Informal Spaces

Behind-the-Scenes of Silicon Valley’s Sets

Steelcase, turnstone and Coalesse provided Silicon Valley with an ecosystem of spaces for the characters who would be working there.

Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley, the show about a startup technology company trying to make it big, is now in its fourth season. Some of the series’ main characters are getting the chance to try out a new workspace. It’s an important piece of this season’s storyline and set decorator Daivd Cook was determined to get it right.

After researching workplaces around the globe including in the real Silicon Valley, set decorator David Cook says, “We wanted the set to look polished and new, clean and modern. We didn’t want it to feel typical. It had to reflect the characters — strong, but also approachable.”

As David looked for the perfect fit, he came across Elective Elements from Steelcase. The modular collection with natural wood finishes seemed like it could offer the variety he needed along with a more residential look and feel. He called Steelcase designers and a mad dash began to meet the show’s fast approaching deadline for filming the new spaces.

Steelcase, turnstone and Coalesse worked together to provide Silicon Valley with an ecosystem of spaces designed specifically for the characters who would be working there; Laurie, Monica and Erlich. Three people who needed personalized workplaces based on their roles and their personalities. To see how designs went from concept to camera, we invite you to scroll through the photo galleries.

Monica's Office

The workplace designed for Monica reflects her personality as a sharp businesswoman who is also warm and earthy. Open shelving showcases the exposed brick. The leg-based center credenza and bookcases create a more residential feel. The mixing of materials such as the dark bronze metal shelves and the wood grain adds to a casual, sophisticated vibe.

Monica's Office

The Steelcase designer who worked on this project is also an avid watcher of Silicon Valley. She purposefully created unique spaces that felt like a home-away-from-home. The wide variety within the Elective Elements collection allowed Steelcase to provide the set decorator with a number of standard options for the space including different finishes. Silicon Valley chose graphite walnut which was also the Steelcase designer’s top choice for Monica.

Monica's Office

The concept for Monica’s office ended up looking very much like the real thing. In order to better display Monica’s books and materials to the camera, the bookcase within the desk faces outward. Elective Elements’ flexibility makes this possible. Monica also received Gesture with Headrest -- a chair designed to support her entire body throughout the workday.

Monica's Office

Designers considered 10 to 16 different Elective Elements desk configurations before landing on the final choice for Monica. This is a look at a few of the options that were in the running. By choosing a desk with an open leg, it adds to a lighter, more residential feel within the space.

Laurie's Office

The show’s set decorator requested a clean and calm space for it’s main venture capitalist, Laurie. The designer chose furniture with consistent horizontal lines and a variety of heights reminiscent of nature.

Laurie's Office

A workplace should express the personality of the person who works there. Instead of choosing a heavier, stately desk with wood going all the way to the floor, designers suggested a lighter leg and a layering of depths. These decisions help personalize the space for Laurie.

Laurie's Office

The concept for Laurie’s office included an ecosystem of spaces to accommodate different types of work throughout her day. The main desk, a lounge area, and a lighter marble table for team meetings allow Laurie to choose where she can get her best work done depending on the task at hand. The set decorator ended up replicating much of the concept including the white vases seen in the bookcase behind the desk.

Laurie's Office

The breadth of options within the Elective Elements collection allowed designers to consider of number of back wall bookcase options for Laurie’s office. In the end, they chose to use a closed door with an inset pull for the centerpiece to create more sleek lines in the workplace.

Erlich's Office

Erlich’s eccentric, disheveled personality and style are reflected in his space. While he has some professional, high-performing pieces within his office, he also has lots of open shelving to showcase the organized chaos with which he prefers to surround himself.

Erlich's Office

The concept for Erlich’s office ended up being very similar to what appears on camera with a few added knick-knacks. Viewers familiar with Erlich’s character can easily imagine his desire to work and relax in the lounge posture provided by the Hosu.

Erlich's Office

This rendering provides a glimpse into what set decorator’s ordered for Erlich’s space. The lamp provided by Blue Dot appears on set, but on set the cord is hanging out to create the appearance of an even messier workplace.

The Bullpen

In addition to Laurie, Monica and Erlich’s offices, Steelcase, turnstone and Coalesse helped create the “Bullpen” area. This is where work is done in a more open setting.

The Bullpen

With modern lines, modular capabilities and built-in power, turnstone's Bivi table grows as the Silicon Valley staff grows, making it the perfect fit for everything from a startup organization to a venture capitalist group.

The Bullpen

Protreo415 from Coalesse is the centerpiece of Bream Hall’s large team meeting space. The table, aptly named after a San Francisco neighborhood and area code, includes discreet technology and power options for long work sessions or short bursts of creative energy.

The Bullpen

Using wood throughout Bream Hall creates a cohesive look throughout the set.

Silicon Valley airs at 10pm ET on HBO. You can read more from set decorator, David Cook, on his vision for the space and how important place is for his characters in Q&A: Steelcase Partners with HBO’s Silicon Valley.

Featured Topic: Informal Spaces

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