The new Chicago office for Condé Nast and Pitchfork represented a unique challenge to meld two disparate office cultures – a venerable media house with a well-followed cutting-edge digital publication. Coming from the Hancock tower and a 2-story residential building in Logan Square, they found a home in the Merchandise Mart. Located in one of the “wedding cake” floors, the space is flooded with light from windows on all sides of the 12,000 SF footprint. The overall design aimed to evoke a certain vibe: comfortable, familiar, and relaxed. It had to have soul, just like the client’s brand. Inspiration was pulled from residential and hospitality environments versus a corporate office. The space peals back existing construction to reveal some of the building’s history: brick walls and poured-in-place concrete structure. A warm finish palette compliments these elements and also forms a backdrop for the strong client artwork and collateral. The office layout worked with a basic kit-of-parts to allow for future growth and flexibility. Spaces used as conference rooms today can later be adapted to offices; partially enclosed huddle areas can become phone rooms. Employees that moved from offices to workstations saw an increase in alternate work environments including focus rooms, reading nooks, a centralized Hub, huddle lounges, and phone rooms with standing height desks. Each offers a unique workstyle and posture to meet their needs. The Hub offers a gathering space in a variety of settings, including a stage ready for acoustic performances from local musicians.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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EMME is a LEED Gold Certified residential tower located in the heart of Chicago’s West Loop. This project was designed to be a green sanctuary in a heavily urban neighborhood. Landscaped open spaces are provided at the building entry, the elevated amenity deck and at the rooftop pool deck. More than 8,000 SF of roof area is dedicated to urban farming. At the building entry, a garden plaza serves as the backdrop for the monument commemorating the Haymarket Square riot, which occurred at the site on May 4, 1886. The site planning of EMME responds to the Haymarket monument with a pocket park intended to provide a natural setting for contemplation of the monument. EMME is programmed and designed to promote a sense of community among the residents, and to encourage awareness of sustainable lifestyle practices. Amenity spaces throughout the building are designed to accommodate group activities such as games, co-working, parties and cooking. Special events are programmed to bring residents together and to educate, such as cooking classes by locally renowned chefs using ingredients grown on the rooftop farm. Friendly competitions are held to measure energy efficiencies between different resident floors in the building. Since our inception, GREC Architects has been committed to creating experiential spaces that benefit the community, as well as pushing the boundaries of modern design. We remain focused on advancing Chicago’s architectural experience by delivering thoughtful and engaging environments at every opportunity.
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When Savills Studley moved its Chicago headquarters to a new tower in the city’s West Loop, it sought new ideas to create a space that met the diverse, changing needs of its team and industry. Occupying a single floor of the tower, the new 16,500-square-foot office is infused with daylight and incorporates a variety of workspace typologies to meet a wide range of the team’s needs. Employing a palette of dark wood, polished stone, and finished metal, the space offers team members refined spaces for collaboration, client meetings, focused solo work, casual conversation, and relaxation. To maximize the tower’s floor-to-ceiling views of the Chicago River and the Loop, meeting spaces, conference rooms, and equal-sized private offices are glass-enclosed, while semi-private and collaborative workspaces are open to allow daylight to permeate the space. Small, private study rooms provide interruption-free, quiet spaces for calls. At the heart of the office, a café and lounge—furnished with couches, booths, café tables, and a counter lined with stools—features a stunning view of the city and fosters interaction and a sense of community. A second café area adjacent to reception provides space for informal client working sessions. Designed to facilitate well-being, collaboration, and community, the new Chicago office efficiently meets the diverse needs of the firm’s growing team.
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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.
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The Forum is a new building on the Midwestern campus for a Swiss company, and it is the first building to open as a planned revitalization of that campus. An amenities building housing dining with servery, coffee bar, fitness center, health clinic, conference center and campus security, it is also the front door to the campus for all visitors. The company has prescribed Modernist design principles adhering to Bauhaus beliefs in simplicity, efficiency and honesty of materials. As designers, our challenge was to balance those principles with Midwestern culture to create a vibrant, engaging campus hub. The space is comprised of pure forms with minimal pattern or color, allowing the natural materials—wood, marble, basalt—to be highlighted. All areas of the space are amply lit with natural light. Exterior sensored sunshading, coupled with interior sensors help balance interior light levels, while clerestory windows bring natural light into the mostly internal shared space of the conference center, helping to enliven it as a place to connect with colleagues between meetings. A curvilinear stair, which prominently spirals through the three-story building, contrasts against the rectilinear form. The dynamic wood enclosure makes the stair a sculptural focal point, and provides wayfinding clarity, both as a point-of-reference and as the primary means for moving between floors. It greets guests as they enter the building, carries them up to their meetings in the top-floor conference center, and conveys them down to café and casual work areas—a helix binding all together.
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Acting as Interior Designer, Environmental Graphics Designer and Architect of Record, the firm’s goal was to develop a store that was saturated with the storied history of the Chicago Cubs and pay homage to the legends both on the field and off. The client requested a retail setting that not only allowed the customers to stock up on the latest and most unique Cub’s gear quickly before the start of a game, but an experiential environment that allowed the fans to view the team’s trophies and create a memory on the second floor with Augmented Reality green screen installation. In order to satisfy a customer that, at times, would need to check out quickly to get to their seats for the first pitch, the firm efficiently laid out eight cash wraps to meet demand when lines become long. Movable fixtures allowed for space adaptations and reconfigurations to accommodate always-changing and seasonal merchandise: from blankets to backpacks to jerseys. Under the grand central stair, the firm designed glass museum vignettes of rarely-seen memorabilia from the team’s 148-year history with the goal of not only delighting the Chicago Cubs fan, but also to visually drawing the customer The customer is welcomed into the store through one of two entrances next to Wrigley Park. Drawn in by the gleaming ‘C’ logo lit by LED, the fan is greeted by two monumental hat walls featuring styles only available at Flagship. From there, the stair landing features a spectacular 9-flatscreen video wall streaming up-to-the-minute Cubs content, including live games. Journeying across the second floor, an inviting green screen utilizes augmented reality technology to transport fans to a number of locations throughout Wrigley Field, virtually capturing realistic photos and sharing the photos instantly across social media platforms. Real ash bats were cut in half for the backdrop of the video wall, while aluminum baseball bats were used as accent pendant lighting. All signage was specified with the custom Pantone of ‘Cubbie Blue’ and the stairs were designed with a nod to the iconic ironwork at Wrigley Field. The firm collaborated with a local Muralist to honor Cubs legend, Ernie Banks, on the reclaimed ash wood wall behind the cash wrap. Additionally, all apparel brand signage on the store perimeter was designed as magnetic, allowing for flexibility in merchandising, adding new brands as partnerships are forged. Laying out the store for counter clockwise shopping, jerseys and hats were given prime placement in between the store’s two entrances as the top-selling SKUs. Adjacencies were strategically planned with women’s and children’s items occupying the rest of the first floor and higher-ticket, game-used merchandise upstairs. Mobile checkout and cash wrap stations were developed and integrated for peak, game-day sales. Upstairs, next to a second cash wrap counter, a computer-controlled embroidery station creates the perfect, personalized jersey for the die-hard. All fixtures, with the exception of the slat wall, were custom-designed by the firm and fabricated by the Millworker. Industrial in nature to reflect the materials of the ballpark, the fixtures were designed to be flexible with locking casters at the base and constructed out of wood and iron. Wood, concrete, iron and steel were utilized throughout the store, not only as durable materials for this high-volume store, but also because of their relationship to the ballpark. Additionally, automobile paint was used for the ‘C’ logo hat display to draw reflect the recessed LED-lighting. On the exterior façade, the team custom-designed catcher’s mask sconces in addition to miniature, backlit baseball bats on the overhang underneath the channel LED logo and store signage. Above the grand staircase, the statement piece is a baseball fixture, resplendent with red accents. The floor fixtures, while custom, were designed simply, so as not to impair sightlines. Along the perimeter of the space, displays were raised in order to showcase merchandise while creating visual interest. In the summer, Renlita doors are opened to allow a seamless shopping experience and bring in the neighborhood. The Chicago Cubs’ singular goal is to reward generations of Cubs fans’ support and loyalty. The year that the store was designed, the Cubs ‘broke the curse’ and won the World Series for the first time in 71 years – time to celebrate! The Grand Opening of both the store as well as the Park at Wrigley was on opening day of the following year, April 10, 2017. The brand speaks true throughout the store, from the mannequins proudly wearing Cubs gear on the custom-designed ‘home plate’ at the entrance to the colloquial nod to Cubs trivia above the cash wrap.
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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.
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Sunstar Americas acquired nearly 80 acres of land along Interstate 90 in Schaumburg, IL from the Archdiocese of Chicago, infusing new life into Chicago’s “Golden Corridor” with the development of a new corporate campus. Sunstar Americas’ new 300,000 SF North American Headquarters and Manufacturing Facility overlooking natural wetlands and a prairie floodway preserve, consolidates clean manufacturing, within a “Class A” corporate office headquarter campus. The three-story building features a 350-foot long gallery running north-south between its offices and factory floor. The gallery “lanterns” on the north and south ends act as beacons drawing attention from the motorists on the Jane Addams Tollway. Gallery and cafe are central shared community gathering spaces that integrate manufacturing with corporate office populations
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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.
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The challenge with this home was the need create a new look, update the traditional style, while working around some existing pieces of furniture that were to stay in the home. Some of the clients furniture was reupholstered and used in other rooms. We changed the entire color scheme of the home by repainting the walls. This began the process to update the look and feel of their home. The living room fell right off of the foyer and was the focal point as guests came into their home. The piano was the only existing piece we kept in this room. New floor plan was created making the space easy to entertain in. New furniture, lighting, custom drapery, new wall color and faux finish to the fireplace. We also lightened up the built-in bookcase by framing them with molding, painting and adding wallpaper to the background. Dining room furniture stayed, we selected new wall color,wallpaper, lighting, area rug, custom drapery, lighting and reupholstered dining room chairs. Our client was tired of the existing drab, muddy colors in her kitchen so we painted and glazed existing cabinets and added new hardware. We also added new light fixtures, fresh new back splash, new kitchen table with zinc top and chairs, as well as custom roman shades and area rug. Custom floral was added to complete the design. The master bedroom was another space we designed around the existing bedroom furniture. We complemented the furniture with custom bedding and drapery and new wall color. The ceiling is very high, so to add interest and dimension to the room and designed faux beams to the ceiling as well as adding trim detail to the walls. The challenge we faced in this room was finding a solution to reduce natural light coming through the small decorative window. We solved this problem by adding exterior slat system that covered the window as well as interior shutter treatment. Double traversing drapery with blackout lining also helped reduce the amount of light that came into the room. Master bath cabinets were painted and glazed. New hardware, counter top, lighting, mirrors and custom valance completed the look. The office needed work space for the husband and wife to wok at independently. We created a new floor plan including two desk and executive chairs, reupholstered chairs from the living room, re-framed existing art , custom roman shades, and reused living room area rug.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Located at the converging branches of the Chicago River, Wolf Point West is a 500-foot-tall tower rising 48 stories and featuring 509 rental units within 571,000 SF. LEED Silver certified, the tower is composed of a series of layered planes that form the composition of the building’s massing, creating a slender and elegant profile on a prominent Chicago site. To create an open and welcoming first impression within the 700 SF lobby, the designers utilized reflective materials throughout to be reminiscent of the river. Visitors first face the river, making this critical connection to the water their initial experience of the building’s interior. The lobby features a decorative screen, visible both inside and outside, with a pattern that directly references the Chicago Municipal Device, symbolizing the three branches of the Chicago River meeting at Wolf Point. This screen gives residents a desired privacy, while allowing light into the lobby. On the riverfront level, a riparian lounge offers 360-degree views of the Chicago River and city. The designers utilized a mirror-clad column as an opportunity to emphasize these reflective views as a focal point. Color selections and qualities of the fabric and materials further enhance this design intent. The business center on LL1 offers residents the opportunity to work from home in a professional and contemporary workplace environment. Within a narrow footprint, the designers created a business center with three distinct zones including private break-out rooms, communal tables, and a row of lounge chairs – all with views to the Chicago River. ¬¬A large structural column posed a potential challenge for the designers when designing the furniture layout for the two center offices but the design team creatively incorporated the column into the design by establishing built-in banquet seating with a work table. The center’s zoned areas successfully accommodate a variety of work styles and purposes, providing residents with luxury amenities as well as flexibility and creative workplace interiors. The 46th floor amenity level provides expansive views of the Chicago skyline for all to experience: a deck and double-height fitness center offer opportunities for relaxing and exercising, while the upscale Sky Lounge provides options for entertaining guests.
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The motivation behind the renovation was to elevate the center’s ranking from number three to number two in the domestic market, just behind Mall of America. The original scope of work included selective updates to interior finishes, environmental graphics, furniture, fixtures and equipment and lighting. To truly take the center to the next level, that scope of work was amended to include a two-story, 20,000-square-foot expansion entailing renovation to the restrooms, food court, and entry. A New Von Maur department store was added to the retail mix along with a maker’s market for local specialty retailers (which will double as a community hub for classes and events) and a two-story, 30,000-square-foot food emporium. To give life to the “Simply Minnesota” design concept, the team specified a color and materials palette that introduces rustic, clean, crisp and sophisticated references to nature. As part of this overall interior makeover, the team took a holistic approach to reimagine every point of the consumer journey, from the arrival experience through to check-out and food and beverage. Improved lighting, sightlines and new technology serve to streamline the shopping experience and ease navigation, and a variety of new spaces to support increased dwell time—unique environments in which shoppers can relax, socialize, eat and drink. A 400-car elevated parking structure is designed to accommodate an increase in footfall. The team also redesigned the center’s logo and holiday décor. From a sustainability standpoint, efficient plumbing and low-flow fixtures were specified for the restroom renovation, and LED lighting replaces existing metal halide, florescent and halogen fixtures. New glazing systems were introduced at all renovated entries, and rooftop unit packages with economizers help to reduce the overall energy load and cost associated with cooling. The new Rosedale Center is successful by every measure—economic, social and environmental—and provides the community with a new gathering place with a strong sense of place and pride. The redesign addressed several aspects of the center that help ensure its future relevance and continued viability for decades to come. Shopper feedback has been incredibly positive, confirming the efficacy of the upgrades and validating the design team’s approach to creating an experiential, sought-after destination.
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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.
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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.
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In less than two years, marketing software company ActiveCampaign quadrupled its staff, becoming a buzz-worthy name in the tech industry and one of the fastest growing companies in Chicago. The CEO and founder envisioned a new office that was truly employee-centric, and wanted to avoid the monotony of a large corporate office. Our challenge was to create a warm, energetic workplace that embodied the company culture, while creating zones for presentation, collaboration, focus and relaxation in the new headquarters. In order to make the workplace functional and comfortable for the staff, we created a variety of spaces to suit all kinds of work styles: large and small, formal and informal, open and closed, high tech and low tech. Bold branding enhances the perforated metal and light reception desk, capturing the company’s unique spirit with a memorable first impression. Original crown molding and large windows hint at the history of the building, melding with rustic, industrial materials, and references to ActiveCampaign’s fantasy and sci-fi loving nerd culture. The space was chose to eventually accommodate 350 people, since ActiveCampaign anticipates reaching that number relatively soon. However, when they began occupying the space, they had less than half of that number of staff. So, another challenging aspect was making a thoughtful plan for them to grow into the space, and keeping the open office from looking like a field of desks. We also wanted to make sure the staff was near the abundant natural light at their workstations, and knew we needed to make the best corners shared lounge space. We helped the client maintain team morale by collaborating with staff on some of the quirkier design elements. Colorful LED lights and textured paneling enhance a whopping 57 conference rooms, named by the staff after fictitious locations from comic books, video games, movies and novels. We also used bright, corner lounge spaces to break up color-coded “neighborhood” zones. Coined the “sad space” by the CEO early in the design process, a remote, alley-facing, dark area of the office was transformed into a shelf-lined game room and leisure area with the feel of an old-fashioned men’s club. In the aptly named Knowhere, one bookshelf doubles as revolving door, hiding a speakeasy-style lounge for all of those happy hour strategy sessions.
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The new Sunset Ridge School, a feeder school for the nationally acclaimed New Trier High School and a tangible symbol of the community’s commitment to education, is designed specifically to champion children’s evolving developmental needs as their world expands through education—from enhancing self-awareness to encouraging community connections to inspiring global citizenship. This “crescendo” of holistic learning, reinforced by the building’s organization and design, was conceived to launch students into successful futures while also encouraging life-long learning and community engagement. Through an inclusive planning process, strong, pervasive visions and goals were collaboratively established and translated into actionable design parameters. Qualitative parameters were equally important as quantitative ones to the success of this project. Throughout the process, many ideas were solicited, and many opinions were heard, including the voices of students, staff, administrators, parents, and community members. Conversations began with an exploration of possibilities without regard for general physical constraints. Through this approach, the discussion was able to focus on what was best for the new school. Designed as a “community,” grades are organized into three distinct, two-story “neighborhoods,” each based on the developmental needs of children at different grade levels. Students transition from the District’s PK-3rd grade building into Sunset Ridge School’s 4th-5th grade main floor neighborhood. As students’ progress, they transition upstairs to a middle school environment, with separate 6th grade and 7th-8th grade neighborhoods. Noticeable neighborhood differences include: • Cubbies inside 4th-5th grade homerooms, and lockers outside classrooms for 6th and 7th-8th graders • Exterior windows which are smaller to focus views outdoors for younger students, and floor-to-ceiling in older students’ spaces • Flexible furnishings that transition from single-student work surfaces to group work tables, as students move from “me” to “we” • An operable wall for the 4th-5th grade neighborhood living room; living rooms in the 6th and 7th-8th grade neighborhoods are designed for more independent, spontaneous small group collaboration • Distinct interior academic neighborhood color palettes, brought together in the village commons The neighborhoods are self-contained but can be connected when collaboration among grades or subject matter is desired. Multi-age group projects, reading and math support sessions, ESL classes, and gifted programs all happen within the same neighborhood via folding glass partitions, open gathering spaces, and transparent group study rooms. A unique “village commons” at the heart of the school blends library, dining, and performance spaces, to nurture the creative spirit of the child and provide opportunities to engage the local community. The public path extends from the main entry past the activity gym, through the village commons, and culminates at the two-story learning commons, vertically connecting academic neighborhoods. To inspire and encourage lifelong student health and wellness, the school includes a climbing wall/yoga classroom, outdoor learning areas, and indoor/outdoor fine arts spaces. Outside the neighborhoods, the design extends learning beyond the traditional classroom into such spaces as a project-based maker lab, a visual arts studio with an outdoor activity terrace, and music rehearsal spaces which also serve as emergency safety shelters. The building was designed and built to capitalize on a wide range of sustainable elements, including rooftop photovoltaic arrays, a living wall supporting return air filtration, energy performance monitoring, and cisterns to capture rainwater for landscape irrigation. Many of the elements are visible to students and are linked via QR codes which allow the building to serve as a living textbook for sustainable strategies. The building also showcases a commitment to pursuing Net Zero Energy and LEED Platinum Certification.
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One South Dearborn’s ownership group needed to improve their existing amenities program to help retain their anchor tenant and to market themselves as a modern office building. We gave the space a relaxed, lounge vibe to contrast with the building’s conservative, corporate interiors, adding the new amenities to a floor with an existing fitness center and property management office. Now tenants can drop by for a coffee in the lounge, arrange a meeting in the conference room or retreat from the daily grind in the yoga/massage area.
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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.
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Clark-Lindsey completed a master plan and phased campus repositioning. Following a first phase addition of new villas, the organization focused on expanding wellness offerings and providing a new environment for long term care residents. Clark-Lindsey partnered with The Green House Project and design team to help usher in a new standard of care for those experiencing Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illnesses. Two new Green House® residences will provide an atmosphere designed to feel less institutional and more like home. Each Green House features 12 private bedrooms, specially trained caregivers, and spaces designed to feel like home and encourage social engagement. From the outdoor courtyard, library and den areas to the open kitchen providing home cooked meals, the amenities encourage social interaction among elders and caregivers. The interior design reflects a residential composition balanced with the necessary senior friendly attributes. A required commercial kitchen is disguised and adorned with warm wood and beautiful quartz, covering up the functional stainless steel behind and presenting a more home-like setting. Soft muted tones on the floor afford an easy transition between materials, while splashes of color are found within the textiles on the furniture and accent pieces throughout, both at a closer reach to the resident to touch and feel. Clark-Lindsey’s new Wellness Center provides a range of health-focused amenities for older adults to thrive and connect to their community. The Wellness Center includes a rehabilitation and therapy suite, a warm water therapy and exercise pool, and a wellness and fitness suite with a welcoming lobby. Its position at the front door of the campus is a testament to the community’s commitment to wellness, while its strategic location between pieces of the continuum creates interaction amongst all residents within the community. Biophilic elements are incorporated all through the wellness center, the flooring throughout the lobby and corridors resembles the soft texture of river stones and mixture of warm and cool neutrals. Natural woods are found in furniture, ceiling materials and artwork, emphasizing the experience with nature. The therapy and exercise pool offers an expansive connection to the outdoors all while providing some privacy with the leafy pattern etched on the glass panels. The additions and renovations are aimed at extending Clark-Lindsey’s presence as a highly regarded center of excellence in the care of elders in the larger central Illinois region.
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DLA Piper, a global law firm located in more than 40 countries, needed their new Chicago office to act as a platform for their international practice business model. The office design was to establish new standards of workplace performance and intelligence, becoming the new standard by which future DLA offices can be measured. The design creates a high performance, functional workplace and platform for dynamic global collaboration, community outreach and client engagement. Gensler's analysis of current DLA cultural behaviors and aspirational objectives revealed the design's fundamental measures of success: Functionality At a DNA level, the design needed to support highly effective attorney work patterns; recognizing the primacy of supporting focus activity and the pace at which work needs to flow across the floor layout. How well does the space support the function it needs to serve? Agility The design needed to be as adaptable as possible; possessing an inert intelligence to its fabrication and assembly so as to allow for rapid re-configuration to support client-driven case needs. How successfully can the space shift from function to function? Connecting Spread vertically across multiple floors, it was essential that the design provide both a social center to each floor - enabling a sense of community within practice areas - and to create a robust central environment, gathering all levels of the firm in one place to interact socially, to learn and collaborate - both internally and with clients. Is the space successful at bringing people together? Enabling The design creates environments which supports DLA's role as facilitators of conversations impacting the Chicago staff/client community and effecting global business and enabling a global organization. Does the space enable DLA Piper to achieve its goals? A functional, agile design connects and enables a rigorous professional community in an intelligent and inspiring environment of simple, honest materials expertly-crafted, representing—through form and light—the practice core's character and futurized vision.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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From the moment you step-off the elevator into the private suite foyer, the custom millwork finish, imported geometric wall tiles, sleek honed dark granite flooring and the cloud-like sculptural pendant light fixtures frame a dramatic first impression. As you walk-thru the open space, you immediately notice the 270-degree view to the city provided through the floor to ceiling glass enclosure. Throughout the space, the play of light and shadow continues to transform every selected surface into an artistic individual feature. From the sleek European-style kitchen, to the layered textiles of the lounge/bar area and the fluid materials of the master bedroom, there is a harmonic flow of finishes throughout the suite. The main living area features a custom-designed fireplace and live green wall. The uniquely-crafted fireplace structure incorporates a relaxing waterfall and an open flame fireplace encased in a granite stone surround. This vertical sculpture acts as an intimate screen between the formal dining and main living space. Adjacent to the fireplace is a 10’x12’ custom design live plant wall. The low-maintenance plant wall adds a variety of natural colors and textures to the space. Concealed in the neutral white ceiling is a grow-light fixture, used to keep the plants healthy. Together, these two elements represent the calm of nature juxtaposed with the surrounding skyline that wraps you in an urban embrace. Through the use of smart technology, the client is able to control most everything throughout both the suite and roof deck (lighting, hvac, audio visual, sauna and security system) with a touch of a button. This includes the retractable pool cover, whirlpool jets and even the natural light, through digitally operated window treatments. In a home of this stature, only the best technology was put in place. Off the main living area is the outdoor living space. Multiple sliding glass doors lead to the 3,000 sf covered portion of the deck featuring an outdoor kitchen, wet-bar area, table seating, two fire-pits with wrap around sofas and planter boxes used to provide partial screening. The use of natural materials like wood and granite give the space warmth in contrast to the modern expression of the building’s steel, concrete and glass envelope. With the dimmable lighting, flat screen tv’s and a tailored exterior sound system (complete with DJ hook ups), this space offers all the comforts of interior living paired with the great outdoors. Adjacent to the covered outdoor living area is the sweeping outdoor deck. The expansive space includes a linear swimming pool with an integrated hot tub and outdoor shower. Comfortable chaise lounge chairs, chic oversized umbrellas and a luxurious pillowed sun-bed align with the pool edge to create an intimate private setting. To the west of the pool is a large custom built-in millwork grilling area with comfortable outdoor dining furniture. An expansive green roof encompass the rest of the west end of the site. Through strategically placed custom-designed elements, mindfully selected finishes and the latest high-tech toys, this home becomes a respite from the urban grind.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Our firm began its relationship with U.S. Cellular in October 2014, implementing a strategy to increase associate engagement across the portfolio. The goal of the “Chicago-Area-Real-Estate-Project” was to consolidate 4 Chicagoland locations into 2, creating space celebrating their culture, and empowering associates to choose how and where they work. The size of this project made the Regional Support Office (RSO) property location and selection challenging. The design team looked at options ranging from build-to-suit, to relocation, to stay-put scenarios. The first 2 years focused on block/stack development, comparing financials to determine which path to take, a C-Suite discovery programming session, and three rounds of programming meetings with 20 vice presidents Increasing staff required leasing 6 additional floors in the adjacent tower. We developed a flexible environment where associates can work and collaborate in a variety of ways. To help connect the population split across two towers, our firm developed a lobby, coffee shop, Work-café with full service kitchen, and adjoining conference center at the heart of the design to allow associates and guests to co-work and collaborate in a central social zone. A grand ornamental staircase visually and physically connects the Work Café to the conference center. The aesthetic is a departure from a typical technology company. The company’s tagline, we treat you like a neighbor, not a number, constantly informed the design process. Warm metal tones and residential style lounge pieces arranged in intimate groups provide comfort and a familiarity. The reception was brought forward so that guests are greeted upon arrival, while associates collaborate in the work-café beyond.
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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.
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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.
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We were hired to perform comprehensive design and documentation services including needs assessment/programming, schematic design, design development , contract documents and contract administration for the total renovation of a 2-level campus bookstore. We were challenged to re-think what a campus bookstore should be to a college or university. The company intends for their store to be a one-stop shop for class and campus living, so we planned and design 3 key propositions into the concept: 1) Resources: online faculty collaboration, academic support, tech services and demonstration. 2) Branded sports and excellence: legacy and spirit to be communicated. 3) Social: seating, food and beverage, multiple ways to sit, recharge mobile devices, meet, study or collaborate.
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As the college campus is integral to the company, the design uses the campus as a framework. The story begins as one steps off the elevators. The walls are clad in steel--a subtle reference to the steel structures the company builds—as is the wall behind the reception desk. Opposite, a custom curving green wall provides a backdrop. The wall’s plants also form a graphic of an aerial view of a campus plan, tracing the diagonal cuts that would take students diagonally across the quad. The campus plan graphically depicted in this feature wall also informs the floorplan. The workplace is essentially broken into four main blocks of open office with corridors cutting through at diagonals, all surrounding a central quad area. Following the green wall takes you along the boardroom’s curving glass and into the “quad”—a multipurpose café and workspace. The centerpiece of the quad is the curving bar that wraps the green wall. With beer taps and an Italian espresso machine, this is the social heart of the office, where all paths cross. While the CEO sits in the same bench workspace as most of the staff, he has an adjacent meeting area. The privacy of this area is controlled by moveable screens that can either completely enclose the space or fully recede into their pocket. The screen pattern reflects shadows of leaves on a campus sidewalk, further tying the space to the company’s campus roots.
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Comprised of three distinct zones, Roche Diagnostics’ new Learning and Development Center is organized around double-height, sky-lit spaces. North-facing, vertical sawtooth skylight monitors introduce daylight deep into the center of the nave-like plan. Bright white metal and glass establishes a modern aesthetic and consistent brand identity for the Indianapolis campus for the Swiss-based pharmaceutical company. Overlooking the diagnostic laboratories located on the ground floor below, designated Training and Educational zones are located on the second floor. Open, flexible break out spaces are located intermittently between formal meeting rooms, while the adjacent atrium openings enables guests to view the diagnostic laboratories while participating in formal training sessions. Embodying Roche’s commitment to energy efficiency, the building features a series of functional elements that characterize the architectural form and are emblematic of the scientific functionalism inherent in Roche’s products. Incorporating strict requirements for environmental sustainability, simplicity, and efficiency using the vocabulary of modernist architecture, the building established the architectural grammar of this site for the 21st century.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Physics Research Center (PRC) is the new home for theoretical and experimental physics at the University of Chicago. The center was designed as an adaptive reuse of an existing midcentury modern research building – including a gut renovation of the majority of the interior space, a complete new enclosure, and two new occupied floor levels over the existing structure. Sited on the University’s North Science Quad, surrounded by large research buildings, the PRC was conceived as their human-scale counterpart, a building that celebrates the legacy and stature of physics at the University with refinement, rather than size. The original building, called the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research (LASR), was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and completed in 1964. The simple, rational LASR building, characterized by an expressed structure and wide floor plates, presented challenges for renovation due to its intricate reinforced concrete joists and girders, shallow floor-to-floor heights, and uninsulated enclosure. The University chose to retain the existing structure in part to maintain and protect a landmark research project that has been operating continuously in the building since the 1960s. The reuse of the existing structure also reduced the environmental impact and influenced the design of the new construction. Beyond providing modern facilities, the University of Chicago saw this project as an opportunity to consolidate the theorists and experimentalists into a single building. The PRC program was developed to facilitate the engagement between these disciplines with support for both individual focus and group work. The program introduced collaboration spaces for the physicists, which offered the potential for more effective meeting and discourse, but also potential concerns about acoustics. This balance between private focus and group engagement emerged as the primary design challenge in this project. To address the physicists’ concerns, the concept design was diagrammed to clarify the arrangement of public vs private space. This concern was further addressed with extensive acoustic analysis and detailing (finishes, underlayment) throughout the building. This building includes new flexible experimental physics labs and special purpose instrument labs. The design team located light- and electromagnetic-sensitive labs in the building’s interior and basement, taking advantage of the existing building massing and maximizing daylighting on the broad lower levels. Contrary to current workspace trends, which emphasize open office environments, the workspaces in the PRC are primarily private offices, which offer acoustic separation and individual temperature and lighting control. The offices are grouped into neighborhoods for research sub-disciplines. At the connection points between these neighborhoods, small collaboration nodes provide natural breakout space for impromptu discussions. There are also enclosed conference rooms and semi-enclosed lounges to support a variety of meeting types. Shared spaces are connected to natural light, outdoor views, and dining. Vertical circulation increases chance encounters between people, a nudge toward communication and collaboration. A seminar room, which hosts regular lectures, colloquia, and conferences, is cantilevered out from the existing structure, with an expansive window wall that frames the interior activities of PRC for the North Science Quad. The placement and disposition of the room highlights its role as the most public space in the building. This formal, scheduled room is complemented by a lunch commons that serves as the informal center of the PRC. The central location, double-height glass wall, and chalkboard walls make it a natural gathering space for group meals and lunchtime talks. An open stairwell connects circulation across two floor levels. An adjoining roof terrace extends this space to the outdoors and provides a unique vantage point above the quad. The PRC is now a world-class research center on a world-class, architecturally renowned campus—a place that will impact scientific research for decades to come.
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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.
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Mid-America Real Estate Group is an industry leading full-service retail real estate organization serving the Midwest. Their expertise and exclusive focus on retail distinguishes them amongst their competition. The relocation of their Chicago office to the Wrigley building, located on Michigan Avenue, aligns their industry leading position with the heart of retail in the City of Chicago, The Magnificent Mile. The design of their new office space centers around three design pillars that evoke the culture, emotion, and energy of Mid-America Real Estate Group. The ‘Avenue’ is defined as a main thoroughfare through a city that serves as destination for people in the community. Characteristics of an avenue include retail and restaurants flanking each side, softened by beautifully manicured landscaping. An urban environment can be characterized by strong materials, bright lights, and movement. Fusing the attributes of the urban environment with Retro elements from the 1960’s creates a unique style that is bold yet comfortable. ‘The Art of the Deal’ pays homage to the human component of the business and the complex layering of information that is involved with closing each deal. The buildings core layout and perimeter window spacing provided challenges in accommodating the highly privatized program requirements. Several studies were conducted to understand the optimal rhythm for offices along the perimeter to meet the program and maximize real estate. Additionally, creating an open and collaborative environment was challenging based on the highly privatized program and the shape of the floor plate. Creating small moments for the space to open up to allow for a planned collision to occur was a strategy we used when planning.
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191 North Wacker is a class A office building in downtown Chicago. For their tenant amenities, Eastlake conceived two distinct yet interconnected spaces: a large multi-functional conference space and an intimate wi-fi lounge. An expansive glass wall provides visual connection with acoustical privacy between the conference space and the lounge, reinforcing the interrelation of the two programs. The meeting room can be quickly reconfigured with an operable partition to accommodate groups ranging from 20 to 110. The lounge consists of a series of spaces offering varying degrees of privacy and engagement: refreshment bar, game area, and fabric-wrapped “quiet booths.” Occupants of the building can use the lounge as a quiet work space during the day, a meet-up space during lunch, or an after-hours event spot at night.
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CBRE, a well-known global real estate company, decided to consolidate several Chicago suburban offices and its TCC subsidiary into its Oak Brook location and expand and renovate its current space. The newly consolidated office incorporated CBRE’s Workplace 360 initiative, which has no assigned seats and creates various work settings, encouraging employees to be mobile and work anywhere. The workspace types include sit/stand workstations, focus rooms, huddle rooms, conference rooms, touchdown stations, as well as open collaboration areas. The two main collaborative spaces are the HEART and the RISE café. The HEART is a dynamic space simultaneously serving as a concierge, lobby, meeting, and workspace. The RISE café serves as a lower key collaboration lounge with a café function. Both these areas showcase the power of the global CBRE brand, as well as express unique local brand and connections to the suburban Chicago market. These are expressed through a feature map graphic wall, custom glass patterns, as well as glass artwork and local art throughout the space. The CBRE renovation in Oakbrook elevates its connection to the global CBRE network by celebrating growth throughout the greater Chicagoland market. Driven by connections between the urban grid transitioning into the lush pastoral landscapes that surround, this story has been told by balancing warm natural materials with textural urban finishes. Refined details inspired by local fashion and country club culture help to articulate unexpected elements of surprise throughout. The new CBRE space delivers a sophisticated and exciting new experience for clients and staff alike.
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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.
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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.
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The homeowners came to us while their home construction was already underway in Lakeview East, just steps from Lake Michigan. Their aesthetic preference was a modern and minimal home and they talked mostly about their love of the ocean. We created a palette of rift white oak floors, blues and greens in the wall paint, and stunning stone and wallpaper accents. The furniture and fixtures were also organic in nature to contrast with the minimal interior. Custom pieces include a desk and dining room made of reclaimed locust trees, a full height marble vanity and ceiling hung mirrors.
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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.
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As part of an efficiency initiative, the corporate office of this global automotive retail industry technology provider wished to consolidate customer service offices from various regions around the country into a single location housing 1,200 employees. They chose a vacant complex built on property previously home to General Motors in the 1990s. Since this consolidation involved offices across the nation, it was imperative that the new facility be a draw to encourage existing employees to relocate, as well as a magnet for attracting new talent from the area. Additionally, since significant attrition within the existing employee base was anticipated, the facility needed to be up-and-running quickly, and provide space suitable for on-site training of new employees. The facility has been transformed into an agile, world-class customer service center rich with amenities. Design Challenges • Support 1,200 employee capacity in an agile, technology-rich environment • Serve as a magnet for new talent acquisition and employee retention • Rapidly accommodate the first round of new employees, and train them on site • Deliver a fast-track build-out in two phases, within a total of nine months Guiding Principles • Embellish brand as an expression of culture • Maximize natural daylight and sustainable practices • Provide state-of-the-art enabled technology • Support social/work collaboration (open and closed hubs, Avanti Market, café) • Enhance employee wellness (fitness, lockers, etc.) • Ensure high employee satisfaction to increase retention Design Solution Once the real estate team and owner zeroed in on the prospective headquarters building, the design team quickly determined through the use of benchmark data (120 sq. ft./person) that the complex could support all 1,200 employees. Buildings 1 and 3 would hold 850 employees. Building 2 would be reserved to house the remaining employees at a later date. Final plans and design were based on established space standards previously developed by the design team. The design solution addressed the company’s fast-paced, highly collaborative, and interactive work style. The agile workplace environment supports open clusters of product teams comprised of developers, analysts, testers, and managers. Low height panels provide open lines of visual and verbal communication. Quiet rooms, hubs, and team rooms provide a choice between independent and collaborative work. Previously established benchmark statistics, such as the ratio of workstation to conferencing and collaborative seats (1 : 2.5), were used to plan a balanced distribution of benches, workstations, closed hubs, quiet rooms, and open collaborative spaces. Special attention was paid in positioning the amenity spaces on the first floor where traffic could be monitored and controlled by security. When the design team discovered there was an internal stair buried in a drywall enclosure which was structurally suitable for an open stair, they capitalized on this by redesigning the stair to become a feature element in the center of the floor plan. The new stair provides vertical access for employees to the adjacent lounges, and encourages informal social interaction. Other creative design elements include the use of LED lighting to replace fluorescent and reduce electricity usage, the addition of bold graphics (local architect themes), and shaped accent walls denoting the brand color. Brand expression can be found on both featured drywall forms through applied brand color and in the graphics applied to the glass hub fronts. The variation in architectural graphics on each hub’s glass front provides wayfinding and names for room scheduling. Renderings of the facility interior, which showcased the numerous amenities and natural daylight-infused spaces were shared early in the project with both current and potential employees as a mechanism for recruitment. The project has been well received by executives and employees alike. At the grand opening, the CEO expressed his satisfaction with the fact that this former GM property is once again home to an automobile-related enterprise, and a vibrant part of the business community. The circle is now complete.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Moment is a 47-story, 540-unit luxury apartment tower in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. The sophisticated and elegant interior design brings to life the client’s vision of developing a residential tower centered on wellness, vitality, and mindfulness. The development boasts over 40,000 square feet of amenity space, split between two floors. The rooftop features an outdoor pool, sundeck, and lounge with views of the city and Lake Michigan. The main amenity deck is located on the ninth floor and offers a variety of social spaces including a community lounge, library, and media room. A wellness center offering fitness, yoga studio, and sauna and steam rooms overlooks a large, elevated outdoor lawn. A small serenity garden provides residents with a more private, quiet outdoor space for reflection. The interior design for the project was inspired by the notion of an urban retreat – a light, bright, and comfortable environment nestled amongst an active cityscape. Through the use of light wood, a cool color palette, modern finishes, and elegant fixtures, the design evokes a sense of ease and respite; it provides residents with an environment conducive to stress relief.
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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!
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Our main design objective was to make our client's corporate furniture fit a residential feel while working on a very low budget. The showroom was designed to display their newest introductions at Neocon. The finishes we selected for their furniture include light woods, fabrics inspired by Scandinavian design and black and white tables for modern contrast. We selected a soothing, residential color for the walls and designed a trim installation that runs throughout. Each seating group was accessorized with common, retail residential products and florals to feel more like someone's living room than an office. The final design was ultimately a huge success as Neocon visitors saw the brand in a new light.
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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.
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The uniqueness and magnitude of this nearly 3-year long project presented numerous challenges from the start of the process right through to the end. Here is a list of challenges and how those were addressed: ZONING AND PERMITTING: Being that this project was the first of its kind in Chicago, The Department of Buildings could not initially determine a concise and specific use designation that fit under the current official state and local use designations. Through varies meetings and discussions with city leadership the project ended up being classified as "Special Use". After a designation was determined, we also ran into another unique existing issue with the building. The east and west lower levels of the building were actually extended beyond the lot lines and into public way. The simple solution was to make that area available for our clients use. That said, the unique condition was exacting why the client wanted to utilize the space as It met the aesthetic vision of the spa. The solution was to use a rarely utilized designation called, “Public-Way-Use permit”. This allows our client rights to the public-way-space through a lease agreement with the city of Chicago. LIGHT LEVELS: The discerning client wanted a particular ambiance with very low lighting level, which was largely achieved via candles in decorative lanterns, sconces and illuminating the pools themselves. However, due to code requirements for certain foot candles to light exit pathways, strategically placed ambient light fixtures and wall-mounted emergency battery packs were installed to meet both party’s expectations. RETROFITTING ARTIFACTS AND OTHER FINISHES: Much of the success of the end product is due to the abundance of authentic antique artifacts that were timely shipped from overseas, safely stored close to the site and strategically incorporated throughout the space. Such items include sculpted stone fountains, ornately embellished carved wood doors, hand-perforated metal light fixtures and over-sized clay urns. In addition, hundreds of glass wine bottles were shipped directly from a vineyard in Spain in order to create the one-of-a-kind privacy wall separating the red wine bath room from the rest of the pools. The oversized clay urns had to be lifted by crane and brought into the space through a man-made hole in the exterior wall. Existing masonry openings were retrofitted to accommodate antique doors from Spanish cathedrals and originally crafted Spanish bay windows were placed 20’ high into position via a pulley lifting system. Lastly, over 10,000 sf of White Spanish Stone slabs were also shipped, creatively stored and carefully installed in all the pools and throughout the spa areas. We also sprayed all existing structure including the wood beams, masonry and steel joists with a fire-rated, satin clear coat finish allowing us to preserve the natural look while providing protection from the humidity. NATURAL MATERIALS: Imported stone surfaces are inherently cold, so an integrated radiant heating system was installed underfoot for the comfort of the patrons at the pool area deck, open-air/sauna benches and massage tables located throughout the space. STRUCTURAL: A new decorative stair was designed and implemented for the 2-story space. The challenge here was to create a stair that would appear light and airy. We designed a suspended stair system that was supported by the existing overhead beams while integrating a glass railing assembly. The final outcome was a transparent floating structure that blended well into the serene environment. MECHANICAL: With a 2-story space and multiple pools (including indoor/outdoor pool and waterfall) and saunas, there were concerns about humidity, ventilation, heating and cooling. With all the programming information in place, it was easily determined that the existing space would not be large enough to house all the needed equipment. To address these concerns, mechanical and dehumidification systems were added to the rooftop, these units are fed through an abandoned elevator shaft. A two story architectural extension was added adjacent to the existing building to house the state-of-the-art pool filtration systems.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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