2021 Design Awards: Commercial Office Design by Mark Cavagnero Associates and The Wiseman Group


OLD MEETS NEW in this striking office designed by Mark Cavagnero Associates and The Wiseman Group. Specifically, when a venerable San Francisco-based investment firm moved into the gleaming new Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, TWG founder Paul Wiseman and design director James Hunter conceived a modern workplace with historic references.

To create an opaque and transparent effect, the lower section of the stairs features double rows of wood slats and, toward the top, is reduced to single rows
to become more transparent. Photos by Matthew Millman.

An oak-and marble-clad reception area sets the tone for the office’s 32,000 square feet, spread across two stories. “We kept the palette pretty tight in terms of the materials,” says Hunter. “We wanted materials with a luxurious feel.” In TWG’s scheme, visitors—the project was completed just before the Covid-19 crisis—are greeted by Calacatta Oro that extends from the floor to the reception desk and an expansive bench. Oak slats appear overhead as well as on the nearby stairs.

TWG minimally furnished the sitting gallery with custom channeled leather benches, allowing the view and the art to shine. Photos by Matthew Millman.

The adjacent space is earmarked for enjoying the view (an antique telescope is positioned on the Golden Gate Bridge) and features a gallery with a collection of historical maps and views of the San Francisco and surrounding Bay Area that the firm has acquired over its history. The art resided in the firm’s previous office, which TWG also worked on, but in traditional gilded frames. With the collection’s move to the Salesforce Tower, Wiseman and Hunter reimagined its display.

The display, which includes framed lithographs and engravings between glass panels, was a collaboration with Sterling Art Services and West Edge Metals. Photos by Matthew Millman.

The works, now in custom bronze frames, are arranged between panels of glass that are set into the floor and ceiling, which Wiseman describes as “an extremely complicated process”—and a first for his team. By curating the treasured pieces in one place, the client was able to incorporate contemporary and often colorful art elsewhere in the office.

the community space includes seating along a counter comprised of a bronze base topped with durable Caesarstone, as well as a shuffleboard table. Photos by Matthew Millman.

In another first for TWG, all of the workstations include sit/stand desks. The project also features a gym, a wellness room, a quiet room (where decompressing and napping are encouraged), kitchens, a conference room (with vanishing doors that allow the venue to expand) and a community area for work or play (hence the shuffleboard table). No detail was overlooked, like the custom leather desk accessories. A tribute to the firm’s late founder is a holdover from the former office that “continues that line between past and future,” says Wiseman. – Anh-Minh Le

Photos by Matthew Millman.