turned to our own teams to get the job done. From the onset, care was taken to avoid certain pitfalls of designing one’s own space such as, overthinking decisions and concepts, or making inferences about how individuals work. Taking an inclusive approach during the programming interviews and visioning sessions ensured that each department and staff function at all levels were represented.

HGA San Francisco interior lobby 1

Having fun with the space and incorporating tongue in cheek elements ended up being a highlight of the process and something we still enjoy. Examples of these architectural methods are: forced perspective by installing two eighty-five-foot long light pendants along the hallway or covering certain walls with what appears to be board-formed concrete but is tile. We also applied reclaimed wood lath over sound absorbing panels as a design feature in the conference rooms.

HGA San Francisco interior lobby

We were intentional in identifying and defining how work fluidity happens throughout the space. Themes that we identified as important to us were authenticity, collaboration, innovation, workshop, and storytelling that helped hone the design. At the forefront is an entire walkway lined with a tackable panels and rolling glass walls to accommodate large group working sessions, client gallery events, and customary critique gatherings. Further in the space are both mobile and stationary units to house writeable and tackable boards that teams or individuals can move from desk, to open area, or to a conference room.

HGA San Francisco interior 2

Overall we chose to focus on the subtle details that designers are conditioned to acknowledge where the layman might not. The HVAC units and mechanical was redesigned for a more pleasing ceiling aesthetic with clean lines. The units were moved away from above the open work area, to an enclosed space above the walkway, before restoring the ceiling with new paint and plaster. As homage to the furniture company that occupied the building for many years, we equipped the meeting rooms with oversized dome light fixtures with ornate plasterwork figures on the underside of the lamps.

HGA San Francisco interior kitchen

Time was a major factor, but we were able to anticipate and prioritize our needs. Designing a space for architects and designers was difficult, but handling this as if it were any other project was helpful in the process. This office is a showroom for our own work and has been well received by employees, clients, and guests.


San Francisco, CA

Building Type



15,000 SF

  • 2019 Honorable Mention Livable Buildings Awards by UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment

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