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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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 formula for an echo is Velocity=Distance/Time. This equation is the backbone of transportation logistics and the driving force of Echo Global Logistics’ 135,000 sf headquarters expansion within a building that was once an old catalogue warehouse. In total, the expansion doubles the size of the headquarters, adding 1,000 seats. At a deeper level, the great opportunity of this project was to create an experiential brand. This brand is apparent upon entry of the new street-level lobby. Sculpted as four massive voids spelling out ECHO in steel, the lobby sign is weathered like the existing column wrappings. The letters are set at different angles to create an experience for passersby as to how each letter is viewed. Upon entry, the E is perfectly aligned and luminous, while the O appears darker and more abstract. As the individual moves, each letter comes into similar focus as the others become more abstract, changing perception with distance and time. A massive new stair connects the street level with the majority of the new space. Its industrial aesthetic of concrete, steel and chain link feel true to the building’s history—as if it has always been there. Frustrated that stairs from their upper level read simply as negative space, we designed a canopy of undulating, highly polished steel above to reflect the visual energy of the stair, further reinforcing the importance of movement. One’s natural progression from the stair is to the large café. The café is meant to be the social heart of the space. Anchored by a leaderboard of 16 60” monitors, it can be a place for craft beer night or to kick off the NCAA's March Madness tourney. It supports the company’s work-hard-play-hard culture. The main area of the workplace is organized around two main streets, wide enough to be actual streets, which run the entire length of the space north to south. The streets can host all sorts of activities, from quick team meetings at one of the several breakout spaces to outreach fairs for charities. Backing onto the streets are four necessary additions to the building—restrooms. We wrapped the blocks, roughly the size of semi-trailers, with graphics interpreting Echo slogans in the bad-ass vernacular of custom rigs, creating distinct points of reference within the large space. Continuing the allusions to the trucking industry, team huddle rooms are realized as loading dock bays, lined up and numbered with signage that illuminates as the bay is occupied. Steel anchors the far end of the space. One feature wall is inscribed with US shipping routes. Lastly, is the formula itself, again, illuminated voids of letters within the weathered steel, which acts as a beacon to employees entering from the company’s other floor within the building. V=D/T, a billboard preparing those who enter to be changed as they experience the space.
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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 Chicago office of a globally-recognized integrated architecture, interior design, engineering, and planning firm seized a unique opportunity to not only build-out new space to accommodate a growing team, but also redefine and reimagine its office structure by evaluating the way teams worked, identifying aspirational goals and transforming its business strategy. The design team led a series of internal strategy workshops to identify areas of improvement. A lack of necessary space for project teams, an inability to promote the firm’s innovative work and support the creative process, and insufficient space to support diverse work modes and thinking were among the key findings identified. The new workspace needed to support their growing interdisciplinary, multi-generational and multi-market office. Business drivers defined in the workshops set out to encourage collaboration within disciplines, break down silos between disciplines, create a sustainable and energy efficient space, and in turn, change the office culture to increase engagement among employees. Completed in October 2016, the new office transitioned both physically and organizationally into an agile work environment. The renovation is the first of the company’s twelve locations to pilot an agile workspace where employees have the flexibility to select the space and typology that best suits their various individual, team and collaborative work throughout the day. A wide range of typologies allow for team-based work, social interaction, informal touchdown, focus work, and collaboration. For those specific tasks requiring focus, a quiet zone, wellness room and phone rooms were incorporated into the typology mix. Employees may choose from sit-to-stand desks with ample daylighting, team-based bench-style workstation seating with movable pin-up ideation boards, conference and huddle rooms, inviting nooks with great city views, and teaming areas with a variety of reconfigurable furniture. A centrally located maker space provides hands-on experiences for enhanced design visualization including 3D-printing and virtual reality technology. A spacious lobby and café provide further options for breakout, large group activities, and industry or community events. Open ceilings and exposed concrete flooring within the studio space support the collaborative environment and encourage teams to utilize the space as a living, learning laboratory. A subtle, natural finish palette acts as a backdrop to the teams and their work displayed throughout the office. Subtle wood tones and textural carpet define the spaces intended for client interaction or more formal team meetings. Adaptability was paramount in all portions of the design including lighting, which through an advanced lighting control system, enables automated customization of light levels and effortless reorganization of space with the click of a mouse. Supporting one of the firm’s core values, sustainability, the space is targeting LEED ID+C: Commercial Interiors Silver Certification. One main contribution to the certification are the lighting fixtures. Every lighting fixture is dimmable and equipped with daylight and motion sensing. The space beats ASHRAE 90.1-2013 lighting power density requirements by 48%. Defined as one of the initial design problems, the framework of the new office space has increased collaboration both within and between disciplines. 93% of post-occupancy respondents feel the new workplace supports collaboration with colleagues; a 74% increase from the previous workplace. The appropriate mix of typologies to support multiple work modes has also been validated. 90% of post-occupancy respondents feel the new space supports necessary focus work and almost 90% of respondents believe the new office reflects their typical collaboration method.
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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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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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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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Flexibility was the driving force in the design, in addition to the creation of an everyday working environment for over 100 members. The Connectory needed to be adaptable to facilitate events, programs, and workshops on a daily basis that are available to members and non-members. To achieve this, everything can be quickly transformed depending on need. Desks, chairs, and audiovisual equipment are mobile, even collapsible, allowing for small or large project team meetings and event hosting. The space is lined with versatile collaboration worktables, custom designed to fold and roll away. Along the perimeter, areas are prepped for future demountable partitions for spaces to be easily enclosed for new startups. Breakout nooks and tables provide opportunities for informal brainstorming or more focused collaboration. Lounge furniture, high-top tables, and booth seating are just a few of the work setting selections members can utilize each day. The glass walls that enclose meeting spaces use privacy film as a vehicle to showcase the Connectory’s branding and culture. The Connectory acts as a living showroom for demonstrating IoT products, such as a smartphone entry access system, connected mirrors, and a smart coffee machine. As members develop new ideas, they are encouraged to display them throughout the space. Project parameters consisted of a two phase, three-month construction schedule adding to the complexity of the project. Being fast-tracked, specifications needed to be selected in an expedited manner and within budget. Project team members located in different countries and time zones made it imperative to utilize audiovisual technology for quick, concise communication. Since the Chicago location was the first IoT partner innovation space of its kind, the overall design concept was simultaneously being developed along with the business model.
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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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A new workplace environment for the Asset Management arm of Northern Trust was designed as a sophisticated and timeless client-facing space, that maximizes efficiency and improves access to information. The efficient layout consolidated the Asset Management team from a floor and a half down to one floor. The space is arranged into neighborhoods that foster staff connections based on areas of expertise. Service hubs are central to each of the neighborhoods and provide easy access to project rooms, Bloomberg stations and printing. The space was planned with calculated collaboration in mind. The highly confidential nature of this team meant that all collaboration had to happen behind closed doors. The design team arranged a variety of teaming space around the core and enclosed them all in floor to ceiling glass walls to ensure privacy but also enable visibility. The space features unique spaces that solve for Asset Management’s functional needs like a Research Library, a room dedicated to rehearsing client pitches and a business lounge. Upon exiting the elevators, clients are greeted by a backlit fumed eucalyptus wood portal leading to a Danube honed marble reception desk where a concierge greets them and leads them to their designated meeting room. The neutral and timeless palette throughout the space helps reinforce the Northern Trust brand of exceptional service, unparalleled expertise and enduring integrity.
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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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On the surface, Chicago appears a sleekly tailored city, living on a smartly organized grid and compartmentalized into units. Upon exploration, the city reveals a diverse mix of destinations, weaving unexpected delight within the city’s tapestry, richly influenced by its vibrant theatre scene. This juxtaposition served as the concept for the new Cambria Hotel & Suites Chicago Loop – Theatre District above the historic Oriental Theatre. The team was charged with creating an experience that seamlessly guides and transports the guest from the busy streetscape of Downtown Chicago to Cambria’s signature Welcome Lobby on the 9th floor of the building and into the well-appointed guestrooms. As the guest walks through the newly added floor-to-ceiling glass entry, they experience a branded graphic wallcovering that doubles as an artful welcome to the property. Custom-designed by the interior design team, the motif of the wallcovering is based on the “Chicago’s Tapestry” design concept, repeated in different configurations throughout the public and private spaces of the hotel. Superimposed over monochromatic renditions of the lushly-detailed Oriental Theatre, the mapped grid of the city provides an abstract order and contextualizes the hotel’s location within the city. Branded with the recognizable Cambria Hotel and Suites logo, this wallcovering is scaled to be clearly visible from the street to welcome hotel guests, restaurant and bar patrons alike. As an historic renovation project of a 1926 building, the design team worked with the Architect of Record in addition to the General Contractor to salvage as many historic details as possible, including the original brass elevator doors prominently featured in the Elevator Lobby. This historical nod, paired with relaxed seating vignettes, create resting points for travelers and demark the entry to the hotel’s atmosphere. Once the guest arrives at the 9th floor landing, a challenge presented itself: what environmental cues guide them to the main Welcome Lobby, as well as the hotel’s Bar and Restaurant? To solve this quandary the firm designed an entry portal featuring an angled wood slat wall with a seating vignette, creating a subliminal arrow for the guest without relying on obtrusive signage. At the capstone, an art piece consisting of “Instagram moments” promotes the exploration of Chicago. From the deep-dish pizza scene, to images of Millennium Park and “The Bean,” neon signs and fish eye architectural shots round out the art package. However, to stay current with the ever-changing trends of Chicago, the piece was designed modularly to be easily updatable by the hotel staff. At this moment, the lobby opens and the guest is surrounded by the warm and inviting atmosphere to reflect Cambria’s moniker “Where everybody is somebody.” To connect back to the first floor, an engraved backlit art piece frames the welcome desk, playing with the juxtaposition of theater imagery and the grid of Chicago. The Welcome Lobby features multiple zones where guests and bar/restaurant patrons alike can plug-in and relax. The seating was designed to be fluid with flexible furniture arrangements accommodating solo computer work, a large social gathering or a quick rest during check-in/check-out. To create this warm & inviting atmosphere, material selections were based on brand standards, but varied to reflect the location of the property in the heart of Chicago. A harmonious and neutral backdrop paired with artisanal textures, the soft palette of warm greys and deep blues are accented by jewel purples and copper featuring mixed metals of forged iron and polished nickel. The goal was to create a palette with a sense of warmth and elevated comfort. A wood floor (porcelain per brand standards) was integrated to compliment the texture in the fabrics and a ventless gas fireplace is a feature element of the lounge seating zone. In addition to seating zones, multiple Food and Beverage options are presented within the Welcome Lobby including the Grab-and-Go Market, with a clean white subway tile, as well as a full Restaurant Concept. A coffee house during the day and a gastropub at night, the Restaurant is seamlessly integrated into the lobby with varied seating including a large communal table and stained concrete countertop at the bar. To round out the guest’s experience, additional Public Spaces include three large meeting rooms with operable walls, pre-function space, private board room and game room – all of which are utilized as profit generators for the hotel and are easily accessible for touring companies performing at the Oriental Theatre downstairs. Perhaps the most striking element of the Welcome Lobby is the extraordinary historic ceiling that was uncovered beneath existing acoustical ceiling during demolition. Much needed plaster reconstruction and additional trim was added to make the ceiling as beautiful as it once was. A seamless restoration allows for the ceiling to feel as if it had never been hidden. A dark neutral paint color was specified to accentuate details of the ceiling through light and shadows. The statement light fixtures served as a callback to the circular aspects of the ceiling extruded. As additional lighting could not be added to the historic ceiling, creative lighting solutions were incorporated in the form of sconces and library style table lamps. The guestrooms and suites mirror this experience, welcoming guests with modern and fresh accommodations. A dedicated workspace with ergonomic chair and desk were integrated into the space along with a soft seating vignette to accommodate both the work and pleasure traveler. Custom graphic wallcovering was designed and developed featuring vintage maps of the city of Chicago with a 'floating' platform bed hovering below. An experience in discovery, the “Chicago Tapestry” represents Chicago’s interweaving cultures, history, and structure. Through the custom designed graphics, artwork, finish selections & historical elements, a lobby experience where any type of traveler can discover Chicago was created. Whether a busy corporate traveler needing a place to power up or a relaxed traveler looking to reflect after a day of discovery, all the opportunities are afforded in the lobby’s design.
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Problem: Designing an Engaging, Flexible Building that Supports 21st Century Learning on a Tight Urban Site The building stacks up efficiently on four levels, creating a sustainable building on an extremely small site. Bright, bold colors and a warm natural palette create inspiring spaces that are flexible and collaborative. Students can use the many breakout spaces just outside the classrooms to work together on projects or study independently. All learning spaces are equipped with both digital and analog media, ensuring that students are familiar with a variety of 21st century learning tools. The buildings sits within its original footprint, and, due to efficient space planning and interior design, adds 5,500 square feet of collaborative learning space that did not previously exist. Problem: Creating a Student-Centered Building Specifically for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum Through meetings with students, parents, faculty and community members, the team understood the need for all grade levels to feel connected. Projects should be on active display, and students and teachers should see each other working together. All classrooms and corridors surround a central, naturally daylit atrium which makes regular all-school gatherings possible. Students learn in bright, daylit classrooms and have ample access to outdoor learning as well. Transparency was a major interior design driver, and all classrooms feature large windows that look out into the corridors and central atrium. Students and visitors can see into classrooms as they pass by, encouraging a shared sense of community and accountability in keeping with the school's curriculum. The increased connectivity in the interior design allows staff to better teach to their IB curriculum.
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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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Vue53 is the newest addition to the rapidly evolving skyline of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. A mixed-use development with 267 units, modern amenities and 28,000SF of retail space, Vue53 offers contemporary living space in a historic area. The architecture carefully responds to its context. The 10-acre Nichols Park extends from the university campus on 55th street all the way to 53rd street, where Vue53 acts as a bookend to the park. The mass of the building is divided into two towers. The south tower is on 53rd street; voids in the elevation minimize the structure’s perceived mass while framing views of the park across the street. The north tower is set 100 feet back from the street to minimize its mass. Parking occupies the two floors above the retail level, screened from 53rd Street by apartments and amenity spaces lining the south facade. In addition to studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, Vue53 offers communal space such as a game room, an exercise room, and outdoor sun decks, including a large communal roof deck that provides sweeping views of the city to the south and west. Although open to all, Vue53 is tailored to appeal to design-savvy graduate students and young faculty, with its exposed concrete interiors and two-story collaborative study spaces. To maintain affordability, units are 800 sf or less. Fifteen percent of the units are dedicated to affordable housing, reinforcing the neighborhood’s already diverse community. Affordable units are scattered throughout the building and are identical to the market-rate units.
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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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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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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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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 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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The goal was to create a space that was designed at a high level, yet still understated in its furnishings. Durability and comfort were key to withstand traffic and heavy usage as the client is the pastor of a Chicago city church and often hosts retreats for members, friends, and colleagues. The lines of the furnishings were kept simple and clean to complement, and not overshadow, the modern architecture of the home. Neutral fabric choices throughout the home serve as a canvas with pops of oranges, greens, and blues to accentuate the expansive views of Lake Michigan. Designed as an entertaining space, furnishings play double duty throughout the home. Dining room chairs can be placed in rows for enjoying a piano performance while extra chairs are easily stacked away for storage. The pair of dining tables can be placed separately, or combined for a long banquet gathering. Multiple conversation spaces in the living room were created with flexible seating. The swooping curves and angles of the architecture posed challenges for placement of furnishings, but as a positive, added great interest to the understated power of this contemporary lakeside home.
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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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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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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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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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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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Gary Jet Center’s new private airport project had one goal: To convince clients and crew that Gary was worthy of luxury travel. A boutique experience was created with a concierge greeting upon arrival, an espresso bar, and luxurious powder rooms crafted specifically with Beyonce in mind. Seating areas were designed for user comfort for both solo travelers and entire entourages alike to feel private or spread out, all with integrated power for work on the go. Textures and upholsteries of deep greens and rich blues offset the softer blush and salmon tones, providing a refreshing and uplifting palette for travelers about to take flight. Airy, cloud-like pendant lights provide a landscape of visual interest while a warming central fireplace grounds the lobby space. For the pilots, customized lounges with unique amenities allow for areas of refuge and recharge after a long flight. Additional amenity areas including conference spaces, game rooms, and nap rooms were designed with a residential approach for maximum comfort. The careful consideration of each user’s experience throughout the space results in the Gary Jet Center feeling like a boutique hotel escape for even the most luxurious traveler.
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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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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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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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The Team worked closely with their Tech Entrepreneur client to design the perfect home, considering the various uses for the 2,200 SF, two-story loft on the 6th and 7th floors of a 7-story condominium building in DC’s Logan Square Neighborhood. The goal was to make the space peaceful, simple, and precise so that the thoughtfulness and purposefulness of the home would help bring a sense of calm and organization to an otherwise busy lifestyle. The refined space is composed by modern clean lines, yet remains casual and conducive for relaxing and entertaining. Natural light pairs with simple, earth-tone materials and fabrics to create an airy and comfortable space that is devoid of clutter. The main level serves as the primary public living space and opens onto a terrace. On the other hand, the second level allows for flexibility to adapt to the lifestyle of the client – whether opening to create a larger master suite with a conference room and sitting room, or subdividing into pockets of space, to allow for a guest room. The renovation of the existing apartment masterfully orchestrates the disparate desires of the client to collect contemporary art, display and organize an expanding wine collection, have a chef’s kitchen, maximize natural light, provide adequate storage for climbing and photography gear, and create functional space for both at-home work and entertaining. The new design is detailed so that everything has a programmed place.
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The Ancona School had been fighting loud reverberating acoustics and harsh lighting in their undersized gymnasium, making use of the space nearly unbearable. Within the constraints of a small renovation budget, the inventive design resulted in an attractive and engaging transformation that provides a space with multi-functional capacity, while reinforcing the identity of a visionary school. The room is much smaller than any typical gym--a retro-fit holdover from an outdated 1960's construction--but it houses many of the school's primary athletic functions and is the only school space large enough for family gatherings and school performances. Drawing from the geographical movement of the nearby water’s edge of Lake Michigan and its parallel Lake Shore Drive located just blocks from the school, our topographic design undulates over (and into) the ceiling, covering the surface with acoustic absorption and the school's identifying Sunrise Yellow color. While visually impactful, the design achieved the pragmatic goal of reducing the reverberation time within the space by over half. Constructed of rigid, yet light-weight aluminum shells, the acoustic baffles are also strong enough to withstand the impact of volleyball hits on a low 14' ceiling height. Acoustic sheet foam is seamlessly detailed, integrating into a unified architectural element. The Ancona School Gymnasium project creates a multitude of uses out of one single space. This retro-fit of the existing gym space creates an environment that can serve as a place for community gathering, athletics, arts, and school social events. The project has resolved an acoustical and lighting issue by taking something that is functional in nature and featuring it as an exceptional design element. The previously frustrated space has been given a new life and is now properly suited for bringing together families and community to inspire the imagination and dreams of children.
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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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Problem: Create a Dynamic, 21st Century School in a Small Community Where Daylight is Scare During Much of the School Year Designed with current best practices of flexibility and collaboration in mind, this forward-thinking elementary school addresses overcrowding in the district while creating a bright, light-filled learning space for students who experience very little daylight during most of the school year. In addition to maximizing daylight, functionality and community were at the forefront of design. The area around the school is growing, thus Dena’ina is designed as both a school and community center. Spaces are multifunctional, and the school provides after-hours use of select areas while integrating programming with the new middle/high school to bring the community together around its children. To create a strong sense of place and local identity, colorful hanging sculptures and paintings were commissioned from local artists to build cultural pride, and color-changing lighting in the commons area maintains light after the sun goes down. The interior design decisions capture the scarce daylight during the long winters, while creating a sense of community and providing multi-functional spaces in this remote, but steadily growing, part of southern Alaska. Problem: Create a Sustainable Building that Responds to the Unique Climate and Landscape of Southern Alaska The team also followed environmental considerations to create a sustainable facility that responds to the natural landscape. All classrooms face south, providing maximum daylight where students spend the bulk of their time. Spaces shared by the school and community, such as the stage and gym, are located on the north side of the corridor where there are fewer openings to limit climate and wind exposure. Part of the building was constructed underground, significantly decreasing operating costs. Additionally, Alaska is an active seismic zone with a high earthquake hazard rating by the U.S. Geological Survey. The abundant bracing required became a design element: it is visible from the commons and gymnasium, and is the impetus for the design pattern of the interior windows into the classrooms which include lateral bracing behind the solid portion of the walls. This efficiency in planning allowed the creation of additional spaces such as windows, display areas and storage zones in the voids of the structure.
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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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For this restaurant, the designer was challenged to create a minimum 48-seat dining room, 12-seat private dining space, and 16-seat bar while leaving enough room for the minimum 1000 square foot kitchen. The first floor space at 180 North Wacker contains many preexisting architectural details such as structural columns, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a unique footprint. The restaurant had to address the issues of external light and sound from the site's location on the Chicago River adjacent to the elevated tracks of the Green and Pink lines. Upon entry to the space a small to-go coffee counter offers people a low-commitment way to "try out" the space before sitting down for a meal. The arabica bean is Ethiopia's main export, and they take their tea and coffee very seriously. The bar and main booth seating are set up along the same angle of the building envelope to help the space feel seamless with the exterior. A blue acid-washed bar and series of lanterns that vary in scale and height play with the view of the Chicago river from the north and west sides of the space. While the main dining room is meant to be bright and bustling, the private dining space offers a calming respite. This is represented in the artwork chosen for each space: while the dining room features a vibrant piece in traditional Ethiopian style, the private dining space offers a view in Simien Mountain National Park that also serves to mirror the Chicago River. The hands-on nature of the cuisine inspired the booth seating, which accommodates a wide variety of seating combinations to encourage people to bring their friends and family to build community at the dinner table. The semi-open kitchen is delineated by a series of windows mimicking the exterior of the space. This not only visually unifies the interior and exterior, but allows guests to see in to the kitchen to view the preparation of a cuisine they may not be familiar with, given the lack of representation in the neighborhood. This unification gives a seamless experience to the guest, who is simultaneously taken to a new locale while still feeling at home in Chicago.
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Capturing the emotion of a brand that has been a platform for imagination and delivered smiles for 100 years, Radio Flyer's new workplace refreshed it's manufacturing warehouse into a uniquely authentic and inspirational place to work and innovate for the next 100 years. A reimagination of how their employees work introduced a new site masterplan concept, one that drew it's entrance off two highly trafficked roads and to a more intimate side street. In so doing, they asked that the new first impression and front entry spur the imagination to wonder and dream into the future. A new channel glass façade and larger-than-life front doors transform the east side of the art deco manufacturing facility. Memories of Radio Flyer products and the imagination they inspire drove the concept of the larger-than-life doors. Young and old alike are intrigued by their size and with the glimpse of an oversized Coasterboy flying just behind them. Meaningful cultural occasions of the Flyer employees are announced by color shifting LEDs that backlight the channel glass façade throughout the year. The Heritage Area celebrates the brand's legacy of innovation displaying product from the original Liberty Coaster wagon to the cans of gasoline they manufactured during World War II. The space tells stories of the product in context with world events through larger than life picture frames, wall displays, and nostalgic pair of tin can telephones. The workplace celebrates the history of the family with a plan organized similar to that of a home. The kitchen and café has a 32 foot long communal table that anchors the space, providing a humble place for co-workers to socialize and collaborate. The family room is an open working lounge with flexible seating that is reimagined throughout the course of each day to support the needs of their employees, The Flyers. The Playlab is a unique product testing area where prototypes are evaluated in a flexible teaming area by way of an expansive one-way window. The space is labeled the Test Track, inviting kids to wonder, imagine, and play in an open sky-lit area with acoustic murals on three of its walls. Beneath the restored warehouse sawtooth roof, The Flyers work in an open plan environment equipped with sit to stand desks and personal storage areas, including scooter parking for those that choose to roll rather than walk around the facility. Chicago artist Anthony Lewelin animates the west wall of the workplace with a vibrant and interpretive mural, above which, a portion of the original overhead wagon transport system was restored. Wagons are displayed like they were 80 years ago, flying overhead from the paint station toward the drying area. With views to the Backyard, the sun-filled space honors the building's history while providing Flyers with a work environment that balances health, technology, and well-being. The Backyard was created after portions of the manufacturing buildings were demolished, making way for an amazing outdoor amenity for the employees. It's lush landscape is comprised of native and adaptive plantings, diverse walking paths, and a central lawn space that accommodates group activities and picnics. It also contains a cistern to capture rainwater, geothermal technology, and a bioswale network, all of which contributed to it being certified a LEED Platinum project.
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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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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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A young professional couple engaged our team to develop the interior architectural finishes, millwork details, and furnishings of their single-family home in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. A skylit central stair, open plan, and gracious outdoor space for family play and entertaining form a truly livable contemporary environment. The floating central stair is anchored by a dramatic walnut accent wall that extends upwards to the skylight. Light oak floors and white walls reinforce the airy lightness of the architecture, while deep jewel tones and textured furnishings provide contrast and color. In the wine room, a custom millwork wall with colorful aluminum pegs houses their wine collection. The pegboard wall extends into the lounge seating area to create an abstract and ever-changing graphic backdrop.
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From its mid-19th century beginnings, Brunswick has been known for innovation. Finding themselves in a work environment that felt too traditional, leadership sought to use the headquarters relocation as an opportunity to once again announce Brunswick as visionary. Brunswick’s products—from Lifetime Fitness exercise equipment to motor boats to their iconic billiard tables—are seemingly diverse but all are tied together by the common thread of activity. Our design promotes activity in its planning with circulation that doubles as a walking track and spaces for collaborating and connecting with colleagues. A central stair is the practical transition between floors, promoting an opportunity for healthy movement. Details throughout the new headquarters refer to Brunswick’s history and products—the curved wall, reminiscent of a boat hull, and the use of materials found in their products such as wood, steel, felt and slate. As part of the design process, we analyzed the existing workplace and the employees’ levels of satisfaction, which lead to the realization of generationally skewed satisfaction. Young professionals were much less satisfied with the workplace than those well-established in the organization. The new headquarters was a chance to rethink the workplace and find ways to appeal to all generations. Our design solution offers diverse and engaging work settings, locations created specifically to inspire collaboration and innovation.
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The facility is designed to suit the needs and growing demands of the college’s student population as well as allow for future expansion for various additional curriculum needs. In traditional campus planning, each campus building has a specific purpose or use in mind, but in this location, the design team was challenged to fit many different uses and occupants under one roof. The college campus consists of administration spaces and faculty offices, large community room, traditional college classrooms, three science labs, computer labs, student commons, library, café, campus store, and simulation center for the healthcare learning environment. The critical challenges of the project were altering an existing “big box” store where light is minimal, ceilings are high, and the human scale factor is often lost. The design solutions focused on a bright color and finish palette, including windows at the end of each corridor to provide for a view out and sunshine in, and maximizing the tall ceilings as a positive design feature. We paid much attention to lighting choices and how those choices enhanced large open areas to provide students a place to gather and/or study. Since flexibility was important and growth is inevitable, main corridors were designed to accommodate the college's needs to expand. The design team used the college’s school branding, as a kick start to use fun pops of color amongst a gray neutral base. Specific finishes were chosen to reflect the combination of spaces to the learning environment as well as the social atmospheres to entice future students.
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In the year of 2016, Grand Rapids had the fastest growing economy which caused an influx in people and jobs. Grand Rapids is home to many colleges and universities. Many students attending these colleges from out of town are moving back to the city for work. As more people move to the city, rent and mortgages rise. As the rent and mortgages rise, the wages are not. This is leaving many individuals and low-class families displaced, often single mothers and in this day-and-age, recent graduates with loans. The Keeler building was once a furniture exhibition in 1914 when the city became a major lumbering center, processing logs that were floated down the river. The river and its tributaries gave rise to dozens of communities across the midwest. The ready supply of timber lead to one of Grand Rapids major industies, it's fine wood furniture. By utilizing the natural trandsportation of the river, the city of Grand Rapids kept growing. The inspiration of my designs come from the use of the Grand River and its metephor to keep moving forward. The growth rings in the timber lof anad the tributary patterns of the river are all symbolic od the growing city of GRand Rapids, and the indiciduals residing in the Keeler Building.
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When the Napleton Automotive Group invested in new corporate headquarters building, they wanted to "Cool it up". The goal was to reposition Napleton’s national corporate brand to reflect next generation thinking and Family ownership transitions. To do that, the architect deconstructed the existing typical office build out and reduced it to express the bare concrete structure and developed an open plan that would reflect stair stepping exterior walls. By integrating expanded metal ceilings with alternating stepped LED lighting and primary color accent strips in floor, the plan took on a completely fresh appeal. Interior Branding included integrating 60 years of dealership neon signs on stepping walls that provide open visibility across the open floor plan from east to west. An unexpected display of two mint condition classic cars as you step off the 6th floor elevator makes this a memorable statement for a true "Captain of the Industry".
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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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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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Seyfarth Shaw has long been recognized for its progressive approach to the business of law, and for grounding that approach in the design of their work environments. The design Firm has partnered with Seyfarth at multiple points along this evolutionary journey. The next step on that path was the relocation of their Chicago office to high rise floors in the iconic Willis Tower – scheduled for occupancy in early 2016. The project's primary objective was to highlight and demonstrate Seyfarth's commitment to innovation – in legal practice, service delivery and workplace design. Through a deep dive workplace strategy process, we discovered three key project planning drivers: Enable focused workflow. Create private spaces for attorneys with smart adjacencies to support lawyers in the act of lawyering. Engage strong social and knowledge networks. Encourage greater integration between attorneys, staff and practice areas by distributing meeting and learning spaces throughout the office stack, thus leveraging individual choice for anywhere, anytime productivity. Enthrall staff with what makes Seyfarth unique. Connect staff to the value their work brings to clients through simple – but enigmatic – technologically advanced environments that create smart systems, services and interactions.
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A family of five sought a home that eliminated the typical distinctions between formal and informal spaces. We responded with a home designed to be thoroughly lived in, bridging the classic French Provincial style of the exterior with relaxed, informal finishes and furnishings. A playroom, loft, craft room, roof deck, and lower level pool provide ample space for spending time together. A gracious skylit stairway brings natural light to the center of the home, while metal and glass doors in the dining room and office allow the natural setting to extend into the house. The lower level spaces, including a pool and workroom, provide a contemporary departure from the rest of the home. Ipe slatted walls cleverly conceal a changing space and wet bar bringing in warmth and texture to the otherwise clean-lined pool deck.
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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 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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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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MilliporeSigma’s purpose is to solve the toughest problems in life science through collaboration, and that purpose drives its new Life Sciences Center. From closed huddle rooms to training rooms to open teaming spaces, the workplace offers options for staff to choose the right location based on the type of work. On top of spaces intended for work-related meetings, the social hubs are spaces on each floor that allow for less formal collaboration and encourage social interaction among employees, which in turn spark innovation. While internal collaboration is important, Millipore also addresses the need for collaboration with clients with the M Lab. The M Lab is a space where Millipore is able to interact with their customers and clients, showcasing their work within the first floor of the building. This space allows Millipore to train new customers and tackle troubleshooting issues for clients. The design powerfully represents the MilliporeSigma’s brand. Against a crisp white surround, bold brand colors burst in vibrant blues, magenta, chartreuse and purple. Hexagonal forms, both suggestive of molecular formulas and forms within MilliporeSigma’s brand. The shape manifests as portals, surrounds around seating areas, and perhaps most evocatively in the ceiling over the two-story reception and mezzanine space. The company and the research center were created by chemistry, and the design announces that to staff, guests and clients—from the historical displays of milestone products to the windows into the development of tomorrow’s innovations.
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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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Libraries connect people to the information they need to solve problems, push boundaries, and shape the future.” OCLC, a global library cooperative, does just this by developing technologies that support thousands of libraries to make information accessible and useful to people around the world. In August of 2014, our firm won a design competition to update and reimagine the OCLC headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. The focus of the project was the public spaces of the building, namely, enlivening the dimly-lit, foreboding four-story atrium, which had been walled off from floor, yet is the focal point of the building. Bold moves were made in the design solution to help solve the separation of space – from repurposing unused exterior plazas to be transformed into useful, lively interior spaces, to designing a completely new, cantilevered stairway that is both sculptural and functional in connecting people throughout the building. In addition, existing stone panels that previously shielded interior spaces from access and daylight were removed to unveil a new tier of enclosed, state-of-the-art meeting rooms. A repositioned building lobby enhances the security of the building, while also creating a grand entry experience for both employees and visitors. The Third Place, a social café and gathering space, was designed as an extension to the upgraded dining and servery, to foster employee connectivity across the building. Overall, clean lines and a refined palette of materials, including oak wood, terrazzo, and decorative glass enliven and reinvigorate OCLC’s spaces while also creating a timeless, long-lasting design.
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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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Design Concept: Situated among rolling hills on a heavily forested 23-acre site in Western Michigan, the context provides privacy and a peaceful respite from the traditional suburban office environment. The undulating site created challenges and the orientation of the building and parking structure were driven by the site’s unique topography. The design team used a variety of technologies to understand the tree cover, topography, explore options for the building’s location on the site and ultimately maintain as much of the tree cover and natural topography as possible. The building was placed to form a bridge across the two most prominent hills. This preserves the natural watershed through the site to an on-site retention pond and minimizes the building’s footprint on the land. To further protect the forested land, the design consolidates the significant parking requirement into a single 3-level structure recessed into the site’s largest hill to minimize its physical impact on the overall experience of the site. The parking garage is the first in Texas Township, MI, where the building is located, highlighting the uniqueness of this urban approach to parking in a suburban/rural context. The minimalist site design focuses formal landscape spaces under and around the building, protecting the plant life from harsh weather. Visitors access the building from a meandering approach road that provides the full experience of the forest and a sense of discovery upon arrival. A series of fitness and wellness trails connects users to the natural surroundings. Paramount to the site design is the awareness of a small footprint and minimal intervention of the building. Composed of brick, metal, glass and concrete, the building palette contributes to an understated simplicity in contrast to the visual activity of the site. On the southern façade, the glass curtain wall maximizes natural light and views, reinforcing the verticality of the forest through the vertical expression of structure and façade elements. A brick façade along the north references the regional vernacular and protects the structure from harsh northwest winds. Window boxes provide daylight and views for meeting rooms while projecting a dynamic display of light patterning visible to those experiencing the building while traveling the heavily trafficked Interstate 94. To take advantage of sunlight during Michigan’s lengthy fall and winter seasons, the interior environment is organized around a three-story, south-facing atrium. As the heart of the office, the atrium culminates in a large ceremonial stair that serves as an informal auditorium and company gathering space fostering a familial workplace community, integral to the culture of Consumers Credit Union. Brand-building: The design of the headquarters building was a defining opportunity to tell the brand story of Consumers Credit Union. As a rapidly growing organization, the building was designed to serve as an expression of Consumers Credit Union’s values and growth trajectory. In turn, the design is decidedly contemporary and amenity-rich, helping recruit and retain talent while continuing to grow the organization. Collaboration + Consolidation: Centered on the idea of creating controlled collisions, the new workplace brings together nearly 150 employees previously working in four separate buildings. The open office environment is designed to foster collaboration and innovation while capitalizing on the efficiencies of bringing staff under one roof. Informal gathering spaces encourage further collaboration while building a defining culture for the organization. The Class A facility is designed to emphasize flexibility and interactivity. The open concept space is supported with modern workstations and a learning lab with state-of-the-art technology available to facilitate training and staff development. The open atmosphere is balanced with quiet, private spaces for concentrated work and private conversations. Regardless of the location within the building, staff and visitors are never more than 30 feet from views of the surroundings. Designed to encourage staff to move throughout the space regularly, the internal and external environment makes the workplace an amenity in itself. Staff can work on an expansive outdoor patio overlooking nature, sit in one of many communal gathering spaces or enjoy an outdoor seating area between the hills. Other amenities include a food café, coffee bar, bike racks and a fitness center to support the organization’s cultural focus on wellness. The design process began with programming the building, define operational needs and outline their vision. Once we established a realistic budget based on space requirements, we developed several concepts. The preferred design concept strongly emphasized their company culture, preservation of the natural site and their community-focused brand. It also included a number of value added features and spaces that were not included in the initial programming and budgeting. Achieving the design vision posed certain challenges related to cost, technology and client values. The client embraced the design vision and was eager to achieve as much as possible under their cost constraints. Working with the local Construction Manager early and throughout the design process, we identified the limitations of local trade and material availability. Using 3D modeling and testing, we compared cost and constructability of concrete versus steel structural systems to arrive at a budget-feasible solution. We also consulted the CM to evaluate the use of wall systems and material technologies, arriving at the use of brick for the north wall rather than a prefabricated panel system that, while similar in cost, was deemed too complicated for the local trades. These are just some examples that illustrate our research-based approach to achieving the design vision and meeting client needs while conscious of budget limitations. Every project poses unique challenges and opportunities related to aligning the vision, needs and budget. In this case the client increased their budget slightly after the project went to bid to achieve their desired outcome. But the process of information gathering, testing and design research and exploration kept the budget in line throughout the project while achieving all of the design and programmatic wants of the client.
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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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The concept draws on the adrenaline one feels when competing. The essence of pause that comes with each of these moments brings upon a focus that leads to athletic accomplishment; the split second where one can hear their own heartbeat.
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Skender Construction’s new headquarters reflects their continued growth, maturity, and expression of their business and social culture. The resulting office space is of its context in the industrial-charged neighborhood of the West Loop, positioned within a repurposed parking garage. Upon entry, a steel framed ceiling/lighting element draws you into the large flexible central café hub space that supports multiple daily functions. Adjacent to the café hub are 3 large flexible phase rooms, unfolding to create a large internal meeting and social space. The open plan includes sit-stand desks lining the perimeter allowing all-day access to natural light. The open plan also provides a variety of meeting spaces to support choice of how and where to work. Throughout the space, the brand message integrates within the architecture. From the face wall (expressing the vibrant culture of their office) to the lean coffee wall (that allows their employees to express their creative freedom) the message is always about their people. The Skender persona expounds through the materials holding up a mirror to the everyday, tangible resources construction teams come into contact with such as exposed ceilings/floors, gabion wall, and exposed column capitals representing the framework of construction projects.
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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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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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TruQua wanted to move away from their disorganized furniture and technology into a space that would allow them to grow and that reflected their smart, forward-thinking nature. The building that TruQua moved into is a historic art deco space filled with unique angles and attributes, through close attention to detail and smart design choices such as finishes and textures, we created a mature yet approachable office for this tech company with a limited budget. At the heart of TruQua’s new office is the café which is centrally located to provide employees a convenient place to eat, meet or work and is surrounded by a variety of workspaces including lounges, bench seating and offices. TruQua works with a variety of confidential clients and projects, keeping this in mind, we designed a hybrid open office environment that allows for collaboration and spontaneous interaction but incorporates security features like automatic locking features on office doors to ensure privacy and confidentiality. The office environment allows staff, who often work long hours, access to food, home-like amenities and a flexible space that supports a wide range of tasks for both individuals and groups. The entry space is designed as a flexible reception and collaboration zone, without a traditional receptionist, guests are greeted by staff meeting and interacting, which showcases TruQua’s brand and values immediately, while channeling a welcoming vibe. In addition, the entire office incorporates a range of different sized meeting rooms and writable walls and surfaces throughout to maximize opportunities for collaboration.
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Bringing AAR Corp's headquarters into the next generation, this design firm radically transformed the company workplace. Collaborating with leading corporate real estate partners, the team created a more effective density plan and democratized AAR's community. The next generation workplace evolution challenge is facing every corporation today. Legacy facilities that are obsolete for today's workforce must be abandoned or radically reformed to attract and retain talent. After a year of planning a new "greenfield" headquarter design, this aerospace company decided to stay put and refresh their dark cluttered 40-year old facility saving ten million dollars. At the same time, they needed to increase the density by adding 100 seats within the existing 4 walls. The design maximized density by increasing work seats and optimized productivity by opening up shared activity and communal lounge spaces within the existing four walls. To accomplish this, the workstation was completely reinvented and designed around an existing 20' x 20' column grid that now disappears in a fully utilized, collaborative team environment. Open spaces were created around a more effective density plan, adding skyline atrium and a central full-service café that creates a company plaza. The design supports a democratized community where CEO and plant worker whose path had seldom crossed before in the past, can now sit together and catch up on the last 15 years of working toward a common goal.
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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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The design concept was to provide a private, soothing and peaceful environment for our clients to reconnect and relax in an urban setting. The 5700 square foot residence is a short walk from the Pacific Ocean and the downtown streets of Venice, California. The house’s H-shaped plan, with its wings overlooking serene interior gardens, hides the extreme density and adjacent homes. The architecture, which was originally designed by the previous owner, was updated to improve the flow and functionality of the home. The clients were impacted greatly by the new design. New furnishings, landscaping, and mechanical systems all were selected and designed to enhance the peacefulness of the house with sound proofing as a priority. An upgraded lighting system and lamping throughout the house increased energy efficiency and added to the owners’ usability. The design scheme was kept simple and casual. Iconic and vintage pieces mixed with contemporary furnishings complement the urban beach setting. Combining many of the objects and art that had been collected over years of travel bridge the old and new. The color scheme is serene but has contrast with pops of color to provide visual interest and keep the space young.
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This space for Chervon, the power tool company behind the well-known Skilsaw and Ego Brands, is a warehouse, testing lab, showroom and collaborative workspace all in one. By using materials typically used in the construction and home improvement industries in unexpected ways, the design reinforces Chervon’s slogan of “Creating better tools, for a better world.” The warm and neutral color palette is mostly made up of concrete, wood, glass and turf to facilitate a homey ambiance while also serving as a backdrop for the industry-leading brands Chervon represents. A variety of Brand Rooms, video editing suites and product showcase spaces allow Chervon to feature their products in an impactful way. Chervon, a rapidly growing tools manufacturer, wanted to establish a presence in the US. A company that relies on its speed to market model, and thus prioritizes innovation, Chervon needed an office space that would enable this intense caliber of product testing, while providing its employees a comfortable and home-like environment. The new space accommodates the company’s tool assembling functions by containing rooms in its warehouse for lithium iron battery assemblage, labs for product testing, and even a “torture chamber” in which tools are pushed to their limits so specialists can determine durability. The workplace has more familiar amenities, such as a gym, a café, a video studio to create and produce promotional footage, and even a showcase space that educates employees on the company’s history with an outdoor terrace extension. The plan is laid out to maximize access to views of the surrounding natural environment in order to reinforce an unconventionally restful atmosphere.
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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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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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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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