Optical Allusions


HOK Visual Communications


Nortel Networks

Project Vision

In Silicon Valley, Nortel Networks built a new home for their optical switching enterprise. The six-story facility would come to house office, laboratory, and research supporting the evolving use of light waves to transport data and knowledge, hence the theme, “light makes vision possible.” The experience of optical research is presented with references to the physics of light and color, as well as human sight and intellectual vision. The interior design of the facility supported the thematic with creative lighting design and material finishes that reinforced the attributes of light transmission: transparency, translucency, reflection, polarization, and diffusion. Additionally, each of the six floors was presented in a dominant wavelength color from the visible light spectrum, with higher wavelengths on higher floors. The primary color code of a floor drives the palette for graphics and quotes on that floor. Naming conventions for bookable conference rooms use names tied to that floor’s color (“haze” meeting room is on purple floor). Black, white, and gray are used for the graphics and signage that repeat on all six floors.

Project Details
This project represents a strong sense of corporate brand without the obvious use of logo. It communicates an attitude of purpose and culture while successfully integrating movement, placemaking, and destination.
Juror 1
Design Team

Craig Hein, Mark Askew, Hal Kantner, Diana Gonzalez, Angela Zwink

Design Firm

HOK Visual Communications


Vision 20/20