Hidden in Plain Sight

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The new space for the Silicon Valley innovation center of a confidential client that focuses on web services has a central stair leading to a second floor slated for future use. No point in removing a stair that will be needed in the near future, but what to do with it in the meantime?

As an analogy, the collaborative work style and intensity of this client’s high-energy staff can be compared to a beehive. Intelligent mathematicians, honeybees create perfect hexagonal structures and work diligently with precision as if alums of the best schools of engineering. Since this client attracts some of the best talent in Silicon Valley to work on highly complex projects, IA adopted a beehive-inspired design theme that extends to elegantly cladding and obscuring the stair as a design feature.

Blackened steel laser-cut in a repetitive honeycomb pattern hides the stair and is LED backlit to change colors, controlled manually or by a timer.

Technology client lobby

Photography © Jasper Sanidad

Photography © Jasper Sanidad

Photography © Jasper Sanidad

Photography © Jasper Sanidad


Laser-cut steel in the same pattern enhances the reception desk; casual seating and reclaimed wood adds warmth to the area.

Photography © Jasper Sanidad


A transparent, oval conference room with retractable glass doors opens for flexibility to a larger space for events.

Photography © Jasper Sanidad

Photography © Jasper Sanidad


Hexagonal light fixtures carry the beehive theme through to the breakroom area. A geometric pattern is used for upholstery.

Photography © Jasper Sanidad


In the elevator lobby round mirrors at the ceiling evoke the geometrically repetitive, multi-facet eye of an insect.

Photography © Jasper Sanidad

The work area for staff is totally reconfigurable. The geometric pattern on the walls echoes the pattern used behind the reception area desk.

Photography © Jasper Sanidad

Photography © Jasper Sanidad

The beehive theme, seen across the design, is functional, inspiring, and fun to support and engage this client’s industrious and creative staff.




IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists .We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.




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Taking inspiration from nature, IA created space for this tech giant that was on brand and thought-provoking.

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