Yves Béhar’s San Francisco Bay Area

The product designer is one of Time magazine’s Top 25 Visionaries, while his company Fuseproject created One Laptop per Child’s latest tablet for the developing world

Image: David Ash

During the week I live a New York rhythm – lots of work, lots of going out and lots of events in the evenings. I visit my office there regularly, but I always try to be back in San Francisco for weekends, where life is more laid-back.

On Saturday morning I’ll go to a Bhakti Flow yoga class at Urban Flow, run by my friend Rusty Wells. He’s a great inspiration. Then I’ll meet my partner Sabrina and the kids for brunch. There’s a tremendous food culture in the city, and many people – Sabrina and I included – are really into sustainable, locally sourced produce. A current favourite haunt is Farm:Table in Lower Nob Hill. It’s a 280sq ft restaurant run by a husband-and-wife team that has literally just one table and serves breakfast and lunch to the locals.

There are an incredible number of national parks and protected beaches in the Bay Area, and we spend a lot of time exploring them with our son, Sky, who’s five, and our daughter, Sylver, who is nearly two. Often we’ll drive to Mount Tamalpais State Park, stopping for a burger at the Marin Sun Farms Butcher Shop, where all the meat is organic, or at the Pelican Inn for an authentic “English pub” experience. It’s a romantic spot near the ocean and Muir Woods. On the way home, we’ll take a detour via the hot springs. We like them wild; just natural waters, with no tourist infrastructure.

Sabrina used to be a director at Matthew Marks Gallery and is now an art advisor, and I’m on the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, so if there’s a private view on a Saturday evening we’ll always try to go along. I particularly rate Ratio 3 and the Silverman Gallery. Afterwards, we head to the Heirloom Café for dinner. The roast duck with farro is its signature dish, and a favourite.


On Sundays, when possible, I will indulge my passion for board sports. I have been a keen windsurfer for 30 years; I got into surfing seven years ago, and kiting about four years ago. I have 11 surfboards, not to mention tons of kites and sails. The best place to buy boards is Mollusk, and I get other sports gear at Proof Lab. I’ll often head off for an afternoon surfing session at Point Reyes with friends. I’ve taken designer Arik Levy with me in the past, and he loved it. Afterwards, we’ll have dinner at Stellina accompanied by a bottle of Sean Thackrey’s wine. Thackrey is a biodynamic winemaker – one of the rare few in West Marin – and has received top ratings from Robert Parker.

If it’s windy, I’ll go windsurfing at Crissy Field. It’s one of my favourite spots in the city, and just five minutes from our apartment in Pacific Heights. We are about to move into a house, which I’m renovating, so I’m also spending a lot of time at weekends drawing up plans.

At some point on either Saturday or Sunday, I’ll try to visit my friend Jim Bowman, a woodworker who assisted the late Art Carpenter in the 1970s. Carpenter was a self-taught furniture-maker whose exquisite pieces have influenced generations. Jim and I are working on a personal project, a collection of experimental pieces that are all hand-drawn and made in local woods. This low-tech approach is not one I often take, and I’m really enjoying it.

Over the years I have worked with many of the high-tech companies here in the Bay Area, but I don’t have lots of gadgets at home. I try to simplify the technology around me, so we have no landline, cable or live TV. On Sunday night Sabrina and I will curl up in front of a film; I like watching the classics. I’ll source them using Fanhattan on my iPad. It’s a great app that trawls all the movie and TV platforms for you. Then it’s off to bed for a good night’s sleep before the week begins again.


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