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Spaces We Love: Intesa Communications’ Urban Tree House

By Star Hughes-Gorup

Intesa Communications Group’s west coast headquarters in San Diego is nothing short of creative, lofty, and inspiring. The PR, government relations, and digital firm occupies the Design Center on 5th Avenue, which was built in 1949 and designed by world-renowned mid-century architect, Lloyd Ruocco. Nestled into the trees in Hillcrest – and surrounded by some of the most popular restaurants in the city – this space feels like an urban tree house.

The space, located on the top floor of this historical, three-story building, boasts an incredible window line that spans three sides of the office! The nearly full-height glass encompassing the space lets in incredible natural light and views of the surrounding trees.

Intessa Communications' office in Hillcrest

The high, open ceilings with exposed ductwork and a myriad of fun, eclectic light fixtures add character, height, and texture to the space. Intesa elected to paint the ceilings black to create height and a sense of drama – but another option would be to paint the ceiling and ductwork white to brighten up the space. Of course, when you have three of the four sides of your office made of glass, a white ceiling is not totally necessary!


Intesa utilized glass storefront systems that allow for easy visibility and communication among team members while still creating privacy. The black iron storefront system is a classic look – it’s industrial, yet sleek and high-end. We are seeing more and more aluminum-clad storefront systems, but I still have a preference for black (which you might recognize from Hughes Marino’s offices!)


Dark luxury vinyl tile floors contrast with the bright white walls. For those who aren’t familiar, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) can be made to look like wood, but is even more durable with less upkeep required than hardwood. We’re seeing LVT floors become increasingly popular in office space today. It’s generally a few dollars per square foot more than carpet, but the expense is oftentimes worth it.

The dark floors, white walls, and black storefront systems combined with a few pops of color (think bright green sofa, blue accent wall, and colorful indoor plants) make the space a perfect mix of glamorous, industrial, funky, and professional.

We love your space, Intesa!

Star Hughes-Gorup is a senior vice president and director at Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate firm with offices across the nation. Star is a key member of Hughes Marino’s brokerage team, where she specializes in tenant representation and building purchases. Star also makes frequent media appearances to speak on business issues from a millennial perspective, and blogs about life as a woman in a male-dominated industry at starhughesgorup.com. Contact Star at 1-844-662-6635, or star@hughesmarino.com.

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