The new office building houses three floors of workspace for the Cubs front-office management and baseball operations. This much-needed addition to Wrigleyville updated the Cubs window-less offices and greatly improved the workplace for current and future employees of the franchise. The office coincided with the re-emergence of the Cubs brand and the 2016 World Series win. This energy was infused into their new space with iconic notes fit only for Wrigley. Brick and traditional ivy wall accents surround employees as they navigate Cubs lore, a branded café, and activity room. Hints of the outfield are transitioned inside with a stadium-inspired lighting feature that shines above an atrium stair where black iron framing and reclaimed wood elements dominate. When the project commenced, multiple stakeholders and user groups were identified, each with a different workstyle and programmatic space need. To address the needs of this diverse and growing workforce, the designers planned for flexibility and grouped neighborhoods by function. Shared offices surround open floor plates, executive suites, and a hospitality event space, just a ‘pitch’ away from Wrigley Field. The engaging event space was placed on the top floor adjacent to an outdoor terrace and is used for parties and game day celebrations throughout the season. On off-days or away games, it serves as an interactive workplace setting. The new office provides spaces for varied work styles and opportunities to collaborate in inspirational, thought-provoking settings. With 100% height-adjustable desking and television views from every angle, employees will never miss a game. An oversized, horseshoe-shaped sofa and ottoman allows staff to view games on six large television screens during the height of baseball season. Multiple lounge settings on each floor provide more of a living room feel than an office environment. The introduction of hospitality and residential design into a workplace setting provides the accommodations to support the idea that everyone works differently. With a space that infuses work and play, the attraction and retention goals of the Cubs are an easy home run. In addition to these improvements, sustainability was kept at the forefront. Daylighting and views for a healthier workplace, biophilic accents such as wood and ivy, repurposed materials, and occupancy sensors throughout are just a few of the more visible eco-friendly aspects. Features like reduced-flow plumbing, low-VOC paints and adhesives, and recycled content are the more behind-the-scenes happenings that contribute points towards the pursuance of LEED-CI certification.
A Washington DC-based executive who weekends in Chicago tasked us with renovating her industrial loft-style apartment. As a balance to her modernist corporate office, we softened the edges of her glass and concrete apartment with natural and textured materials, sculptural furnishings, and a calming color palette. A sense of both spaciousness and order is created through custom millwork, including a panelized wall storage system and floating rift white oak shelving. The resulting play of influences is embodied in the floral painting that hangs in the living space—a pleasing austerity and repose, with a strong feminine quality.
MC Machinery Systems, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi, landed its new 175,000 SF headquarters and technology center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. One of the last greenfield parcels in Elk Grove Village’s premiere business park Northwest point, the project site sat untouched and on the market for a considerable amount of time. The architect was able to creatively position MC’s requirements around a protected waterway. Combining office, showroom, research & development, warehouse and distribution, MC Machinery is a world class customer center highly visible from I-90. The interior layout and design is a direct reflection of the functional operation, reflecting the customer experience. Dubbed the Golden Corridor, I-90 is home to many international EDM Laser equipment suppliers who compete with MC Machinery. Since completion, the MC Machinery building has attracted clients in route to other competitors which has already led to documented diverted sales.
A high-profile corner lot presented the opportunity to create a striking entry. Corner glass and a grandiose black metal cantilevered canopy support a refined and classy greeting as visitors step inside. The corner location also proved challenging, however, as usable space became limited after setbacks and parking needs were accounted for, and fire safety requirements restricted where to build. The highly efficient space planning practices resulted in double the treatment rooms of River Walk Family Dental's former office, in a space only slightly larger in square footage. Differing aesthetic tastes between the two doctors, as well as city design guidelines, lead to the design team's clever juxtaposition of otherwise opposing themes. Modern elements are cunningly incorporated into the traditional design through color, detail, and materials. On the exterior, black shingles and white fiber cement siding are accented with black metal windows lending to a modern feel. Natural stone adds warmth and connects the building to its contextual history. Intersecting masses are cloaked in traditional residential materials, yet dramatically defined with geometric shifts in direction and detail. Harking back to the town's farming and agricultural history, the simple forms rejuvenate an architectural style accustomed to by local residents, seamlessly connecting the time honored architectural tradition to the present. Contemporary and traditional aesthetics are unified in the interior by mixing a light, neutral color palette with boldly dark accents. Black light fixtures and trim, and a walnut-stained sculptural staircase centerpiece are energetic and eye-catching against their calm surroundings. Patients enter at ease, feeling an air of class and luxury, and leave feeling positive and comfortable about their visit.
The interior design concept has the feeling of bringing the outside to the inside. The challenge was to create a space has to support the process of teams while allowing a constant change in team sizes. The proposal is a reconfiguration of work areas with mobile desking depending on the occasion. The bi-fold doors that allow the offices to be more private or public depending on the user's needs. For evening expositions, the bi-fold doors are fully open creating a free-flowing space. In addition to the dedicated team spaces, each corner has an amenity to encourage employees to frequent all the spaces. This turns the office into a collaborative brainstorming session for more efficient results.
Code 42 is a global leader in security software who believes that a better workplace leads to an improved product and therefore a better customer experience. Their new office in Minnesota’s technology hub offers a variety of collaborative spaces and destinations designed for bringing people together and improving communication, including a town hall space for company-wide gatherings and a monumental stair connecting all three floors. Amenities include a “genius bar” for walk-up IT support and a central pantry equipped with snacks and beverages, including a nitro cold brew on tap. Everything is designed to keep the Code42 team feeling happy, focused, and energized, with the end goal of creating the best possible experience for Code42 users.
With a 1,600 square foot space formerly known as a flower shop, the main challenges we faced were the locations and size of concrete structure in relationship to the natural restaurant flow. Additionally, the client had a very clear vision of a space that felt modern and minimalistic while projecting a warm and inviting atmosphere that would accommodate an extensive collection of greenery. In an effort to maintain the organic flow of the space we decided to embrace the large concrete column located in the center of the front dining space. We designed a 13-foot long communal table with a blackened steel supporting structure and natural oak wood top. This structure wraps around the existing large column and provides a “ceiling” frame where a varied collection of hanging planters reside. We also incorporated a suspended shelf along the south window to accommodate greenery above the dining rail. In order to give the space the minimalistic yet warm atmosphere we decided to maintain all of the exiting exposed concrete structures (ceiling, columns and floor) but added rich wood textures throughout. Some of the main elements are the scalloped shingle die wall at the order counter resembling fish scales, and the slat wood ceiling at the order counter and back dining space. Tables, chairs and banquettes also incorporate wood elements to tie into the bigger design components. Lastly, lighting played a very important role in this design with the utilization of plant maintenance lights throughout the space.
Top restaurateurs and dining influencers Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas envisioned Michelin-star awarded Roister, their newest restaurant in the Fulton Market District of Chicago, as a literal interpretation of the word. Roister, defined by Merriam-Webster as “to engage in noisy revelry”, would be a casual take on fine dining, built upon the question of what it would be like for guests to “dine in the kitchen” with the chefs, showcasing center stage the process of raw to refined. The resulting experience is one where guests are effortlessly welcomed to become part the chef’s creative environment, watching the hands at work, and feeling the heat of an open wood fire grill giving way to the heart of flavorful, hip and creative, New American food and drink. Roister consists of two dining areas – a more raw main level and a refined lower level. Throughout, the many varied textures, finishes, and custom wall and ceiling elements speak to the relationship between raw and refined. The centrally located and completely open kitchen area on the main level features a large suspended blackened metal soffit which surrounds the large wood burning hearth. Custom blackened metal chandeliers, inspired by medieval armor skirting, hang over the large butcher block pass, which highlights the chefs center stage as a focal point for guests. On the first floor, blackened and polished wood beams span the walls and ceilings to create an energetic connectivity. The beams, featuring cantilevered shelves and embedded copper, lead to custom square copper sconces inlaid at their end points. A painting by Chicago-based artist hangs prominently in the front of the room, drawing guests in through floor-to-ceiling accordion foiling glass doors. The lower dining area –the more refined of the two spaces– includes a custom ceiling panel installation prominently spanning the breath of the room. The custom fabricated panels, when assembled create a continuous wave design that leads you through the space and changes in its appearance as viewed from varied settings. Each panel was custom fabricated and installed by the design/fabrication company and feature a pattern of coppered finished milled holes, which creates the transformative visual effect. The back end of the downstairs was designed to transform from a prep kitchen during the day to dining area at night. Counter sight lines flow directly through one main line. In the end, Roister provides its patrons with the opportunity to get closer than ever to the process, watching the chef’s move freely in their own space, with them at the heart of the creation process.
Seyfarth Shaw has long been recognized for its progressive approach to the business of law, and for grounding that approach in the design of their work environments. The design Firm has partnered with Seyfarth at multiple points along this evolutionary journey. The next step on that path was the relocation of their Chicago office to high rise floors in the iconic Willis Tower – scheduled for occupancy in early 2016. The project's primary objective was to highlight and demonstrate Seyfarth's commitment to innovation – in legal practice, service delivery and workplace design. Through a deep dive workplace strategy process, we discovered three key project planning drivers: Enable focused workflow. Create private spaces for attorneys with smart adjacencies to support lawyers in the act of lawyering. Engage strong social and knowledge networks. Encourage greater integration between attorneys, staff and practice areas by distributing meeting and learning spaces throughout the office stack, thus leveraging individual choice for anywhere, anytime productivity. Enthrall staff with what makes Seyfarth unique. Connect staff to the value their work brings to clients through simple – but enigmatic – technologically advanced environments that create smart systems, services and interactions.
A new workplace environment for the Asset Management arm of Northern Trust was designed as a sophisticated and timeless client-facing space, that maximizes efficiency and improves access to information. The efficient layout consolidated the Asset Management team from a floor and a half down to one floor. The space is arranged into neighborhoods that foster staff connections based on areas of expertise. Service hubs are central to each of the neighborhoods and provide easy access to project rooms, Bloomberg stations and printing. The space was planned with calculated collaboration in mind. The highly confidential nature of this team meant that all collaboration had to happen behind closed doors. The design team arranged a variety of teaming space around the core and enclosed them all in floor to ceiling glass walls to ensure privacy but also enable visibility. The space features unique spaces that solve for Asset Management’s functional needs like a Research Library, a room dedicated to rehearsing client pitches and a business lounge. Upon exiting the elevators, clients are greeted by a backlit fumed eucalyptus wood portal leading to a Danube honed marble reception desk where a concierge greets them and leads them to their designated meeting room. The neutral and timeless palette throughout the space helps reinforce the Northern Trust brand of exceptional service, unparalleled expertise and enduring integrity.
The Climate Corporation, an agriculture tech company, was in the market for an open office that would be able to bring in industrial qualities without sacrificing acoustics, an environment by which it would attract talent from the competitive tech market, space to grow as a company and incorporate a large workshop/lab to test drive and build prototypes for their business. All of which they were lacking at their current location. Finding the right building to bring solutions to these problems was key. After selecting their new home in the West Loop, the team was able to provide headcount to grow for the next 5 years, incorporate a nearly 2,000 s/f lab facility and tailor to the eclectic look that gives Climate Corporation a sense of pride in their branded environment. The lab is the beating heart of their organization used to test technology and build prototypes. With the scale of the lab and the amount of noisy equipment inside, containing and absorbing sound was of utmost concern. Increased mass of the labs partitions, raised flooring system, sound batting atop a high CAC acoustical ceiling tile all help contain and absorb sound within the lab and decreases disruption to neighbors adjacent, above and below. Other areas contain dropped ceiling in conferences rooms, felt walls and ceilings, baffles, laminated glass and custom printed acoustical panels to help tackle the sound concerns of an open office without compromising on the aesthetic. Incorporating their vintage tractor, custom built silo conference rooms, reclaimed wood and custom graphics helped bring in character and provide an eclectic look to set them apart while paying tribute to their farmers and their field. The space visually represents the important technology the company offers to customer with features such as mission statement in binary code. A custom three dimensional art piece to represent an aerial view of crop fields is present as you enter off the elevator lobby. The new Chicago location offers space for 40 employees, but will allow the company to more than double its staff size in the next three to five years.
Leaving behind their legacy home of over 30 years, Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann, a New Orleans law firm, wanted to preserve a sense of history in their new space while promoting their forward-thinking approach to client service. The design team collaborated with executives to create a design plan that would incorporate both timelessness and innovation. To pay subtle homage to their previous, more traditional space, the design team incorporated special trim in the corridors and black-and-white art of old New Orleans throughout the space. Along with a conference center and outdoor terraces for collaboration and socializing, the team created an interview room dubbed, “The Pig Parlor,” after one of the firm’s founding partners. The casual, light-hearted room is unique and includes a life-size pig-shaped table. The completed space embodies Stone Pigman’s objectives and is greatly enjoyed by staff.
Walsh College in Troy, Michigan, provides advanced business education to professionals. The majority of Walsh students work full-time in the business community and attend classes in the evening. Outdated buildings and spaces left faculty, staff, and students with insufficient, poorly performing spaces for Walsh’s contemporary needs and mission. Completing the implementation of a master plan redevelopment, which began in 2008, the most recent phase includes a major addition along Livernois Road and significant renovation of existing spaces. Walsh, like most business schools, uses project-based learning relying on the case study method. The new architecture connects students, faculty, and staff with an expanded inventory of different types of rooms and collaborative spaces, similar to the work environments of the most progressive companies, helping to encourage innovative thinking and collaboration. The Livernois Road addition consists of three distinct pavilions, each denoting its interior program: a “one-stop shop” for student services, a student lounge, and a “success center” dedicated to cultivating students’ professional communication skills. The public-facing walls of the new buildings of the master plan incorporate metal paneling and, in the case of the Livernois Road addition, Vetter stone. These walls angle inward to frame large curtain wall windows, allowing community members passing by on Livernois Road to see the activity within. This is especially true at night, when the building is lit up like a series of glass lanterns and the college is the most alive with student activity.
In renovating the historic location of Goose Island's first brewery and tap room, the primary challenge was to bring Goose into the future while honoring its legacy as both a Chicago institution and a pioneer in American craft brewing. In the wake of their international rollout with AB InBev, all eyes were on Goose Island, with an unspoken pressure to preserve the unique history and iconic significance of Chicago’s beloved brand while renewing and elevating its status in the public eye. Part of this challenge involved envisioning a concept that would connect the people who visit Goose Island to the product and process of craft brewing. Community has always been at the heart of the Goose Island experience, bringing people together to discuss, discover and enjoy craft beer for 30 years. It was necessary that any redesigns remain true to that spirit engaging guests through both aesthetic and experiential enhancements. Another unique challenge was bringing all the stakeholders together to collaborate on this project. It was crucial that the vision for Goose Island's future satisfied the needs and desires of all of its partners, from Goose Island and AB InBev, to the architectural firm and general contractor. To unite future with past, we made sure to retain some of the brewery’s historical elements while completely re-envisioning the space. For example, we reconditioned the iconic 30-year-old "Brewpub" sign back to its full glory. The new look perfectly balances the rawness of Goose Island's urban, gritty and traditional roots with a refined aesthetic signifying its evolution as a brand. The past and future of Goose Island are further reflected in two new bars designed to highlight the brand's versatility. The clean and modern Main Taproom bar showcases a brushed-aluminum 28-tap tower and pipes that run along the ceiling to the brewery, while the Vintage Ale Bar boasts a traditional aesthetic and offers a selection of specialty brews. To attain our goal of connecting people, product and process, we opened up the space to create a sense of transparency. Brewing facilities previously seen through a window are now visible behind full-height glass walls. Brewery and tasting tours highlight the craft brewing process, giving guests the chance to engage first-hand with Brewmasters. In fact, the entire space is designed to inspire conversation about beer—with a newly revamped, curated menu and beer pairings offering more reasons to linger. The design company rose to the final challenge of encouraging collaboration by taking the role as owner’s representative. He became the glue that bonded a multi-layered team of partners, integrating each party's voices into a cohesive and successful concept.
Rarely can an organization say their building is the first of its kind. The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, is an example of a facility that redefines the term “innovation" — it was designed to make a transformative difference in the way science and care coexist. The client's vision was to reshape the future of rehabilitation and transform the way discoveries are applied to advance human ability. The design is a reflection of that vision both inside and out. The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is the number one destination for adults and children with the most severe, complex conditions — from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries to stroke, cancer, and amputation. The 1.2 million SF facility is the first-ever “translational" research hospital where clinicians, scientists, innovators and technologists work together in shared, flexible spaces, surrounding patients, discovering new approaches and applying (or “translating") research in real time. Concepts integral to translational health drove planning and design. Here, research doesn't just coexist with patient care — it's integrated full-time into the clinical environment, engaging patients in the process. Each of the five ability labs, applied research and therapeutic spaces, provide for both active and visible “front stage" patient work with clinicians and researchers. Then, each lab has a private, heads-down “back stage" space for analysis and planning. Likewise, technology is embedded throughout. Clinicians and researchers measure every aspect of patients' activities to mine data that will improve outcomes faster and enable researchers to learn and share new insights in real-time. The design complements this approach: every inch of the building is designed for healthcare and every inch is designed for research. ABILITY LABS The ability labs combine research and clinical care in a shared space to shorten the feedback loop between clinicians, patients, and researchers — driving innovation of new solutions to maximize human ability. Each ability lab addresses different medical conditions and assists patients with very different challenges. The five lab types are 'Think + Speak', 'Legs + Walking', Arms + Hands', 'Strength + Endurance', and 'Pediatrics.' The design challenge was to identify and elaborate those stories working closely with the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab's team, and from there to extrapolate into the physical sphere. The design team prioritized ideas capable of supporting a culture of hope, optimism and achievement, and took these principles into the custom design of workplace, interior architecture, furniture, graphics, and therapy equipment to fully realize the hospital's unique vision. PATIENT USER EXPERIENCE The Patient User Experience has multiple touch points and extends along the entire patient journey — from entering the facility to arriving at patient rooms. This experience is manifested through the design in many ways, from the extra wide corridors curved at every corner for better sight lines and mobility to optimized spaces that communicate wellness. For instance, many patients enter the facility lying on their backs. Therefore, an early decision was made to prioritize the design of ceilings to connect with those patients In addition, motivational interior graphics and wayfinding support the mission of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Access to natural light is maximized. Extensive landscaping and green space throughout the upper spaces afford access to gardens for patients and visitors. East and west corridors are punctuated by vistas to give patients and visitors a break from the rigorous therapy and offer dramatic views of Chicago and Lake Michigan.
Problem: Create a Dynamic, 21st Century School in a Small Community Where Daylight is Scare During Much of the School Year Designed with current best practices of flexibility and collaboration in mind, this forward-thinking elementary school addresses overcrowding in the district while creating a bright, light-filled learning space for students who experience very little daylight during most of the school year. In addition to maximizing daylight, functionality and community were at the forefront of design. The area around the school is growing, thus Dena’ina is designed as both a school and community center. Spaces are multifunctional, and the school provides after-hours use of select areas while integrating programming with the new middle/high school to bring the community together around its children. To create a strong sense of place and local identity, colorful hanging sculptures and paintings were commissioned from local artists to build cultural pride, and color-changing lighting in the commons area maintains light after the sun goes down. The interior design decisions capture the scarce daylight during the long winters, while creating a sense of community and providing multi-functional spaces in this remote, but steadily growing, part of southern Alaska. Problem: Create a Sustainable Building that Responds to the Unique Climate and Landscape of Southern Alaska The team also followed environmental considerations to create a sustainable facility that responds to the natural landscape. All classrooms face south, providing maximum daylight where students spend the bulk of their time. Spaces shared by the school and community, such as the stage and gym, are located on the north side of the corridor where there are fewer openings to limit climate and wind exposure. Part of the building was constructed underground, significantly decreasing operating costs. Additionally, Alaska is an active seismic zone with a high earthquake hazard rating by the U.S. Geological Survey. The abundant bracing required became a design element: it is visible from the commons and gymnasium, and is the impetus for the design pattern of the interior windows into the classrooms which include lateral bracing behind the solid portion of the walls. This efficiency in planning allowed the creation of additional spaces such as windows, display areas and storage zones in the voids of the structure.
On the surface, Chicago appears a sleekly tailored city, living on a smartly organized grid and compartmentalized into units. Upon exploration, the city reveals a diverse mix of destinations, weaving unexpected delight within the city’s tapestry, richly influenced by its vibrant theatre scene. This juxtaposition served as the concept for the new Cambria Hotel & Suites Chicago Loop – Theatre District above the historic Oriental Theatre. The team was charged with creating an experience that seamlessly guides and transports the guest from the busy streetscape of Downtown Chicago to Cambria’s signature Welcome Lobby on the 9th floor of the building and into the well-appointed guestrooms. As the guest walks through the newly added floor-to-ceiling glass entry, they experience a branded graphic wallcovering that doubles as an artful welcome to the property. Custom-designed by the interior design team, the motif of the wallcovering is based on the “Chicago’s Tapestry” design concept, repeated in different configurations throughout the public and private spaces of the hotel. Superimposed over monochromatic renditions of the lushly-detailed Oriental Theatre, the mapped grid of the city provides an abstract order and contextualizes the hotel’s location within the city. Branded with the recognizable Cambria Hotel and Suites logo, this wallcovering is scaled to be clearly visible from the street to welcome hotel guests, restaurant and bar patrons alike. As an historic renovation project of a 1926 building, the design team worked with the Architect of Record in addition to the General Contractor to salvage as many historic details as possible, including the original brass elevator doors prominently featured in the Elevator Lobby. This historical nod, paired with relaxed seating vignettes, create resting points for travelers and demark the entry to the hotel’s atmosphere. Once the guest arrives at the 9th floor landing, a challenge presented itself: what environmental cues guide them to the main Welcome Lobby, as well as the hotel’s Bar and Restaurant? To solve this quandary the firm designed an entry portal featuring an angled wood slat wall with a seating vignette, creating a subliminal arrow for the guest without relying on obtrusive signage. At the capstone, an art piece consisting of “Instagram moments” promotes the exploration of Chicago. From the deep-dish pizza scene, to images of Millennium Park and “The Bean,” neon signs and fish eye architectural shots round out the art package. However, to stay current with the ever-changing trends of Chicago, the piece was designed modularly to be easily updatable by the hotel staff. At this moment, the lobby opens and the guest is surrounded by the warm and inviting atmosphere to reflect Cambria’s moniker “Where everybody is somebody.” To connect back to the first floor, an engraved backlit art piece frames the welcome desk, playing with the juxtaposition of theater imagery and the grid of Chicago. The Welcome Lobby features multiple zones where guests and bar/restaurant patrons alike can plug-in and relax. The seating was designed to be fluid with flexible furniture arrangements accommodating solo computer work, a large social gathering or a quick rest during check-in/check-out. To create this warm & inviting atmosphere, material selections were based on brand standards, but varied to reflect the location of the property in the heart of Chicago. A harmonious and neutral backdrop paired with artisanal textures, the soft palette of warm greys and deep blues are accented by jewel purples and copper featuring mixed metals of forged iron and polished nickel. The goal was to create a palette with a sense of warmth and elevated comfort. A wood floor (porcelain per brand standards) was integrated to compliment the texture in the fabrics and a ventless gas fireplace is a feature element of the lounge seating zone. In addition to seating zones, multiple Food and Beverage options are presented within the Welcome Lobby including the Grab-and-Go Market, with a clean white subway tile, as well as a full Restaurant Concept. A coffee house during the day and a gastropub at night, the Restaurant is seamlessly integrated into the lobby with varied seating including a large communal table and stained concrete countertop at the bar. To round out the guest’s experience, additional Public Spaces include three large meeting rooms with operable walls, pre-function space, private board room and game room – all of which are utilized as profit generators for the hotel and are easily accessible for touring companies performing at the Oriental Theatre downstairs. Perhaps the most striking element of the Welcome Lobby is the extraordinary historic ceiling that was uncovered beneath existing acoustical ceiling during demolition. Much needed plaster reconstruction and additional trim was added to make the ceiling as beautiful as it once was. A seamless restoration allows for the ceiling to feel as if it had never been hidden. A dark neutral paint color was specified to accentuate details of the ceiling through light and shadows. The statement light fixtures served as a callback to the circular aspects of the ceiling extruded. As additional lighting could not be added to the historic ceiling, creative lighting solutions were incorporated in the form of sconces and library style table lamps. The guestrooms and suites mirror this experience, welcoming guests with modern and fresh accommodations. A dedicated workspace with ergonomic chair and desk were integrated into the space along with a soft seating vignette to accommodate both the work and pleasure traveler. Custom graphic wallcovering was designed and developed featuring vintage maps of the city of Chicago with a 'floating' platform bed hovering below. An experience in discovery, the “Chicago Tapestry” represents Chicago’s interweaving cultures, history, and structure. Through the custom designed graphics, artwork, finish selections & historical elements, a lobby experience where any type of traveler can discover Chicago was created. Whether a busy corporate traveler needing a place to power up or a relaxed traveler looking to reflect after a day of discovery, all the opportunities are afforded in the lobby’s design.
As OKW Architects anticipates the 60 year milestone of successful client relationships and project design, we celebrate this journey with an exciting, new brand experience. We are proud of our brand’s distinct style as well as the design process that led us to its inception. Our rebrand has paid off in more ways than one. The first being our OKW office expansion/renovation. We were able to extend the brand experience to our built environment. OKW Architects’ brand centers around an inclusive approach to design. The planning and design of our renovated office needed to reflect that brand by increasing day-to-day collaboration amongst team members. We achieved this result through two primary strategies: 1) provide employees more choice in types of environments to meet with each other and work with each other; 2) create open site lines throughout the office In addition to the revitalized workspace, our new office also features a spacious reception zone to welcome visitors. This space, which we refer to as ‘The Link’, includes an open kitchen to hospitably serve our guests and is designed for fully flexible use. The Link has visibility into our work environment as well, so that anyone who walks through our front door is immediately engaged in the most important aspect of our space: our creative process and its resulting product.
Water Street is a strategic private equity firm focused exclusively on building market-leading companies in healthcare. Our client sought to create an environment that reflects the culture of this established company while maintaining an inviting atmosphere for their current and prospective clients. A strong emphasis was placed upon the guest experience within the space. Upon entering the office suite, guests are greeted in a reception room that is warm and inviting and delivers unparalleled views of downtown Chicago and the river. A stone wall anchors the space and is complemented by a dark wood and bronze curved feature wall, a wood floor, silk wall-coverings, and refined furnishings. The result is a refined and timeless environment, combined with minimalist details and rich materiality. State-of-the-art conference rooms are located within close proximity to the reception area. The addition of a hospitality kitchen and guest toilet rooms complete the services offered to their guests. The remainder of the floor plan was organized with perimeter offices and interior support staff workstations. The textured glass and wood frame office fronts allow for natural light to be shared within the interior areas of the building while providing the office occupants the appropriate degree of privacy for confidential transactional work. A strong focus on ergonomics and wellness was provided within each office including a sit/stand conference desk and walk station. The plan also includes open areas that support informal collaboration and includes a small fitness room, golf simulation room and an informal lounge space.
Specialty Rooms: Test Kitchens (6 fully functioning cooking kitchens: 50% electric range & 50% gas range), Cake Decorating Studio, Photography Studio, Videography Studio, Staging Studio, Prop Storage Rooms, Climate Controlled Cake Storage, Industrial Design 3-D Printing Studio, Renovation & Rebranding to an existing internal staircase. Client Culture: Wilton asks their customers to be creative, therefore their new office space needed to exemplify the creativity of the brand. Their past office space was spread across 4 different buildings, some locations over ½ mile away from each other, therefor as to promote communication, the goal was to infusing curiosity throughout the office. Client History: Client products infiltrated the design in the most casual of ways, for example stacked rolling pins created a separation wall between the café and corridor and wooden spoons which were strung together provided a screening device in other areas. Early Coordination: The full project team was brought on early during the real estate search in order to confirm that the specialty requirements could be met at the final selected location.
The facility is designed to suit the needs and growing demands of the college’s student population as well as allow for future expansion for various additional curriculum needs. In traditional campus planning, each campus building has a specific purpose or use in mind, but in this location, the design team was challenged to fit many different uses and occupants under one roof. The college campus consists of administration spaces and faculty offices, large community room, traditional college classrooms, three science labs, computer labs, student commons, library, café, campus store, and simulation center for the healthcare learning environment. The critical challenges of the project were altering an existing “big box” store where light is minimal, ceilings are high, and the human scale factor is often lost. The design solutions focused on a bright color and finish palette, including windows at the end of each corridor to provide for a view out and sunshine in, and maximizing the tall ceilings as a positive design feature. We paid much attention to lighting choices and how those choices enhanced large open areas to provide students a place to gather and/or study. Since flexibility was important and growth is inevitable, main corridors were designed to accommodate the college's needs to expand. The design team used the college’s school branding, as a kick start to use fun pops of color amongst a gray neutral base. Specific finishes were chosen to reflect the combination of spaces to the learning environment as well as the social atmospheres to entice future students.
The Chicago office of a globally-recognized integrated architecture, interior design, engineering, and planning firm seized a unique opportunity to not only build-out new space to accommodate a growing team, but also redefine and reimagine its office structure by evaluating the way teams worked, identifying aspirational goals and transforming its business strategy. The design team led a series of internal strategy workshops to identify areas of improvement. A lack of necessary space for project teams, an inability to promote the firm’s innovative work and support the creative process, and insufficient space to support diverse work modes and thinking were among the key findings identified. The new workspace needed to support their growing interdisciplinary, multi-generational and multi-market office. Business drivers defined in the workshops set out to encourage collaboration within disciplines, break down silos between disciplines, create a sustainable and energy efficient space, and in turn, change the office culture to increase engagement among employees. Completed in October 2016, the new office transitioned both physically and organizationally into an agile work environment. The renovation is the first of the company’s twelve locations to pilot an agile workspace where employees have the flexibility to select the space and typology that best suits their various individual, team and collaborative work throughout the day. A wide range of typologies allow for team-based work, social interaction, informal touchdown, focus work, and collaboration. For those specific tasks requiring focus, a quiet zone, wellness room and phone rooms were incorporated into the typology mix. Employees may choose from sit-to-stand desks with ample daylighting, team-based bench-style workstation seating with movable pin-up ideation boards, conference and huddle rooms, inviting nooks with great city views, and teaming areas with a variety of reconfigurable furniture. A centrally located maker space provides hands-on experiences for enhanced design visualization including 3D-printing and virtual reality technology. A spacious lobby and café provide further options for breakout, large group activities, and industry or community events. Open ceilings and exposed concrete flooring within the studio space support the collaborative environment and encourage teams to utilize the space as a living, learning laboratory. A subtle, natural finish palette acts as a backdrop to the teams and their work displayed throughout the office. Subtle wood tones and textural carpet define the spaces intended for client interaction or more formal team meetings. Adaptability was paramount in all portions of the design including lighting, which through an advanced lighting control system, enables automated customization of light levels and effortless reorganization of space with the click of a mouse. Supporting one of the firm’s core values, sustainability, the space is targeting LEED ID+C: Commercial Interiors Silver Certification. One main contribution to the certification are the lighting fixtures. Every lighting fixture is dimmable and equipped with daylight and motion sensing. The space beats ASHRAE 90.1-2013 lighting power density requirements by 48%. Defined as one of the initial design problems, the framework of the new office space has increased collaboration both within and between disciplines. 93% of post-occupancy respondents feel the new workplace supports collaboration with colleagues; a 74% increase from the previous workplace. The appropriate mix of typologies to support multiple work modes has also been validated. 90% of post-occupancy respondents feel the new space supports necessary focus work and almost 90% of respondents believe the new office reflects their typical collaboration method.
From its mid-19th century beginnings, Brunswick has been known for innovation. Finding themselves in a work environment that felt too traditional, leadership sought to use the headquarters relocation as an opportunity to once again announce Brunswick as visionary. Brunswick’s products—from Lifetime Fitness exercise equipment to motor boats to their iconic billiard tables—are seemingly diverse but all are tied together by the common thread of activity. Our design promotes activity in its planning with circulation that doubles as a walking track and spaces for collaborating and connecting with colleagues. A central stair is the practical transition between floors, promoting an opportunity for healthy movement. Details throughout the new headquarters refer to Brunswick’s history and products—the curved wall, reminiscent of a boat hull, and the use of materials found in their products such as wood, steel, felt and slate. As part of the design process, we analyzed the existing workplace and the employees’ levels of satisfaction, which lead to the realization of generationally skewed satisfaction. Young professionals were much less satisfied with the workplace than those well-established in the organization. The new headquarters was a chance to rethink the workplace and find ways to appeal to all generations. Our design solution offers diverse and engaging work settings, locations created specifically to inspire collaboration and innovation.
The space required flexibility as it functions as a coworking office space during the day and an event/retail space in the evening. A large, convertible conference center and lounge are in the two corners of the building intentionally adjacent to the centered reception space. Requirements included open and closed collaboration, 4-person private offices, a 3D printing workshop, and workspace for 70 coworking tenants. The requirements were exceeded in several areas including 76 coworking tenant spaces, an additional private office, extra storage space, and flexible seating placed throughout. Acoustical treatments were used in ceiling elements as well as furniture and applied wall decor. Some tenants require more open collaboration, whereas others must have a heads down focus place to work. These diverse needs and more are met with a variety of working environments from private focus rooms, to benching, and more traditional workstations. Wayfinding elements include flooring, the use of lighting in the corridor and wall color.
Problem: Designing an Engaging, Flexible Building that Supports 21st Century Learning on a Tight Urban Site The building stacks up efficiently on four levels, creating a sustainable building on an extremely small site. Bright, bold colors and a warm natural palette create inspiring spaces that are flexible and collaborative. Students can use the many breakout spaces just outside the classrooms to work together on projects or study independently. All learning spaces are equipped with both digital and analog media, ensuring that students are familiar with a variety of 21st century learning tools. The buildings sits within its original footprint, and, due to efficient space planning and interior design, adds 5,500 square feet of collaborative learning space that did not previously exist. Problem: Creating a Student-Centered Building Specifically for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum Through meetings with students, parents, faculty and community members, the team understood the need for all grade levels to feel connected. Projects should be on active display, and students and teachers should see each other working together. All classrooms and corridors surround a central, naturally daylit atrium which makes regular all-school gatherings possible. Students learn in bright, daylit classrooms and have ample access to outdoor learning as well. Transparency was a major interior design driver, and all classrooms feature large windows that look out into the corridors and central atrium. Students and visitors can see into classrooms as they pass by, encouraging a shared sense of community and accountability in keeping with the school's curriculum. The increased connectivity in the interior design allows staff to better teach to their IB curriculum.
The goal was to create a space that was designed at a high level, yet still understated in its furnishings. Durability and comfort were key to withstand traffic and heavy usage as the client is the pastor of a Chicago city church and often hosts retreats for members, friends, and colleagues. The lines of the furnishings were kept simple and clean to complement, and not overshadow, the modern architecture of the home. Neutral fabric choices throughout the home serve as a canvas with pops of oranges, greens, and blues to accentuate the expansive views of Lake Michigan. Designed as an entertaining space, furnishings play double duty throughout the home. Dining room chairs can be placed in rows for enjoying a piano performance while extra chairs are easily stacked away for storage. The pair of dining tables can be placed separately, or combined for a long banquet gathering. Multiple conversation spaces in the living room were created with flexible seating. The swooping curves and angles of the architecture posed challenges for placement of furnishings, but as a positive, added great interest to the understated power of this contemporary lakeside home.
Bringing AAR Corp's headquarters into the next generation, this design firm radically transformed the company workplace. Collaborating with leading corporate real estate partners, the team created a more effective density plan and democratized AAR's community. The next generation workplace evolution challenge is facing every corporation today. Legacy facilities that are obsolete for today's workforce must be abandoned or radically reformed to attract and retain talent. After a year of planning a new "greenfield" headquarter design, this aerospace company decided to stay put and refresh their dark cluttered 40-year old facility saving ten million dollars. At the same time, they needed to increase the density by adding 100 seats within the existing 4 walls. The design maximized density by increasing work seats and optimized productivity by opening up shared activity and communal lounge spaces within the existing four walls. To accomplish this, the workstation was completely reinvented and designed around an existing 20' x 20' column grid that now disappears in a fully utilized, collaborative team environment. Open spaces were created around a more effective density plan, adding skyline atrium and a central full-service café that creates a company plaza. The design supports a democratized community where CEO and plant worker whose path had seldom crossed before in the past, can now sit together and catch up on the last 15 years of working toward a common goal.
This space for Chervon, the power tool company behind the well-known Skilsaw and Ego Brands, is a warehouse, testing lab, showroom and collaborative workspace all in one. By using materials typically used in the construction and home improvement industries in unexpected ways, the design reinforces Chervon’s slogan of “Creating better tools, for a better world.” The warm and neutral color palette is mostly made up of concrete, wood, glass and turf to facilitate a homey ambiance while also serving as a backdrop for the industry-leading brands Chervon represents. A variety of Brand Rooms, video editing suites and product showcase spaces allow Chervon to feature their products in an impactful way. Chervon, a rapidly growing tools manufacturer, wanted to establish a presence in the US. A company that relies on its speed to market model, and thus prioritizes innovation, Chervon needed an office space that would enable this intense caliber of product testing, while providing its employees a comfortable and home-like environment. The new space accommodates the company’s tool assembling functions by containing rooms in its warehouse for lithium iron battery assemblage, labs for product testing, and even a “torture chamber” in which tools are pushed to their limits so specialists can determine durability. The workplace has more familiar amenities, such as a gym, a café, a video studio to create and produce promotional footage, and even a showcase space that educates employees on the company’s history with an outdoor terrace extension. The plan is laid out to maximize access to views of the surrounding natural environment in order to reinforce an unconventionally restful atmosphere.
Libraries connect people to the information they need to solve problems, push boundaries, and shape the future.” OCLC, a global library cooperative, does just this by developing technologies that support thousands of libraries to make information accessible and useful to people around the world. In August of 2014, our firm won a design competition to update and reimagine the OCLC headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. The focus of the project was the public spaces of the building, namely, enlivening the dimly-lit, foreboding four-story atrium, which had been walled off from floor, yet is the focal point of the building. Bold moves were made in the design solution to help solve the separation of space – from repurposing unused exterior plazas to be transformed into useful, lively interior spaces, to designing a completely new, cantilevered stairway that is both sculptural and functional in connecting people throughout the building. In addition, existing stone panels that previously shielded interior spaces from access and daylight were removed to unveil a new tier of enclosed, state-of-the-art meeting rooms. A repositioned building lobby enhances the security of the building, while also creating a grand entry experience for both employees and visitors. The Third Place, a social café and gathering space, was designed as an extension to the upgraded dining and servery, to foster employee connectivity across the building. Overall, clean lines and a refined palette of materials, including oak wood, terrazzo, and decorative glass enliven and reinvigorate OCLC’s spaces while also creating a timeless, long-lasting design.
Located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Exhibit on Superior is a new 34-story LEED Gold residential tower whose interior caters to the creative professional. An artistic and textured wall of letters greets residents and visitors in the lobby entrance of this 283,000 square foot building. Authentic, unadorned finishes and furnishings explore the bespoke nature of art and creates a unique experience for residents and their guests. Handmade furniture gives an organic sense to the reception area and are augmented by glass walls and modern fixtures. To create a dialogue with the neighborhood, the lobby level’s exterior wall opens to the street and the new public park that was created on the property. Using the concept of “smart living,” the building features microunits, which appeal especially to millennials working and living in downtown Chicago. One of the main challenges was designing efficient layouts for these microunits; a new and innovative product in the Chicago market. The designers focused on highly efficient design layouts that include floor-to-ceiling windows to provide an abundance of natural light to fill the apartments. Lighter finish palettes additionally brighten the microunits and allow natural light to reflect upon the unit surfaces. Another challenge was determining how to successfully create amenity spaces that cater to the microunit demographic. As a solution, the entire fifth floor is dedicated to a series of amenities that serve as an extended living space for residents. The designers created multiple spaces to accommodate a variety of purposes, including private workrooms for study spaces, a larger meeting room, and a formal dining room. All amenity spaces have dual purposes that can be used in a variety of ways. Additional amenities include a spa, sauna, gym, and library, all with direct access to the landscaped podium deck and swimming pool. Like the lobby, the use of wood and warm tones throughout the fifth floor create a warm and welcoming environment.
Established in 1986, ProMedica is a locally owned, nonprofit healthcare organization serving northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Driven by their mission to improve health and wellbeing, they have grown organically with a full complement of services. Today, ProMedica is a committed team of dedicated experts, passionate volunteers and inspired advocates and is recognized nationally for the consistent, high-level care they provide to their communities. As they grew, they focused on their clinical facilities and housed their administrative staff in some 14 acquired properties and leases in suburban Toledo. In many cases, they simply occupied these spaces complete with another tenants’ furniture, finishes, layouts, etc. The relationship with HKS came because of being their trusted advisor in delivering medical offices, a health and wellness center along with renovations and additions to their main hospital. ProMedica realized that in order to improve their overhead operating expenses and provide effective space for the administrative employees to do the important work of supporting the health system, they needed to make a change. Departments worked in silos with limited collaboration support and disconnected from the hospitals and care providers. At the inception of the project, the campus sought to house a total of 600 people at the downtown campus. In summer of 2017, over 850 employees moved into the Steam Plant and Junction buildings. In addition to providing a generous offering of amenity spaces, the project accomplishes fitting 250 SF/person, exemplifying that smart use of space does not compromise quality of space. This objective is met by providing a wide offering of choice of space, with most square footage going to unassigned spaces and planning for ProMedica to extend the unassigned seating model as they become more accustomed to a more progressive work model. The new model of workplace is a huge leap for the system where the current state pulled staff from a hierarchy-based environment where little access to daylight and no choice of work environment was stifling the company culture. Nearly all staff, including the CEO, are now proud to work in a space that reflects a culture of community and wellbeing. The volume and space of the historic steam plant and its new workplace addition is truly unique and authentic to Toledo and ProMedica. Gathering spaces in the headquarters highlight elements of hospitality and refreshment. Reclaimed wood adorns the atrium café, which also features pendant lighting that was saved and restored from the original Steam Plant building. The atrium can also be transformed into event space after hours.
Flexibility was the driving force in the design, in addition to the creation of an everyday working environment for over 100 members. The Connectory needed to be adaptable to facilitate events, programs, and workshops on a daily basis that are available to members and non-members. To achieve this, everything can be quickly transformed depending on need. Desks, chairs, and audiovisual equipment are mobile, even collapsible, allowing for small or large project team meetings and event hosting. The space is lined with versatile collaboration worktables, custom designed to fold and roll away. Along the perimeter, areas are prepped for future demountable partitions for spaces to be easily enclosed for new startups. Breakout nooks and tables provide opportunities for informal brainstorming or more focused collaboration. Lounge furniture, high-top tables, and booth seating are just a few of the work setting selections members can utilize each day. The glass walls that enclose meeting spaces use privacy film as a vehicle to showcase the Connectory’s branding and culture. The Connectory acts as a living showroom for demonstrating IoT products, such as a smartphone entry access system, connected mirrors, and a smart coffee machine. As members develop new ideas, they are encouraged to display them throughout the space. Project parameters consisted of a two phase, three-month construction schedule adding to the complexity of the project. Being fast-tracked, specifications needed to be selected in an expedited manner and within budget. Project team members located in different countries and time zones made it imperative to utilize audiovisual technology for quick, concise communication. Since the Chicago location was the first IoT partner innovation space of its kind, the overall design concept was simultaneously being developed along with the business model.
As startups continue to look to innovation to expand and find their place in the market, creating a workplace that supports their ambitions has become the design challenge of today. Glassdoor's Chicago office takes on this challenge by balancing two aspirations; the office must nurture the needs of the team and adhere to Glassdoor’s evolving corporate identity. Realizing these two goals meant providing an environment reflective of their millennial workforce, committed to the raw and exciting urbanism of the Chicago’s Fulton Market District. At the same time it is meant to embrace their hard-earned maturity and sophistication as a company dedicated to improving the workplace through their website, a human resources platform, for staff and employers alike. The design interweaves the company’s inward and outward voices. The entry zone is defined by a series of curvilinear nodes. The voids between these forms create three entries into the secure office space. The taut forms, curved glass, and clean lines of the nodes reflect Glassdoor’s newly redefined brand identity. This aesthetic is the purest representation of the brand. Beyond the entry lobby, the inward voice begins to express local culture as the nodes are transformed in subtle yet important ways. First, more color is added to the curvilinear forms. Second, the large glass openings in every room in the nodes is a picture window on a series of insightful Chicago graphics and custom art installations. The nodes are organized to divide the floor naturally into neighborhoods of workstations and employee amenity zones, including a large café. Employees have the ability to take ownership of their workstations and communal locations. Shared spaces across the office provide writable surfaces, planters and pin-up space that inspire interaction; surrounded on every side by floor to ceiling glass with striking views of city.
The design concept was to provide a private, soothing and peaceful environment for our clients to reconnect and relax in an urban setting. The 5700 square foot residence is a short walk from the Pacific Ocean and the downtown streets of Venice, California. The house’s H-shaped plan, with its wings overlooking serene interior gardens, hides the extreme density and adjacent homes. The architecture, which was originally designed by the previous owner, was updated to improve the flow and functionality of the home. The clients were impacted greatly by the new design. New furnishings, landscaping, and mechanical systems all were selected and designed to enhance the peacefulness of the house with sound proofing as a priority. An upgraded lighting system and lamping throughout the house increased energy efficiency and added to the owners’ usability. The design scheme was kept simple and casual. Iconic and vintage pieces mixed with contemporary furnishings complement the urban beach setting. Combining many of the objects and art that had been collected over years of travel bridge the old and new. The color scheme is serene but has contrast with pops of color to provide visual interest and keep the space young.
This successful relocation of a 168,000 SF corporate headquarters proved to be the perfect opportunity to create the highly transparent, collaborative and branded environment desired by GGP. Fostering a democratic approach to sharing the daylight, private offices and conference rooms are internalized while most employees sit near the glass line. Low-height furnishings ensure unobstructed views, allowing for an abundance of natural light throughout the space, and team collaborative areas occupy the space normally reserved for prestigious corner offices. A centralized conference center, along with interchangeable private offices and smaller meeting rooms, provides for future flexibility; a mandatory consideration in the eyes of this forward-thinking organization and today’s ever changing office environment. Strategically placed communal “Hubs” create a common area on each floor that’s designed to gather, promote impromptu meetings, encourage a culture of teamwork and foster knowledge sharing. Ordered with an elegant palette of white walls, warm ceilings and textured floor finishes, with lighting systems that highlight this logical and structured environment, the design solution weaves the interactive areas and mix of workspace types together to create an intuitive system of wayfinding over this 3 floor project. Designed and constructed within a 10 month timeline, this collaborative project serves as testimony to the power of teamwork, proving the impossible…is possible!
The formula for an echo is Velocity=Distance/Time. This equation is the backbone of transportation logistics and the driving force of Echo Global Logistics’ 135,000 sf headquarters expansion within a building that was once an old catalogue warehouse. In total, the expansion doubles the size of the headquarters, adding 1,000 seats. At a deeper level, the great opportunity of this project was to create an experiential brand. This brand is apparent upon entry of the new street-level lobby. Sculpted as four massive voids spelling out ECHO in steel, the lobby sign is weathered like the existing column wrappings. The letters are set at different angles to create an experience for passersby as to how each letter is viewed. Upon entry, the E is perfectly aligned and luminous, while the O appears darker and more abstract. As the individual moves, each letter comes into similar focus as the others become more abstract, changing perception with distance and time. A massive new stair connects the street level with the majority of the new space. Its industrial aesthetic of concrete, steel and chain link feel true to the building’s history—as if it has always been there. Frustrated that stairs from their upper level read simply as negative space, we designed a canopy of undulating, highly polished steel above to reflect the visual energy of the stair, further reinforcing the importance of movement. One’s natural progression from the stair is to the large café. The café is meant to be the social heart of the space. Anchored by a leaderboard of 16 60” monitors, it can be a place for craft beer night or to kick off the NCAA's March Madness tourney. It supports the company’s work-hard-play-hard culture. The main area of the workplace is organized around two main streets, wide enough to be actual streets, which run the entire length of the space north to south. The streets can host all sorts of activities, from quick team meetings at one of the several breakout spaces to outreach fairs for charities. Backing onto the streets are four necessary additions to the building—restrooms. We wrapped the blocks, roughly the size of semi-trailers, with graphics interpreting Echo slogans in the bad-ass vernacular of custom rigs, creating distinct points of reference within the large space. Continuing the allusions to the trucking industry, team huddle rooms are realized as loading dock bays, lined up and numbered with signage that illuminates as the bay is occupied. Steel anchors the far end of the space. One feature wall is inscribed with US shipping routes. Lastly, is the formula itself, again, illuminated voids of letters within the weathered steel, which acts as a beacon to employees entering from the company’s other floor within the building. V=D/T, a billboard preparing those who enter to be changed as they experience the space.
Atlas Financial Holdings develops and delivers automobile insurance for light commercial vehicles such as taxis and limousines. They wanted a workplace that reinforced and reflected their culture, attracted the best young professionals, and created a strong sense of community. The challenge was the redevelopment of two floors and a roof deck, totaling 70,000 sf, in a typical 1980s concrete office building in Schaumburg. Connection to another building created an incredibly complex path to code compliance, achieved through close coordination with the Building Department during the entire design process. The team worked seamlessly to transform the less than inspiring 80s environment into an interpretation of airy Brooklyn Loft with the energy and movement of transportation through the use of unique branding features. Structurally challenging was the centerpiece, a new connecting stair and opening with a collaboration area at the bottom and library at the top reinforcing connectivity and community. A unique custom 2 story kinetic fin wall allowed the stair to be open or closed to the collaboration areas. The subtle color and material palette support the graphic branding throughout the space– from the greeting area, kitchen and library to conference rooms, boardroom and flex meeting area.
With a goal to teach one million kids to code, the founders of Codeverse challenged us to create a classroom of the future. The dynamic classroom allows children to control the colors of lights, make sounds move around the room, create games on a large tv display and operate robotic arms. The design concept includes organic curves in the walls, floors and ceiling elements to encourage free movement around the room. Small nooks and hidden rooms create an exciting environment for children to explore and find the best spot for them to learn. A large, custom built, curved ramp - known as the "command couch" - allows children to relax while programming video games on a 20 foot wide tv display. The futuristic aesthetic is accented by a large moss wall display with the Codeverse logo in it, suggesting our future classrooms will certainly have greenery incorporated in them.
Skender Construction’s new headquarters reflects their continued growth, maturity, and expression of their business and social culture. The resulting office space is of its context in the industrial-charged neighborhood of the West Loop, positioned within a repurposed parking garage. Upon entry, a steel framed ceiling/lighting element draws you into the large flexible central café hub space that supports multiple daily functions. Adjacent to the café hub are 3 large flexible phase rooms, unfolding to create a large internal meeting and social space. The open plan includes sit-stand desks lining the perimeter allowing all-day access to natural light. The open plan also provides a variety of meeting spaces to support choice of how and where to work. Throughout the space, the brand message integrates within the architecture. From the face wall (expressing the vibrant culture of their office) to the lean coffee wall (that allows their employees to express their creative freedom) the message is always about their people. The Skender persona expounds through the materials holding up a mirror to the everyday, tangible resources construction teams come into contact with such as exposed ceilings/floors, gabion wall, and exposed column capitals representing the framework of construction projects.
A space within a space -- Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse houses one of Chicago’s most elite champagne rooms. The challenge was to create intrigue while revealing enough impactful details to cause curiosity amongst diners – and to create an elegant and feminine room that “screams champagne”. With that in mind we designed an “undulating” wall to create a harmonious flow between the vertical access points and the steakhouse’s dining spaces on the third floor. Behind this dark charcoal grey wall, there is a light and airy space with plush comfortable seating and delicate architectural details. The floors are made up of rich chevron oak planks that collide into a mosaic marble floor inset framing the curved bar. Above the bar, a hand-blown glass globe installation hangs over the space resembling champagne bubbles. The main accent elements incorporate brass and copper details that tie back to the inherent and recognizable champagne and rose tones. Seating in the space was extremely important as the main goal was to give it that comfort you find at home. We incorporated residential style lounge and wing chairs in smaller clustered grouping for a more intimate experience. The larger banquette style seats showcase tightly tufted backs and custom marble cocktail tables.
The recently renovated CalEdison building in downtown LA sets the stage for the relocated leasing office of GGP. Established to attract their retail clientele, this energetic and welcoming environment reflects the casual culture of the west coast by greeting visitors with an open café and laptop lounge, complete with a ping pong table. The raw concrete and exposed ceilings subtly echo GGP’s core values of humility and transparency, accenting the coming together of old meets new at every intersection of the art deco style building and the contemporary interior aesthetic. Low panels at open office workstations and lounge seating for impromptu meetings are designed to cultivate collaboration, set in surroundings that are highlighted with graffiti art by a local artist to celebrate the local art scene and convey an edgy, street-smart vibe.
Design Concept: Situated among rolling hills on a heavily forested 23-acre site in Western Michigan, the context provides privacy and a peaceful respite from the traditional suburban office environment. The undulating site created challenges and the orientation of the building and parking structure were driven by the site’s unique topography. The design team used a variety of technologies to understand the tree cover, topography, explore options for the building’s location on the site and ultimately maintain as much of the tree cover and natural topography as possible. The building was placed to form a bridge across the two most prominent hills. This preserves the natural watershed through the site to an on-site retention pond and minimizes the building’s footprint on the land. To further protect the forested land, the design consolidates the significant parking requirement into a single 3-level structure recessed into the site’s largest hill to minimize its physical impact on the overall experience of the site. The parking garage is the first in Texas Township, MI, where the building is located, highlighting the uniqueness of this urban approach to parking in a suburban/rural context. The minimalist site design focuses formal landscape spaces under and around the building, protecting the plant life from harsh weather. Visitors access the building from a meandering approach road that provides the full experience of the forest and a sense of discovery upon arrival. A series of fitness and wellness trails connects users to the natural surroundings. Paramount to the site design is the awareness of a small footprint and minimal intervention of the building. Composed of brick, metal, glass and concrete, the building palette contributes to an understated simplicity in contrast to the visual activity of the site. On the southern façade, the glass curtain wall maximizes natural light and views, reinforcing the verticality of the forest through the vertical expression of structure and façade elements. A brick façade along the north references the regional vernacular and protects the structure from harsh northwest winds. Window boxes provide daylight and views for meeting rooms while projecting a dynamic display of light patterning visible to those experiencing the building while traveling the heavily trafficked Interstate 94. To take advantage of sunlight during Michigan’s lengthy fall and winter seasons, the interior environment is organized around a three-story, south-facing atrium. As the heart of the office, the atrium culminates in a large ceremonial stair that serves as an informal auditorium and company gathering space fostering a familial workplace community, integral to the culture of Consumers Credit Union. Brand-building: The design of the headquarters building was a defining opportunity to tell the brand story of Consumers Credit Union. As a rapidly growing organization, the building was designed to serve as an expression of Consumers Credit Union’s values and growth trajectory. In turn, the design is decidedly contemporary and amenity-rich, helping recruit and retain talent while continuing to grow the organization. Collaboration + Consolidation: Centered on the idea of creating controlled collisions, the new workplace brings together nearly 150 employees previously working in four separate buildings. The open office environment is designed to foster collaboration and innovation while capitalizing on the efficiencies of bringing staff under one roof. Informal gathering spaces encourage further collaboration while building a defining culture for the organization. The Class A facility is designed to emphasize flexibility and interactivity. The open concept space is supported with modern workstations and a learning lab with state-of-the-art technology available to facilitate training and staff development. The open atmosphere is balanced with quiet, private spaces for concentrated work and private conversations. Regardless of the location within the building, staff and visitors are never more than 30 feet from views of the surroundings. Designed to encourage staff to move throughout the space regularly, the internal and external environment makes the workplace an amenity in itself. Staff can work on an expansive outdoor patio overlooking nature, sit in one of many communal gathering spaces or enjoy an outdoor seating area between the hills. Other amenities include a food café, coffee bar, bike racks and a fitness center to support the organization’s cultural focus on wellness. The design process began with programming the building, define operational needs and outline their vision. Once we established a realistic budget based on space requirements, we developed several concepts. The preferred design concept strongly emphasized their company culture, preservation of the natural site and their community-focused brand. It also included a number of value added features and spaces that were not included in the initial programming and budgeting. Achieving the design vision posed certain challenges related to cost, technology and client values. The client embraced the design vision and was eager to achieve as much as possible under their cost constraints. Working with the local Construction Manager early and throughout the design process, we identified the limitations of local trade and material availability. Using 3D modeling and testing, we compared cost and constructability of concrete versus steel structural systems to arrive at a budget-feasible solution. We also consulted the CM to evaluate the use of wall systems and material technologies, arriving at the use of brick for the north wall rather than a prefabricated panel system that, while similar in cost, was deemed too complicated for the local trades. These are just some examples that illustrate our research-based approach to achieving the design vision and meeting client needs while conscious of budget limitations. Every project poses unique challenges and opportunities related to aligning the vision, needs and budget. In this case the client increased their budget slightly after the project went to bid to achieve their desired outcome. But the process of information gathering, testing and design research and exploration kept the budget in line throughout the project while achieving all of the design and programmatic wants of the client.
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education is responsible for the identification, development and promotion of standards pertaining to the ongoing education of physicians and medical personnel. Their mission is to constantly improve the performance of physicians and the medical care that they provide to patients. We partnered with ACCME to create brand-new headquarters that accurately align with the goals of the organization and the needs of those who use it. Through a visioning session, two overarching themes that emerged were precision and a nurturing engagement, which drove our design in creating a less corporate, but more residential environment by balancing the needs of employees, stakeholders and visitors in a collaborative, warm and elegant atmosphere. The space strikes a balance between these two concepts resulting in a beautiful environment highlighted by strong architectural detailing and hospitality-focused breakout spaces. We specifically designed areas to be welcoming and relaxed to promote interactions that build consensus with ACCME’s various constituents. The space also balances the needs of the public and ACCME staff. A central corridor links the public reception space with the staff space to create a modular office that can be easily modified to suit the varying needs of employees, stakeholders, and visitors over time. Finishes and architectural elements include white marble, rich Walnut and infusions of royal blue. Windows are exposed to bring in natural light and showcase the architecture of the Chicago skyline.
Once a destination for presidents, Hollywood royalty and notorious mobsters, this hotel celebrates its unique history in the heart of the city’s cultural district through a strategically curated design. The interior design team was challenged to craft an aesthetic where elements – both vintage and new – come together to create a space you don’t simply visit, but one you experience. The engaging interiors tell stories through subtle layers, paying tribute to the history of the property, with an edge that makes it modern and fresh. FF&E selections provide a residential quality, beckoning visitors to make themselves at home. Here, visitors are more than just guests, they are residents; no matter the length of stay. The team was required to utilize a majority of the existing historical aspects, such as landmarked wood paneling and historical lighting. Carefully striking a balance between old and new, the designers focused on developing the environment at eye level. To construct a more activated lobby, a dedicated area for live jazz music sits adjacent to the fireplace, drawing vibrant crowds of visitors and locals alike, in a relaxed and inviting setting. Anchoring the center of the lobby is a custom, vintage-styled vitrine that is brought to life in the evening as a liquor cabinet, offering cocktail service that enlivens the space’s spirited atmosphere. For additional charm and local context, one-of-a-kind accent pieces were handpicked from local antique shops. The crown jewel of the hotel, the Crystal Ballroom, was revitalized along with its pre-function spaces using regional art, smoky-colored carpets and elegant wallcoverings, bringing renewed energy to the spaces while allowing their architectural bones to shine. With a distinctive, yet playful approach, the club-level lounge was re-envisioned for today's rewards traveler. The property’s political past informs the lounge’s design, but with a lighthearted twist – from presidential pop art to bobblehead figures lining the shelves.
Cushman & Wakefield sought to consolidate its real-estate footprint, which in turn presented an opportunity to create a headquarters reflecting their new global brand and culture. Our firm crafted flexible and collaborative workspaces, capitalizing on existing vistas and outdoor access in an effort to enrich the social experience of Cushman’s employees. Cushman’s new “home” also presented a series of challenges that in the end yielded dramatic and inspiring results. We converted a 10,000SF law library into a shared work lounge; featuring a 22’ barrel vault ceiling, sweeping views of the Chicago River, and a 16’x9’ media display embedded in a towering millwork feature. One of the greatest challenges was providing a holistic work environment. Together, our teams achieved LEED and WELL Certifications, encompassing good design practiced; such as height-adjustable workstations, concentration spaces, social hubs, healthy food access, and access to a rooftop patio with green roof and walking path.
Transformation requires equal measures of nature and nurture. When untapped human capital and the conditions for growth combine – life flourishes. This non-profit organization’s new facility provides the opportunity to help Chicago’s teens discover and stretch their potential. As part of a predesign workshop, students, staff and alumni of the after-school and summer teen programs shared their vision for effective learning spaces. The resounding desires were for flexible spaces linking the activities of one program space to another and creating an omnipresence of the organization’s culture. Previously an insurance headquarters, this donated building was transformed into a four-story setting that responds to student input for spaces that reflect their personality and encourage collaboration. On each floor, garage doors connect perimeter studios to a central flex space which invites educators to open the doors and create a single free-flowing learning space. Students of all programs share ideas over casual pin ups or gallery displays of their work. Bookended by a commons/lobby and a teaching kitchen, the ground level circulation “boulevard” affords glimpses into vocal, dance and tech studios, creating a dynamic and interconnected community of performance. The new facility will have a huge impact on the organization’s mission of positively transforming the lives of teens and their communities, with approximately 1,500 neighborhood teens annually being served by the new center. The center represents the organization’s first owned space and will serve as a model for teen programming across the city. Finishes include OSB and cement board cladding the walls of public spaces, daring teens to nail to, paint over, mosaic tile on or otherwise customize them to express their creative energy. Vibrant, saturated colors reflect the organization’s brand identity, brighten the studios and simplify wayfinding. Sustainability was at the forefront of the design of the center. The design team’s goal was to re-use as many existing elements as possible while retrofitting for the new use and code compliance. By exposing the existing structure and celebrating raw concrete flooring, the team created an aesthetic from materials already in place, minimizing the carbon footprint. New materials are composed of natural elements – cement board cladding, oriented strand board and steel trim. To provide natural light, new window openings were cut into the building shell, allowing daylight to shine through the glass-clad garage doors of the perimeter studios and into the shared spaces. Civically and socially, the facility offers the community a haven for teens to explore their interests and develop their talents. The new teen center serves as a neighborhood beacon of cultural display and celebration. As the donation of the building met long-standing organizational vision, the organization is itself transformed from a tenant into an owner and operator.
The focus of this project was providing flexibility and expandability. The design team worked to create new approach to the office environment by utilizing design elements including a demountable wall system, flexible technology and diverse working spaces to allow for easy collaboration and customization. Driven by the team-focused nature of the working process at Uptake, the sea of desks that are a staple of the traditional open office plan have a new twist. Benching is arranged in rows, segmented by partial height demountable glass walls that act as meeting pods for the adjacent teams. The glass is dual-purpose-serving as a white board for talking through ideas, as well as providing acoustic insulation within the open office without interrupting the visual expanse. The open office isn't the only place where things look a little different. Uptake's training room, Uptake University, re-imagines the typically drab, uninteresting learning spaces as a classroom for oddities and exploration. A skeleton in the corner and scientific prints on the walls accent vintage furniture and old books. Extra-large monitors, state of the art audio-visual equipment and acoustical solutions like ceiling baffles and felt curtains merge this old school story with modern technology. Adajcent to the open office, the Atrium serves as a collaboration space for Uptake employees and their clients. The design team integrated the complex audio-visual throughout the space to maintain maximum flexibility and showcase advanced augmented reality tables that highlight the benefits of Uptake's services for clients. In the open space, custom-designed tables sit on casters, allowing for mobility at a moment's notice. Diversity in the furniture, ranging from comfy sofas and ottomans to a brightly lit millwork desk and chairs along the window provide clients with flexible options to suit any need. Three-sided causal meeting pods are equipped with brainstorming tables featuring integrated paper rolls for endless scribbling and idea-sketching. The far corner of the Atrium houses the maker space, where Uptake staff can design and prototype new ideas using screen printing machines, laser cutters and large-format printers. The high-paced environment of the open office is juxtaposed with social spaces like the break room, the serene setting of the yoga/meditation space and the peaceful calm of the 'heads-down' library. The break area, inspired by a roof deck patio is surrounded by ivy and sits adjacent to a tree-lined lawn. A custom millwork trellis takes the shape of the Uptake logo, keeping the company branding strong in every nook of the office. If the noise of the break room is too much, Uptake staff will find solace at the library. Designated as a 'quiet space', the library offers a variety of colorful seating options for a little bit of heads-down alone time. Additionally, the Zen Den offers a space for yoga, massages and mindfulness. Featuring multiple lighting modes, plentiful plant life and a functioning fountain, the Zen Den is the perfect place to get away.
This downtown Chicago office tower was originally constructed in 1986 and was notable as a transportation hub with connections to CTA, the Thompson Center, the Skybridge link and housing a significant parking component. The building was recently purchased by a new owner who chose to transform the public areas and to add amenities. Levels one and two have been redesigned including the west entry lobby, atrium and ground level retail, while the second floor now features tenant lounges, conference space, fitness center and locker rooms. The atrium connecting these spaces was completely reimagined and enlarged to be a destination rather than just a walk-through space. The concourse is the heart of the 203 LaSalle public space. It is a two-story space, with a vaulting ceiling design that follows the underside of the parking ramp above. At the ground floor, two new retail storefronts were added with sliding wood security gates, custom planters, and new seating with bright, energetic colors. The second floor fitness center is visibly connected to the open concourse, but large frameless glass walls help to provide acoustic separation. The finish of wood accent wall helps to connect the walnut ceiling panels from the LaSalle Lobby to the lighter wood panels of the Concourse retail. The fitness center includes cardio equipment, free weights, exercise room, and new locker rooms. The other major building amenity off of the Concourse is the Tenant Lounge. The entrance to the lounge is highlighted by a feature wall with wall sconces and leather wall tile. Directly off of the Concourse, and taking advantage of the high ceilings is a casual sitting area with a fireplace. After the completion of the 203 N. LaSalle Lobby and tenant amenity spaces, the building’s management office relocated to the renovated second floor. To create a cohesive second floor, the management office’s palette pulls elements from the adjacent tech lounge and tenant lounge. Similar wood tones, accent colors, carpet patterns, and finishes help define the management office as a unique support space that is integrated into the rest of the building. As an extension of the updated lobby, 203 N LaSalle wanted to bring some continuity up to the upper floors. The updated upper elevator lobbies create a more relaxed, yet cohesive and impactful elevator lobby experience. The slatted wood ceiling, lighter wood tones, concrete-look tile, and play of textures with the tonal painted wall and back painted glass panels create a spin-off of the elevator lobby elements in the more formal 203 public lobby space. By October of 2016, the final vision was realized. A new main entrance off of LaSalle street brought new light and life to the building, allowing 203 LaSalle to be a competitor in the booming Class A office building market in downtown Chicago.
Our team is so proud to have been part of this beautiful project! Given its stunning location blessed with such spectacular views, working on this property represented a rewarding collaboration between owner, architect, and designer. This project encompassed a complete re-imagining of the property’s two-bedroom suite with 12 new custom-designed suites incorporated in a building recently added to the property. The design blends coastal ambiance with customized modern details. Combining traditional coastal shingle architecture with contemporary interiors embraces the property's location through design, texture, and locally inspired artwork and accessories. Each two-bedroom suite includes a fully equipped kitchen, living room with fireplace, dining room, five-fixture bathroom, as well as a fully furnished deck. The suites were designed to cater to romantic couples as well as vacationing families eager to entertain. The finishes and furnishings encourage guests to feel as though they were relaxing at their home away from home. Hand-scraped wood, wide-plank hardwood flooring, and custom hand-tufted area rugs all establish a sense of welcoming luxury. Comfortable custom seating throughout integrates a variety of textures and patterns allowing guests to sit back and unwind. Some of the challenges the team encountered with this project was the site and how to maximize the guest opportunity to views while not negatively impacting the existing guest experience. Timing was also a challenge being able to start and complete the project in time for the properties high season. We are proud to have been part of this project and even more proud to be continuing work at this beautiful site.
Located on the ground floor of Tooker House, Arizona State University’s new living/learning community for engineering students, the 27,000-square-foot Tooker House Dining Hall provides 545 seats for all-you-care-to-eat dining. The facility provides a variety of comfortable and flexible seating options to enjoy four food venues: pizza, salad/deli, grill, and rotating international cuisine. The design team created a unique space that would speak to the interests of Tooker House residents. As such, the space uses minimal finishes to expose concrete floor, support columns, and ceiling. The few finishes used in the space blend natural materials like wood and metal expressed in a desert palette. A social stair rises from the ground floor and connects to the second floor mezzanine which offers additional seating for dining. The second floor also features flexible design elements to support extended use as a study lounge after traditional meal time hours with moveable furniture, a wall for video projection, and small group seating areas with laptop-based technology and display monitors. A P.O.D. Market (Provisions on Demand)—a modern corner store featuring grab-and-go dining options and essentials found in traditional convenience stores- supports the late night activity and function of the space. Sustainability was a top priority for the entire complex and the project is LEED Gold.
To create and design a restaurant with name and logo, type of food, theme, and finishing materials. The restaurant has to be wheelchair accessible and have ample space for traffic flow. Designed building is 4,500 square feet and requires minimum of 1,350 sq ft of space for kitchen. Habaneros is a traditional Mexican restaurant with a modern twist in design, inspired by the nature of Mexico and located in Chicago. The color scheme chosen represents the habanero pepper, as well as the warm colors that remind people of Mexico. Sustainability is a main focus, with reuse of materials, energy efficiency, greenery, and eco-friendly materials and textiles. Locally grown organic food is provided in Habaneros to help boost the local economy, reduce environmental impact, and to offer a healthier diet. Habaneros is ADA accessible. The main traffic flow gives ample space for both patrons and wait staff. There is a max seating capacity of 132. Habaneros is for people of all ages to enjoy and is a dynamic place that feels like a break from the busy streets of Chicago.
What is occurring in malls throughout the United States and their ability to adapt to cultural change, is a significant challenge for the retail industry. This project is an adaptive reuse, transforming an underutilized part of the Mall at Wellington Green and bringing it back to life. This process required some of the most complex, sophisticated, and programmatic challenges that one can encounter. We took a big box furniture retailer and turned that former use into a thriving entertainment district for the mall. The project makes a visitor rethink the psychology of the arrival to the mall. The former dock, what people recognized as the back of the building and a neglected part of the building, became the formal entry into this new entertainment district. This has dramatically transformed the image of place at that part of the mall since its inception. The Starwood Entertainment Complex at Wellington Green is the first of its kind in the Miami-Dade area. The client and theater operator tasked the design team with creating a unique theater experience through textures and materials to be used in clever and unconventional ways. It was imperative that wayfinding and circulation be intuitive and natural while forcing patrons to observe and interact with other mall tenants. Starwood wanted to create a spark of excitement at the mall through dynamic and innovative architecture. The design team achieved these goals through use of lighting elements, colors and textures as wayfinding devices. The renovation has cleverly transformed what was perceived as the service end of the building into a bright new welcoming entry. An existing loading zone, trash enclosure, and transformer yard have been reconfigured and concealed utilizing new architectural elements that initiate an intuitive wayfinding journey. To provide optimized sightlines and acoustics, the existing roof was raised 15’-0” above the its existing position. Using patented technology and techniques, this engineering feat created an overall volume that provides theater goers with an exceptional movie experience. Through use of color and material, the interiors are activated to define the various functions, lounge areas, ticketing, and restaurant entries. All 10 theater auditoriums have a distinct color that is associated with them, providing a playful interaction with movie-goers as they navigate from color coded walls and floor patterns that lead them to their movie experience. The ultimate goal of the project was to increase visibility, awareness, and sales. The theater and adjacent restaurant have been wildly successful and continue to increase foot traffic. The transformative design of the project has cemented itself as an icon for the Wellington community.
Prior to moving into their new headquarters in 2017, William Blair had occupied the same office for more than 20 years. Traditional in layout and image, the space no longer supported the organization’s positioning in the market, business growth goals, or daily working dynamics. William Blair envisioned an upgraded experience for clients and guests, so it was important to ensure that the aesthetic aligns with the high-quality service they provide. Thus, the executive committee made decisions with these values in mind: to establish an enduring foundation of timeless authenticity; to build relationships in a uniquely welcoming, engaging, and globally fluent atmosphere; and to create an experience that reflects William Blair’s standards of practice. Built on an enduring foundation of timeless authenticity and global fluency, the completed design is a uniquely welcoming and engaging environment grounded in warmth, an ever-evolving experience of discovery, and connection. A world map stretches across the entryway wall and is made from layered and textured water jet-cut marble. Its subdued impact is purposeful, offering a subtle reinforcement of William Blair's global reach. Dynamic etched glass patterns dramatically transform the public spaces throughout the day as sun angles change. By delicately layering line and luminousness, the ethereal glass screens in the reception and conference center permeate the space with steady movement and an enduring energy. The glass fins are ethereal yet statuesque, balancing delight with an impression of stability and dependability. Their sculptural quality is juxtaposed by a futuristic look and feel. Floating over the elegantly angled panels are uncanny translucent video displays that surprise, captivate, and convey the remarkable story of William Blair. Selective use of finishes reinforces the authenticity goals, including: fumed eucalyptus with a smoky aged coloration and bold figuring, saw-cut stone on elevator walls, and a unique grey limestone quarried from a small hill in Italy. The space is a constant reminder that a forward-looking organization will never stand still. The design process involved workplace strategy discovery sessions, as well as identification of design priorities including: right-sizing individual space, offering individual and group choice, mobility, and improved amenities. After assessing the most effective use of space, William Blair has improved private workspaces, enhanced technology integration, and incorporated adjustable workstations, open collaboration zones, and a diversity of meeting rooms. New amenities include a full-floor conference center, full-service café, 100-person auditorium with raked seating and 20-foot-wide touch-screen AV wall, and a studio for broadcast recording. Enhanced concierge and food services are among the other notable upgrades. In a post-occupancy survey, William Blair reported an increase in positive client experience at the office by 30 percent and a 47 percent increase in talent recruitment due to the new workplace environment.
The challenge of this project was to create subtle branding through all the space without making it too obvious. There is an open flow for people to walk all around the store even around the cashier. The focal point mainly in the design is the back of the store changed by materials elements and by the horizontality of the floor & the pendants above the desk. The special service to offer is to customize your own package according to your needs. The “make your own” is located at the heart of the floor plan. The desk has a C shape representing the branding of the logo.
In response to the city’s highly-competitive office market, the ownership of 111 South Wacker engaged the design firm to revitalize the Class-A tower’s amenity program, ensuring the building’s standing in the market and appeal to corporate tenants. Through thoughtful spatial planning and innovative design, the design firm exceeded the client’s expectations for this assignment. With the modern office-user in mind, the design firm created 40,000 square feet of unparalleled interior amenity space on the 10th, 11th, and 29th floors. The design for the spaces is highly influenced by a hospitality aesthetic, emphasizing layers, texture, and a mix of industrial and natural materials to create a sophisticated yet comfortable atmosphere. The 10th and 11th floors focus on wellness and feature a renovated and expanded fitness center with a steam room, yoga studio, golf simulator, and shuffleboard. The 11th floor also hosts a large tenant lounge for collaborative work and a coffee bar designed with oversized pendant lighting, custom-made built-in banquettes, and an exposed wood ceiling. A connecting stair adds visual interest and an openness to the space, while facilitating interaction between the two floors. The 29th floor hosts a 400-seat double-height conference space. Inspired by the evening city lights, the designers selected back-lit perforated ceiling panels to create a soft lighting solution for the space. Stepped wall panels with cove lighting accentuate the high ceilings while creating visual movement and a dramatic impact. During the warmer months, tenants can take advantage of an outdoor terrace with expansive views of downtown.
Housing Morningstar Chicago’s Agile Development team, the 14th floor is the first space within Morningstar’s Global Headquarters to be custom designed to suit the occupants. Each space reflects an aspect of the agile development team’s process – the flexible open workspace with moveable sit-stand desks for changing team dynamics, standup meeting rooms for daily morning scrum meetings and “The Drum”- which serves as an auditorium with bleacher-style seating shaped like their signature logo for mid-sprint cycle and final presentations. Morningstar’s open office environment is easily reconfigurable, with movable light scale desks on casters and floor power and data connectivity laid out on a grid. The new floor was intended for engineering and developer teams, and light controls and versatility of space were key to assuring we met this need. Writable surfaces, lockers, and phone rooms also support impromptu needs and a mobile lifestyle within the office. The overall space was planned as a series of boulevards and pavilions, which defined neighborhoods for the teams. The over-sized boulevards create opportunity for impromptu gatherings, while brightly colored pavilions provide identity and support to the neighborhoods at each of the quadrants of the floor plate.
I wanted to attempt to bring eastern tea culture to midwestern culture in an authentic way. I achieved this through using a traditional Asian design aesthetic coupled with a western style of shopping and dining making the space approachable. My concept is combine Eastern tea culture with Western culture. Unlike traditional order-and-go tea stores, my concept only offers in-store consumption of tea to ensure customers have a proper Asian experience with the teas.
Drawing on the industrial base-building design, juxtaposed with the client’s desire to have a warm and non-corporate space, our design response included the blending of the existing space with a flexible, experimental environment that nurtured cross-functional collaboration. Areas dedicated to socialization and spontaneous interaction were enhanced by a custom mural by local artist, The Lie (Jay Turner)”. A barista and café anchors the space, providing a needed and desired communal area that casually brings together employees seated in different areas around the company’s office.
Financial juggernaut CapitalOne set out to position its offices in Chicago as the top destination for financial professionals. Several of Chicago’s top architecture firms were hired for various floors of their offices at the iconic 77 W Wacker tower, with our firm chosen to design the most visible and prestigious: the building’s top two floors. Our designers created an open, airy space by applying an ethereal design concept and palette. We embraced the openness by suspending the mezzanine level from the slab above, keeping a visual connection between floors while maintaining the space below free from columns. Blue glass and carpet tile was also used throughout the space to echo the sky, working harmoniously with cloudy whites and graphical representations of wind patterns splashed on walls and floors. Warm, mid-century modern furniture and lounge chairs grounded this otherwise “office in the clouds” concept, with breakout spaces in all four corners, each with its own unique view. By centering sit-to-stand workstations, ceiling panels, and light fixtures against the building’s large windows, we not only kept the design flush with the building’s beautiful architecture, but also ensured that every employee could enjoy the pristine views of Chicago’s skyline, river, and lake. Once the domain of private offices or board rooms, the corner office view has been democratized for the next generation.
399 Fremont is 42-story luxury apartment development located in San Francisco’s emerging Rincon Hill residential district. The interior design team for the 447-unit tower sought to create an environment that exudes sophistication with modern conveniences. Throughout the public spaces, clean, modern lines and a tonal palette consisting of luxurious materials, warm textures, and elegant lighting provide the backdrop for the building’s highly curated art collection and for dramatic views of the city and the Bay Bridge. The building’s amenities are located on the fifth floor and include a fitness center with dedicated spin studio, a demonstration kitchen with attached private dining room, and an outdoor deck with lap pool.
The concept draws on the adrenaline one feels when competing. The essence of pause that comes with each of these moments brings upon a focus that leads to athletic accomplishment; the split second where one can hear their own heartbeat.
For more than 25 years, Optimo has been a leading maker of handcrafted hats for a global clientele. Located in Beverly, Illinois, a historic neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, Optimo’s recently completed headquarters consolidates its design, operations, and production spaces inside a renovated 100-year old former City of Chicago-owned firehouse. Designed to create an efficient and collaborative workflow, the new headquarters more than doubles Optimo’s production capacity while accommodating future expansion. Expressed as a contemporary workshop with an industrial aesthetic, the design draws from a palette of refined, understated materials, including blackened steel, walnut, and cork. Elegant steel casings frame task and ambient lighting above workstations; custom floor-to-ceiling shelving houses unique hat forms and molds; rolling racks mobilize and organize hats for seamless access on the factory floor; modern and antique machinery are finished uniformly in matte black, and restored glazed-brick walls wrap the daylit double-height space. On the second floor, an expansive studio space serves as a design atelier to host clients and guests. Remnants of the original firehouse can be seen throughout, including porthole windows flush to the floor where firepoles once stood, allowing visual connections to the workroom below. Mounted to the ceiling, a 10-foot-wide handcrafted circular light fixture anchors the room, while an immense walnut table recalls the design of the factory workbenches below. Framing the east wall, full-height steel shelves display a collection of objects collected from decades of hat making. Adjacent to the atelier, a private office is delineated by open shelving designed in the same style as the industrial carts used on the production floor. Leather sofas, brass light fixtures, and dark walls create a comfortable ambiance in the lounge area. Located behind the south wall, a full-scale kitchen is finished with marble repurposed from the original firehouse showers.
Planning Strategy: With a pronounced perimeter window line, it was important to disengage the workstations from the window line to freely float the benching stations and thus optimize usage. This also gave permission for the perimeter bays to be used by all, rather than only the workstations immediately adjacent to the windows. Answering the call to engage the staff upon entering the elevator lobby, the design team relocated the client standard stock ticker from the belt line of the wall to the base line so as to stay in the eye-range of the staff as they walked and looked at their mobile devices. Increased Metrics: The USF/person was decreased to 123 USF/person, while the conference room space was increased from 1:6 ratio (conference seat: head count) to a 1: 1.5 ratio. In addition to the enclosed meeting spaces over 170 seats for open collaboration & alternative work areas were provided. There were also worship rooms, wellness rooms and private phone rooms in addition to the multiple cafes & coffee bars. Compliance & Security: As with any financial institution, security (internal & external) is a major factor in the design. This project was no different and added an additional layer of European guidelines which had to be met while still working within the boundaries of Chicago’s fire-life-safety requirements. Infrastructure: In addition to the architectural coordination required for the two generators, roof top cooling units, supplemental air for the trading floor and other mission critical requirements; the team created a 2-story reception area and designed a floating stair which hangs from the above ceiling structure.
For this restaurant, the designer was challenged to create a minimum 48-seat dining room, 12-seat private dining space, and 16-seat bar while leaving enough room for the minimum 1000 square foot kitchen. The first floor space at 180 North Wacker contains many preexisting architectural details such as structural columns, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a unique footprint. The restaurant had to address the issues of external light and sound from the site's location on the Chicago River adjacent to the elevated tracks of the Green and Pink lines. Upon entry to the space a small to-go coffee counter offers people a low-commitment way to "try out" the space before sitting down for a meal. The arabica bean is Ethiopia's main export, and they take their tea and coffee very seriously. The bar and main booth seating are set up along the same angle of the building envelope to help the space feel seamless with the exterior. A blue acid-washed bar and series of lanterns that vary in scale and height play with the view of the Chicago river from the north and west sides of the space. While the main dining room is meant to be bright and bustling, the private dining space offers a calming respite. This is represented in the artwork chosen for each space: while the dining room features a vibrant piece in traditional Ethiopian style, the private dining space offers a view in Simien Mountain National Park that also serves to mirror the Chicago River. The hands-on nature of the cuisine inspired the booth seating, which accommodates a wide variety of seating combinations to encourage people to bring their friends and family to build community at the dinner table. The semi-open kitchen is delineated by a series of windows mimicking the exterior of the space. This not only visually unifies the interior and exterior, but allows guests to see in to the kitchen to view the preparation of a cuisine they may not be familiar with, given the lack of representation in the neighborhood. This unification gives a seamless experience to the guest, who is simultaneously taken to a new locale while still feeling at home in Chicago.
The Gallery on Wells is a new LEED Gold residential tower located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. This project is comprised of two buildings linked by a common corridor: an existing office building and a new 40-story residential building that contains 442 residential units. As a result, one of the biggest design challenges was creating a cohesive design that caters to both user groups. This programming challenge resulted in the design decision to strategically place shared community flex areas in the office portion of the linked tower. The programming decision optimizes city views for all users and includes visibility to the shared 26,000 square foot amenity roof deck. Additional shared amenity spaces include an outdoor lap pool, a professionally managed fitness center and various lounge rooms, including a game room. Dark finishes accented with pops of color, museum-quality artwork, and customized wallcoverings successfully cater to both demographics in a seamless manner that simultaneously exudes professionalism and the comfort of home. Upon entering the residential lobby, a depth of layering welcomes visitors and residents. An element of surprise is introduced as one moves through the space, where a decorative concrete block screen and stained wood slats unveil a bright elevator foyer. A unique amenity at The Gallery on Wells is a coffee shop adjacent to the main residential entry. The client envisioned a fluidity between the lobby and the coffee shop to result in a casual yet sophisticated interior. To retain the formality of a residential entrance, the design team introduced a concept to distinguish a transition between the spaces: a large entry portal of blackened steel, heavy velvet drapery and decorative floor tile, which now creates a marked hospitality niche.
The leadership team of this design firm wished to build a transformational culture, rather than a transactional one, in their Chicago office. We strove for transparency, accountability, open dialogue and constructive criticism, with the goal of creating an inclusive process involving every team member. Three years in their original location, the shortcomings of their space began to impede their work and undermine their cultural aspirations. The office did not speak to their process or facilitate it, nor did it offer the ability to host clients, speak to their brand or help recruit talent. Realizing the urgent need for a new office space in Chicago, the design firm’s leadership team began an honest, open dialogue to ensure that everyone was aligned. The team included trusted partners advising on real estate, construction, lighting, acoustics and engineering. They drew upon internal talent in building systems, energy modeling, place performance, WELL buildings, LEED and lean process improvement to bring the same level of critical thinking that they would utilize for a client. They conversed with the firm’s leadership to understand their vision for the Chicago office, and what we proposed represented a dramatically different approach than had previously considered. In a series of dialogues, they engaged their colleagues about what worked, and what did not, to help envision a space that would encourage the culture desired. Their guiding principles became a touchstone throughout the course of the project. To better understand how people worked, they engaged in research. Through an inclusive approach, they moved toward solutions that would achieve results based on acceptance by the users. The result is a living studio supporting their growth and evolution. A space that offers them, creative, entrepreneurial people with diverse personalities and needs, the choice of environments for group and individual work. It challenges and pushes them to rethink their engagement and relationships with vendors, partners and clients. Their people and process are visible, allowing them to invite clients in, not as someone to be held at arm’s length, but as a partner and a co-creator.
McDermott, Will & Emery faced the difficult choice of staying within the traditional confines of law firm design or adopting a new concept that could potentially alienate senior attorneys. Our design firm found the optimal balance by designing an office rooted in tradition, but with modern amenities, forward-thinking technology, and housed in the newest Class A tower in Chicago. MWE's main reception became a powerful two-story space with floor to ceiling glass, showcasing an impressive view of Lake Michigan and Chicago’s skyline and river. One floor up, we designed and built a bright and welcoming Community Center that shares more in common with an upscale hotel lounge than a space for unscheduled legal meetings. Borrowing from the restaurant industry, the space includes banquette-style seating and a sliding door that create smaller spaces within this relaxed environment. In doing so, the space can exist as an extension of the office despite its hospitality-based look and feel. As the legal industry follows broader patterns by becoming increasingly mobile, employees are being given the opportunity to choose their work environment. This community center shows that an elegant and comfortable space can encourage relaxation without sacrificing the infrastructure and spaces necessary to conduct business. The results are apparent beyond the office's aesthetic appeal. Partner-in-charge Lydia R.B. Kelley has noted that "productivity has gone up, and we haven't changed anything other than moving here."
Capturing the emotion of a brand that has been a platform for imagination and delivered smiles for 100 years, Radio Flyer's new workplace refreshed it's manufacturing warehouse into a uniquely authentic and inspirational place to work and innovate for the next 100 years. A reimagination of how their employees work introduced a new site masterplan concept, one that drew it's entrance off two highly trafficked roads and to a more intimate side street. In so doing, they asked that the new first impression and front entry spur the imagination to wonder and dream into the future. A new channel glass façade and larger-than-life front doors transform the east side of the art deco manufacturing facility. Memories of Radio Flyer products and the imagination they inspire drove the concept of the larger-than-life doors. Young and old alike are intrigued by their size and with the glimpse of an oversized Coasterboy flying just behind them. Meaningful cultural occasions of the Flyer employees are announced by color shifting LEDs that backlight the channel glass façade throughout the year. The Heritage Area celebrates the brand's legacy of innovation displaying product from the original Liberty Coaster wagon to the cans of gasoline they manufactured during World War II. The space tells stories of the product in context with world events through larger than life picture frames, wall displays, and nostalgic pair of tin can telephones. The workplace celebrates the history of the family with a plan organized similar to that of a home. The kitchen and café has a 32 foot long communal table that anchors the space, providing a humble place for co-workers to socialize and collaborate. The family room is an open working lounge with flexible seating that is reimagined throughout the course of each day to support the needs of their employees, The Flyers. The Playlab is a unique product testing area where prototypes are evaluated in a flexible teaming area by way of an expansive one-way window. The space is labeled the Test Track, inviting kids to wonder, imagine, and play in an open sky-lit area with acoustic murals on three of its walls. Beneath the restored warehouse sawtooth roof, The Flyers work in an open plan environment equipped with sit to stand desks and personal storage areas, including scooter parking for those that choose to roll rather than walk around the facility. Chicago artist Anthony Lewelin animates the west wall of the workplace with a vibrant and interpretive mural, above which, a portion of the original overhead wagon transport system was restored. Wagons are displayed like they were 80 years ago, flying overhead from the paint station toward the drying area. With views to the Backyard, the sun-filled space honors the building's history while providing Flyers with a work environment that balances health, technology, and well-being. The Backyard was created after portions of the manufacturing buildings were demolished, making way for an amazing outdoor amenity for the employees. It's lush landscape is comprised of native and adaptive plantings, diverse walking paths, and a central lawn space that accommodates group activities and picnics. It also contains a cistern to capture rainwater, geothermal technology, and a bioswale network, all of which contributed to it being certified a LEED Platinum project.
When the Napleton Automotive Group invested in new corporate headquarters building, they wanted to "Cool it up". The goal was to reposition Napleton’s national corporate brand to reflect next generation thinking and Family ownership transitions. To do that, the architect deconstructed the existing typical office build out and reduced it to express the bare concrete structure and developed an open plan that would reflect stair stepping exterior walls. By integrating expanded metal ceilings with alternating stepped LED lighting and primary color accent strips in floor, the plan took on a completely fresh appeal. Interior Branding included integrating 60 years of dealership neon signs on stepping walls that provide open visibility across the open floor plan from east to west. An unexpected display of two mint condition classic cars as you step off the 6th floor elevator makes this a memorable statement for a true "Captain of the Industry".
The innovative headquarters transformation of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (A.J. Gallagher) included a move from Itasca back to 2850 W. Golf Road in Rolling Meadows. CEO Pat Gallagher had a historic and sentimental attachment to the building because they occupied the space from 1974-1991. Construction began in August 2015 and employees began moving in by February 2017. Nearly every aspect of the 11-story, 315,000 SF Rolling Meadows headquarters was redesigned, including the original 1976 exterior brick columns, moving the entrance from the 2nd floor the 1st floor, and complete renovation of the interiors. The design plans support A.J. Gallagher’s goal of creating a space that would incorporate their team-based values and evolving workplace strategy. Open workstations, private offices, and 80 conference rooms with state-of-the-art AV were strategically placed throughout to accommodate nearly 1,800 employees. Previously a private office rich environment, the new efficient floor plans offer private offices designed with glass fronts. They are grouped in pods with open workstations between to allow natural light into all workplace areas. General office design took inspiration from the client’s 90-year history. The founding Chairman’s original, reclaimed desk is displayed on the top office floor as a reminder of the company’s legacy, and branding is incorporated throughout from wall coverings to digital displays that rotate updates and long-standing company values. The headquarters was also designed to address work style and culture through employee-based amenities. The first level features a front desk concierge, a full-service cafeteria with organic, artisanal food, and a fitness club that offers free fitness classes. As an extension of the client’s emphasis on wellness, each office floor is equipped with a room that has either a treadmill desk or bike desk. The first-floor communal space called “The Commons” serves as a creative space for socialization and cross-group collaboration. It includes multiple seating areas, meeting spaces, a tech bar, a game room, and access to a new outdoor patio. This redevelopment posed a design problem related to the retention pond. Initially, the building’s lowest floor sat more than two feet below the pond’s highest water level. Working with the civil engineer, the pond was regraded and dredged to create more volume for water storage. An innovative pumping system was implemented to allow the water level to be pumped down in advance of storms, and new piping was installed to allow the pond water to properly flow off-site into the local sewer system. Reaching this complex solution was one of the project’s most successful design achievements. The project also posed a design problem related to the existing structure’s outdated and inefficient HVAC and mechanical systems. This challenge was addressed by incorporating modernizations across the HVAC, MEPFP and elevator systems, which offer long-term money-saving efficiencies and contribute to the project’s economic success. Today the building prevails as one of the tallest structures in the community and can be seen from miles away. To highlight its prominent architectural significance, the designs incorporated exterior building lighting systems that vibrantly illuminate the north and south faces of the building at night, contributing to the many design features that make it a distinguished visual landmark. “Welcome home. We are thrilled to have you back,” said Mayor Tom Rooney.
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