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Yves Béhar: The Designer as Entrepreneur

Béhar helps startups—and legacy brands—grow

Photograph by Roger Deckker for Bloomberg Businessweek

In the middle of a former factory he’s bought and is renovating for Fuseproject, his 60-person design firm, Yves Béhar has commissioned a plywood mountain. Roughly pyramidal, it has bleachers on one side (for presentations, impromptu meetings, naps) and is sheer on two others; the fourth slope merges with a side wall. It rises through a forest of unvarnished wooden trusses to an elevation of about 23 feet and culminates in a skylight, which will eventually function as an escape hatch, allowing a person to stand at the summit, feet inside, head and body out, looking over San Francisco’s China Basin as if on a surfaced submarine. “You can have a little respite,” Béhar says, gesturing up. “Physically and metaphorically, you’ll be above the activity of the office—above it all.”