The homeowners came to us while their home construction was already underway in Lakeview East, just steps from Lake Michigan. Their aesthetic preference was a modern and minimal home and they talked mostly about their love of the ocean. We created a palette of rift white oak floors, blues and greens in the wall paint, and stunning stone and wallpaper accents. The furniture and fixtures were also organic in nature to contrast with the minimal interior. Custom pieces include a desk and dining room made of reclaimed locust trees, a full height marble vanity and ceiling hung mirrors.
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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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Intersport, an experiential marketing group focused on sports, hospitality and entertainment, needed a new workspace to accommodate anticipated growth. A casual, “hoodies and jeans” kind of company, Intersport was struggling with an outdated space that didn’t fit the firm’s culture or user patterns. The design team worked closely with the company’s stakeholders in a design process that ultimately helped them define their culture and apply it to their new work environment. The design solution includes ample collaboration and social space, from an upfront reception/teamwork hybrid space, to an in-office bar that doubles as a venue for social events and a showcase for some of their clients’ culinary/beverage brands. Intersport’s new workplace is now a much closer reflection of who they are as a company and how they operate.
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Moment is a 47-story, 540-unit luxury apartment tower in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. The sophisticated and elegant interior design brings to life the client’s vision of developing a residential tower centered on wellness, vitality, and mindfulness. The development boasts over 40,000 square feet of amenity space, split between two floors. The rooftop features an outdoor pool, sundeck, and lounge with views of the city and Lake Michigan. The main amenity deck is located on the ninth floor and offers a variety of social spaces including a community lounge, library, and media room. A wellness center offering fitness, yoga studio, and sauna and steam rooms overlooks a large, elevated outdoor lawn. A small serenity garden provides residents with a more private, quiet outdoor space for reflection. The interior design for the project was inspired by the notion of an urban retreat – a light, bright, and comfortable environment nestled amongst an active cityscape. Through the use of light wood, a cool color palette, modern finishes, and elegant fixtures, the design evokes a sense of ease and respite; it provides residents with an environment conducive to stress relief.
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This 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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A Washington DC-based executive who weekends in Chicago tasked us with renovating her industrial loft-style apartment. As a balance to her modernist corporate office, we softened the edges of her glass and concrete apartment with natural and textured materials, sculptural furnishings, and a calming color palette. A sense of both spaciousness and order is created through custom millwork, including a panelized wall storage system and floating rift white oak shelving. The resulting play of influences is embodied in the floral painting that hangs in the living space—a pleasing austerity and repose, with a strong feminine quality.
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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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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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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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This refined, rustic, and upscale American tavern is the latest addition in the restaurant portfolio of Billy and Catherine Lawless, owners of The Gage, Acanto, and The Dawson, and among Chicago’s most successful restaurateurs. The 4,159 square foot Beacon Tavern, with its mix of wood, tile, plaid, globe lights, sconces, and a gas-burning fireplace evokes an American tavern with a vintage twist. Beacon Tavern seats 50 people at its front bar and up to 70 in the main dining room. A fully landscaped outdoor patio overlooking the Chicago River seats up to 40 guests. All new floor-to-ceiling operable windows open onto the Chicago River and the tree-lined pathway makes you feel far from the hustle of Michigan Avenue. Beacon Tavern is separated by a two-sided fireplace into a bustling bar area and a calmer dining section. A distinguishing feature of the bar includes a two-tiered sliding back bar for additional liquor storage. Additional features in the dining area include booths backed with velvety green fabric and leather seats; a plaid fabric on a large communal booth, part of a plaid theme, in several patterns throughout the restaurant; and a feature wallcovering along the back wall of the restaurant. Diners have direct views into the kitchen. Sconces on the columns, globes on the ceiling, and large round lanterns – reference beacons. Guests of this riverside destination take in unobstructed views of downtown Chicago while enjoying a comfortable environment, and elegantly simple fare.
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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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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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Mid-America Real Estate Group is an industry leading full-service retail real estate organization serving the Midwest. Their expertise and exclusive focus on retail distinguishes them amongst their competition. The relocation of their Chicago office to the Wrigley building, located on Michigan Avenue, aligns their industry leading position with the heart of retail in the City of Chicago, The Magnificent Mile. The design of their new office space centers around three design pillars that evoke the culture, emotion, and energy of Mid-America Real Estate Group. The ‘Avenue’ is defined as a main thoroughfare through a city that serves as destination for people in the community. Characteristics of an avenue include retail and restaurants flanking each side, softened by beautifully manicured landscaping. An urban environment can be characterized by strong materials, bright lights, and movement. Fusing the attributes of the urban environment with Retro elements from the 1960’s creates a unique style that is bold yet comfortable. ‘The Art of the Deal’ pays homage to the human component of the business and the complex layering of information that is involved with closing each deal. The buildings core layout and perimeter window spacing provided challenges in accommodating the highly privatized program requirements. Several studies were conducted to understand the optimal rhythm for offices along the perimeter to meet the program and maximize real estate. Additionally, creating an open and collaborative environment was challenging based on the highly privatized program and the shape of the floor plate. Creating small moments for the space to open up to allow for a planned collision to occur was a strategy we used when planning.
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This downtown Chicago office tower was originally constructed in 1986 and was notable as a transportation hub with connections to CTA, the Thompson Center, the Skybridge link and housing a significant parking component. The building was recently purchased by a new owner who chose to transform the public areas and to add amenities. Levels one and two have been redesigned including the west entry lobby, atrium and ground level retail, while the second floor now features tenant lounges, conference space, fitness center and locker rooms. The atrium connecting these spaces was completely reimagined and enlarged to be a destination rather than just a walk-through space. The concourse is the heart of the 203 LaSalle public space. It is a two-story space, with a vaulting ceiling design that follows the underside of the parking ramp above. At the ground floor, two new retail storefronts were added with sliding wood security gates, custom planters, and new seating with bright, energetic colors. The second floor fitness center is visibly connected to the open concourse, but large frameless glass walls help to provide acoustic separation. The finish of wood accent wall helps to connect the walnut ceiling panels from the LaSalle Lobby to the lighter wood panels of the Concourse retail. The fitness center includes cardio equipment, free weights, exercise room, and new locker rooms. The other major building amenity off of the Concourse is the Tenant Lounge. The entrance to the lounge is highlighted by a feature wall with wall sconces and leather wall tile. Directly off of the Concourse, and taking advantage of the high ceilings is a casual sitting area with a fireplace. After the completion of the 203 N. LaSalle Lobby and tenant amenity spaces, the building’s management office relocated to the renovated second floor. To create a cohesive second floor, the management office’s palette pulls elements from the adjacent tech lounge and tenant lounge. Similar wood tones, accent colors, carpet patterns, and finishes help define the management office as a unique support space that is integrated into the rest of the building. As an extension of the updated lobby, 203 N LaSalle wanted to bring some continuity up to the upper floors. The updated upper elevator lobbies create a more relaxed, yet cohesive and impactful elevator lobby experience. The slatted wood ceiling, lighter wood tones, concrete-look tile, and play of textures with the tonal painted wall and back painted glass panels create a spin-off of the elevator lobby elements in the more formal 203 public lobby space. By October of 2016, the final vision was realized. A new main entrance off of LaSalle street brought new light and life to the building, allowing 203 LaSalle to be a competitor in the booming Class A office building market in downtown Chicago.
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The 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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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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Code 42 is a global leader in security software who believes that a better workplace leads to an improved product and therefore a better customer experience. Their new office in Minnesota’s technology hub offers a variety of collaborative spaces and destinations designed for bringing people together and improving communication, including a town hall space for company-wide gatherings and a monumental stair connecting all three floors. Amenities include a “genius bar” for walk-up IT support and a central pantry equipped with snacks and beverages, including a nitro cold brew on tap. Everything is designed to keep the Code42 team feeling happy, focused, and energized, with the end goal of creating the best possible experience for Code42 users.
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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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The Duchossois Group (TDG) was eager to create a new corporate headquarters for its leading brand, the Chamberlain Group Incorporated (CGI). The design of the building grows from the company’s vision to create a strategic, transformational platform that empowers and inspires, becoming a high-performance beacon that springboards the company’s legacy into a dynamic new future. The building consolidates over 650-people from four facilities onto one 20-acre suburban campus, bringing CGI’s multi-disciplinary team together into a lively new incubator space. The vision aimed to create a highly-flexible space that promoted a collaborative work environment, inspired employees and impressed guests. The terrazzo, stone, and wood finishes highlighted throughout the building were selected to give the space a timeless and fresh appearance, while strategically placed bursts of color and texture in collaboration areas enhance the energy of the environment and balance the neutral color pallet. Public amenities on the building’s first floor promote the health and wellness of employees as well as visitors. The spacious lobby provides an engaging and welcoming entry to the building. Natural light and exterior views create a visual connection to the outdoors. Just beyond the lobby is an open showroom which showcases CGI’s latest products through interactive media and physical displays. Tucked in the back of the building, the café offers both private and communal dining rooms that accommodate seating for 250 people with views of the outdoor terrace, walking path, and reflecting pond. The sculptural wall feature and wood slat ceiling brings movement and warmth to the bright and airy room. A vending area and full-service kitchen provide employees with a large variety of food options. The adjacent game room allows employees to connect in an informal setting. On the upper floors, interchangeable workplace modules and clusters of small seating zones provide the agility needed to foster collaboration from concept through prototyping. These zones become hubs of activity that are easily identified within the workspace. Demountable wall and glass front systems allow for frequent reconfiguration based on privacy needs. A suspended wood and glass communicating stair connects a central elevator lobby with the pantry that fosters serendipitous interactions with lounge areas and counter seating. The beneficial interactions were near impossible when CGI’s employees were split between buildings. Vibrant accent carpets and furniture with textural fabrics to bring warmth and interest to these common areas.
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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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Top restaurateurs and dining influencers Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas envisioned Michelin-star awarded Roister, their newest restaurant in the Fulton Market District of Chicago, as a literal interpretation of the word. Roister, defined by Merriam-Webster as “to engage in noisy revelry”, would be a casual take on fine dining, built upon the question of what it would be like for guests to “dine in the kitchen” with the chefs, showcasing center stage the process of raw to refined. The resulting experience is one where guests are effortlessly welcomed to become part the chef’s creative environment, watching the hands at work, and feeling the heat of an open wood fire grill giving way to the heart of flavorful, hip and creative, New American food and drink. Roister consists of two dining areas – a more raw main level and a refined lower level. Throughout, the many varied textures, finishes, and custom wall and ceiling elements speak to the relationship between raw and refined. The centrally located and completely open kitchen area on the main level features a large suspended blackened metal soffit which surrounds the large wood burning hearth. Custom blackened metal chandeliers, inspired by medieval armor skirting, hang over the large butcher block pass, which highlights the chefs center stage as a focal point for guests. On the first floor, blackened and polished wood beams span the walls and ceilings to create an energetic connectivity. The beams, featuring cantilevered shelves and embedded copper, lead to custom square copper sconces inlaid at their end points. A painting by Chicago-based artist hangs prominently in the front of the room, drawing guests in through floor-to-ceiling accordion foiling glass doors. The lower dining area –the more refined of the two spaces– includes a custom ceiling panel installation prominently spanning the breath of the room. The custom fabricated panels, when assembled create a continuous wave design that leads you through the space and changes in its appearance as viewed from varied settings. Each panel was custom fabricated and installed by the design/fabrication company and feature a pattern of coppered finished milled holes, which creates the transformative visual effect. The back end of the downstairs was designed to transform from a prep kitchen during the day to dining area at night. Counter sight lines flow directly through one main line. In the end, Roister provides its patrons with the opportunity to get closer than ever to the process, watching the chef’s move freely in their own space, with them at the heart of the creation process.
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Prior to moving into their new headquarters in 2017, William Blair had occupied the same office for more than 20 years. Traditional in layout and image, the space no longer supported the organization’s positioning in the market, business growth goals, or daily working dynamics. William Blair envisioned an upgraded experience for clients and guests, so it was important to ensure that the aesthetic aligns with the high-quality service they provide. Thus, the executive committee made decisions with these values in mind: to establish an enduring foundation of timeless authenticity; to build relationships in a uniquely welcoming, engaging, and globally fluent atmosphere; and to create an experience that reflects William Blair’s standards of practice. Built on an enduring foundation of timeless authenticity and global fluency, the completed design is a uniquely welcoming and engaging environment grounded in warmth, an ever-evolving experience of discovery, and connection. A world map stretches across the entryway wall and is made from layered and textured water jet-cut marble. Its subdued impact is purposeful, offering a subtle reinforcement of William Blair's global reach. Dynamic etched glass patterns dramatically transform the public spaces throughout the day as sun angles change. By delicately layering line and luminousness, the ethereal glass screens in the reception and conference center permeate the space with steady movement and an enduring energy. The glass fins are ethereal yet statuesque, balancing delight with an impression of stability and dependability. Their sculptural quality is juxtaposed by a futuristic look and feel. Floating over the elegantly angled panels are uncanny translucent video displays that surprise, captivate, and convey the remarkable story of William Blair. Selective use of finishes reinforces the authenticity goals, including: fumed eucalyptus with a smoky aged coloration and bold figuring, saw-cut stone on elevator walls, and a unique grey limestone quarried from a small hill in Italy. The space is a constant reminder that a forward-looking organization will never stand still. The design process involved workplace strategy discovery sessions, as well as identification of design priorities including: right-sizing individual space, offering individual and group choice, mobility, and improved amenities. After assessing the most effective use of space, William Blair has improved private workspaces, enhanced technology integration, and incorporated adjustable workstations, open collaboration zones, and a diversity of meeting rooms. New amenities include a full-floor conference center, full-service café, 100-person auditorium with raked seating and 20-foot-wide touch-screen AV wall, and a studio for broadcast recording. Enhanced concierge and food services are among the other notable upgrades. In a post-occupancy survey, William Blair reported an increase in positive client experience at the office by 30 percent and a 47 percent increase in talent recruitment due to the new workplace environment.
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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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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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One of the biggest design challenges that we faced on this project was to take a large empty warehouse space, and convert it into the modern functional job training facility that Aspire needed for it's participants - adults with intellectual & physical disabilities . This project was adaptive reuse at it's finest. The 'pod' idea was introduced to break up the large open warehouse space into specific job training areas. These pods were designed to emulate a cityscape, with a center compass design detail to centralize & direct flow. Color coding was also incorporated to individually brand each pod for it's training function & help with wayfinding. With no full height ceilings, sound control also became a challenge for our team. Carpet was an intentional flooring choice to help reduce sound reverberation. Partial soffits & suspended acoustical clouds were placed within each pod to help reduce noise & create the illusion of an enclosed space. SQUARE FOOTAGE: 15,000 SF BUDGET: $1,282,560 COST SAVINGS: $190, 516
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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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Established locally in Chicago, Purohit Navigation is a strategically-focused healthcare communications and advertising agency. Since 1985, Purohit Navigation has helped brands creatively navigate to success through the relentless pursuit of strategy and creativity. After decades of success, Purohit felt their office space needed an upgrade to reflect their outstanding brand and innovative team of professionals behind it. The team desired an environment that was open, inviting, and promoted collaboration, so they added huddle touch-points, lowered their cubicle heights, and moved rooms away from the window line. Upon completion of construction, Purohit was eager to move into their new corporate headquarters in the tallest building in Chicago. Located on the 62nd floor of the historic Willis Tower, Purohit’s new 10,000 square-foot corporate headquarters was designed efficiently to fit their needs and considered future growth. Purohit envisioned a space that reflected their creative and imaginative brand while also being flexible enough to support the ever-growing company. The design concept addressing Purohit’s goals for their new space was entitled “The Creative Path”. The space was designed for both clients and staff to enjoy feature, collaborative touch-down areas surrounded by bright & open office space. Pops of company branding elements and highlights of their work are featured along “The Creative Path”. Purohit’s creative thought process is emphasized in the design by using the firm’s vibrant, branding graphics and colors throughout. Each of Purohit’s branding colors represent different aspects of the company, including its people, services, work, and more. The color brand guidelines helped to lead the design and give meaning to each selection. Extra attention was paid to how these areas were emphasized with feature lighting and millwork design. All millwork was custom designed to fit Purohit’s needs whether it was used strictly for storage or to highlight Purohit’s outstanding awards and accolades, while maintaining a modern, clean façade. “The Creative Path” concept within the open office environment proved to be a success in creating a home for this visionary brand. The office strikes a perfect balance between expressing Purohit’s personality and creating a timeless design for the future. The result is a synergetic office environment that will inspire employees and clients alike for years to come.
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Located on the ground floor of Tooker House, Arizona State University’s new living/learning community for engineering students, the 27,000-square-foot Tooker House Dining Hall provides 545 seats for all-you-care-to-eat dining. The facility provides a variety of comfortable and flexible seating options to enjoy four food venues: pizza, salad/deli, grill, and rotating international cuisine. The design team created a unique space that would speak to the interests of Tooker House residents. As such, the space uses minimal finishes to expose concrete floor, support columns, and ceiling. The few finishes used in the space blend natural materials like wood and metal expressed in a desert palette. A social stair rises from the ground floor and connects to the second floor mezzanine which offers additional seating for dining. The second floor also features flexible design elements to support extended use as a study lounge after traditional meal time hours with moveable furniture, a wall for video projection, and small group seating areas with laptop-based technology and display monitors. A P.O.D. Market (Provisions on Demand)—a modern corner store featuring grab-and-go dining options and essentials found in traditional convenience stores- supports the late night activity and function of the space. Sustainability was a top priority for the entire complex and the project is LEED Gold.
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Transformation requires equal measures of nature and nurture. When untapped human capital and the conditions for growth combine – life flourishes. This non-profit organization’s new facility provides the opportunity to help Chicago’s teens discover and stretch their potential. As part of a predesign workshop, students, staff and alumni of the after-school and summer teen programs shared their vision for effective learning spaces. The resounding desires were for flexible spaces linking the activities of one program space to another and creating an omnipresence of the organization’s culture. Previously an insurance headquarters, this donated building was transformed into a four-story setting that responds to student input for spaces that reflect their personality and encourage collaboration. On each floor, garage doors connect perimeter studios to a central flex space which invites educators to open the doors and create a single free-flowing learning space. Students of all programs share ideas over casual pin ups or gallery displays of their work. Bookended by a commons/lobby and a teaching kitchen, the ground level circulation “boulevard” affords glimpses into vocal, dance and tech studios, creating a dynamic and interconnected community of performance. The new facility will have a huge impact on the organization’s mission of positively transforming the lives of teens and their communities, with approximately 1,500 neighborhood teens annually being served by the new center. The center represents the organization’s first owned space and will serve as a model for teen programming across the city. Finishes include OSB and cement board cladding the walls of public spaces, daring teens to nail to, paint over, mosaic tile on or otherwise customize them to express their creative energy. Vibrant, saturated colors reflect the organization’s brand identity, brighten the studios and simplify wayfinding. Sustainability was at the forefront of the design of the center. The design team’s goal was to re-use as many existing elements as possible while retrofitting for the new use and code compliance. By exposing the existing structure and celebrating raw concrete flooring, the team created an aesthetic from materials already in place, minimizing the carbon footprint. New materials are composed of natural elements – cement board cladding, oriented strand board and steel trim. To provide natural light, new window openings were cut into the building shell, allowing daylight to shine through the glass-clad garage doors of the perimeter studios and into the shared spaces. Civically and socially, the facility offers the community a haven for teens to explore their interests and develop their talents. The new teen center serves as a neighborhood beacon of cultural display and celebration. As the donation of the building met long-standing organizational vision, the organization is itself transformed from a tenant into an owner and operator.
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Specialty Rooms: Test Kitchens (6 fully functioning cooking kitchens: 50% electric range & 50% gas range), Cake Decorating Studio, Photography Studio, Videography Studio, Staging Studio, Prop Storage Rooms, Climate Controlled Cake Storage, Industrial Design 3-D Printing Studio, Renovation & Rebranding to an existing internal staircase. Client Culture: Wilton asks their customers to be creative, therefore their new office space needed to exemplify the creativity of the brand. Their past office space was spread across 4 different buildings, some locations over ½ mile away from each other, therefor as to promote communication, the goal was to infusing curiosity throughout the office. Client History: Client products infiltrated the design in the most casual of ways, for example stacked rolling pins created a separation wall between the café and corridor and wooden spoons which were strung together provided a screening device in other areas. Early Coordination: The full project team was brought on early during the real estate search in order to confirm that the specialty requirements could be met at the final selected location.
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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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Cushman & Wakefield sought to consolidate its real-estate footprint, which in turn presented an opportunity to create a headquarters reflecting their new global brand and culture. Our firm crafted flexible and collaborative workspaces, capitalizing on existing vistas and outdoor access in an effort to enrich the social experience of Cushman’s employees. Cushman’s new “home” also presented a series of challenges that in the end yielded dramatic and inspiring results. We converted a 10,000SF law library into a shared work lounge; featuring a 22’ barrel vault ceiling, sweeping views of the Chicago River, and a 16’x9’ media display embedded in a towering millwork feature. One of the greatest challenges was providing a holistic work environment. Together, our teams achieved LEED and WELL Certifications, encompassing good design practiced; such as height-adjustable workstations, concentration spaces, social hubs, healthy food access, and access to a rooftop patio with green roof and walking path.
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Our team is so proud to have been part of this beautiful project! Given its stunning location blessed with such spectacular views, working on this property represented a rewarding collaboration between owner, architect, and designer. This project encompassed a complete re-imagining of the property’s two-bedroom suite with 12 new custom-designed suites incorporated in a building recently added to the property. The design blends coastal ambiance with customized modern details. Combining traditional coastal shingle architecture with contemporary interiors embraces the property's location through design, texture, and locally inspired artwork and accessories. Each two-bedroom suite includes a fully equipped kitchen, living room with fireplace, dining room, five-fixture bathroom, as well as a fully furnished deck. The suites were designed to cater to romantic couples as well as vacationing families eager to entertain. The finishes and furnishings encourage guests to feel as though they were relaxing at their home away from home. Hand-scraped wood, wide-plank hardwood flooring, and custom hand-tufted area rugs all establish a sense of welcoming luxury. Comfortable custom seating throughout integrates a variety of textures and patterns allowing guests to sit back and unwind. Some of the challenges the team encountered with this project was the site and how to maximize the guest opportunity to views while not negatively impacting the existing guest experience. Timing was also a challenge being able to start and complete the project in time for the properties high season. We are proud to have been part of this project and even more proud to be continuing work at this beautiful site.
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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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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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Comprised of three distinct zones, Roche Diagnostics’ new Learning and Development Center is organized around double-height, sky-lit spaces. North-facing, vertical sawtooth skylight monitors introduce daylight deep into the center of the nave-like plan. Bright white metal and glass establishes a modern aesthetic and consistent brand identity for the Indianapolis campus for the Swiss-based pharmaceutical company. Overlooking the diagnostic laboratories located on the ground floor below, designated Training and Educational zones are located on the second floor. Open, flexible break out spaces are located intermittently between formal meeting rooms, while the adjacent atrium openings enables guests to view the diagnostic laboratories while participating in formal training sessions. Embodying Roche’s commitment to energy efficiency, the building features a series of functional elements that characterize the architectural form and are emblematic of the scientific functionalism inherent in Roche’s products. Incorporating strict requirements for environmental sustainability, simplicity, and efficiency using the vocabulary of modernist architecture, the building established the architectural grammar of this site for the 21st century.
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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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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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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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A high-profile corner lot presented the opportunity to create a striking entry. Corner glass and a grandiose black metal cantilevered canopy support a refined and classy greeting as visitors step inside. The corner location also proved challenging, however, as usable space became limited after setbacks and parking needs were accounted for, and fire safety requirements restricted where to build. The highly efficient space planning practices resulted in double the treatment rooms of River Walk Family Dental's former office, in a space only slightly larger in square footage. Differing aesthetic tastes between the two doctors, as well as city design guidelines, lead to the design team's clever juxtaposition of otherwise opposing themes. Modern elements are cunningly incorporated into the traditional design through color, detail, and materials. On the exterior, black shingles and white fiber cement siding are accented with black metal windows lending to a modern feel. Natural stone adds warmth and connects the building to its contextual history. Intersecting masses are cloaked in traditional residential materials, yet dramatically defined with geometric shifts in direction and detail. Harking back to the town's farming and agricultural history, the simple forms rejuvenate an architectural style accustomed to by local residents, seamlessly connecting the time honored architectural tradition to the present. Contemporary and traditional aesthetics are unified in the interior by mixing a light, neutral color palette with boldly dark accents. Black light fixtures and trim, and a walnut-stained sculptural staircase centerpiece are energetic and eye-catching against their calm surroundings. Patients enter at ease, feeling an air of class and luxury, and leave feeling positive and comfortable about their visit.
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As OKW Architects anticipates the 60 year milestone of successful client relationships and project design, we celebrate this journey with an exciting, new brand experience. We are proud of our brand’s distinct style as well as the design process that led us to its inception. Our rebrand has paid off in more ways than one. The first being our OKW office expansion/renovation. We were able to extend the brand experience to our built environment. OKW Architects’ brand centers around an inclusive approach to design. The planning and design of our renovated office needed to reflect that brand by increasing day-to-day collaboration amongst team members. We achieved this result through two primary strategies: 1) provide employees more choice in types of environments to meet with each other and work with each other; 2) create open site lines throughout the office In addition to the revitalized workspace, our new office also features a spacious reception zone to welcome visitors. This space, which we refer to as ‘The Link’, includes an open kitchen to hospitably serve our guests and is designed for fully flexible use. The Link has visibility into our work environment as well, so that anyone who walks through our front door is immediately engaged in the most important aspect of our space: our creative process and its resulting product.
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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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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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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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What is occurring in malls throughout the United States and their ability to adapt to cultural change, is a significant challenge for the retail industry. This project is an adaptive reuse, transforming an underutilized part of the Mall at Wellington Green and bringing it back to life. This process required some of the most complex, sophisticated, and programmatic challenges that one can encounter. We took a big box furniture retailer and turned that former use into a thriving entertainment district for the mall. The project makes a visitor rethink the psychology of the arrival to the mall. The former dock, what people recognized as the back of the building and a neglected part of the building, became the formal entry into this new entertainment district. This has dramatically transformed the image of place at that part of the mall since its inception. The Starwood Entertainment Complex at Wellington Green is the first of its kind in the Miami-Dade area. The client and theater operator tasked the design team with creating a unique theater experience through textures and materials to be used in clever and unconventional ways. It was imperative that wayfinding and circulation be intuitive and natural while forcing patrons to observe and interact with other mall tenants. Starwood wanted to create a spark of excitement at the mall through dynamic and innovative architecture. The design team achieved these goals through use of lighting elements, colors and textures as wayfinding devices. The renovation has cleverly transformed what was perceived as the service end of the building into a bright new welcoming entry. An existing loading zone, trash enclosure, and transformer yard have been reconfigured and concealed utilizing new architectural elements that initiate an intuitive wayfinding journey. To provide optimized sightlines and acoustics, the existing roof was raised 15’-0” above the its existing position. Using patented technology and techniques, this engineering feat created an overall volume that provides theater goers with an exceptional movie experience. Through use of color and material, the interiors are activated to define the various functions, lounge areas, ticketing, and restaurant entries. All 10 theater auditoriums have a distinct color that is associated with them, providing a playful interaction with movie-goers as they navigate from color coded walls and floor patterns that lead them to their movie experience. The ultimate goal of the project was to increase visibility, awareness, and sales. The theater and adjacent restaurant have been wildly successful and continue to increase foot traffic. The transformative design of the project has cemented itself as an icon for the Wellington community.
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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 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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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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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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The Physics Research Center (PRC) is the new home for theoretical and experimental physics at the University of Chicago. The center was designed as an adaptive reuse of an existing midcentury modern research building – including a gut renovation of the majority of the interior space, a complete new enclosure, and two new occupied floor levels over the existing structure. Sited on the University’s North Science Quad, surrounded by large research buildings, the PRC was conceived as their human-scale counterpart, a building that celebrates the legacy and stature of physics at the University with refinement, rather than size. The original building, called the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research (LASR), was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and completed in 1964. The simple, rational LASR building, characterized by an expressed structure and wide floor plates, presented challenges for renovation due to its intricate reinforced concrete joists and girders, shallow floor-to-floor heights, and uninsulated enclosure. The University chose to retain the existing structure in part to maintain and protect a landmark research project that has been operating continuously in the building since the 1960s. The reuse of the existing structure also reduced the environmental impact and influenced the design of the new construction. Beyond providing modern facilities, the University of Chicago saw this project as an opportunity to consolidate the theorists and experimentalists into a single building. The PRC program was developed to facilitate the engagement between these disciplines with support for both individual focus and group work. The program introduced collaboration spaces for the physicists, which offered the potential for more effective meeting and discourse, but also potential concerns about acoustics. This balance between private focus and group engagement emerged as the primary design challenge in this project. To address the physicists’ concerns, the concept design was diagrammed to clarify the arrangement of public vs private space. This concern was further addressed with extensive acoustic analysis and detailing (finishes, underlayment) throughout the building. This building includes new flexible experimental physics labs and special purpose instrument labs. The design team located light- and electromagnetic-sensitive labs in the building’s interior and basement, taking advantage of the existing building massing and maximizing daylighting on the broad lower levels. Contrary to current workspace trends, which emphasize open office environments, the workspaces in the PRC are primarily private offices, which offer acoustic separation and individual temperature and lighting control. The offices are grouped into neighborhoods for research sub-disciplines. At the connection points between these neighborhoods, small collaboration nodes provide natural breakout space for impromptu discussions. There are also enclosed conference rooms and semi-enclosed lounges to support a variety of meeting types. Shared spaces are connected to natural light, outdoor views, and dining. Vertical circulation increases chance encounters between people, a nudge toward communication and collaboration. A seminar room, which hosts regular lectures, colloquia, and conferences, is cantilevered out from the existing structure, with an expansive window wall that frames the interior activities of PRC for the North Science Quad. The placement and disposition of the room highlights its role as the most public space in the building. This formal, scheduled room is complemented by a lunch commons that serves as the informal center of the PRC. The central location, double-height glass wall, and chalkboard walls make it a natural gathering space for group meals and lunchtime talks. An open stairwell connects circulation across two floor levels. An adjoining roof terrace extends this space to the outdoors and provides a unique vantage point above the quad. The PRC is now a world-class research center on a world-class, architecturally renowned campus—a place that will impact scientific research for decades to come.
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McDermott, Will & Emery faced the difficult choice of staying within the traditional confines of law firm design or adopting a new concept that could potentially alienate senior attorneys. Our design firm found the optimal balance by designing an office rooted in tradition, but with modern amenities, forward-thinking technology, and housed in the newest Class A tower in Chicago. MWE's main reception became a powerful two-story space with floor to ceiling glass, showcasing an impressive view of Lake Michigan and Chicago’s skyline and river. One floor up, we designed and built a bright and welcoming Community Center that shares more in common with an upscale hotel lounge than a space for unscheduled legal meetings. Borrowing from the restaurant industry, the space includes banquette-style seating and a sliding door that create smaller spaces within this relaxed environment. In doing so, the space can exist as an extension of the office despite its hospitality-based look and feel. As the legal industry follows broader patterns by becoming increasingly mobile, employees are being given the opportunity to choose their work environment. This community center shows that an elegant and comfortable space can encourage relaxation without sacrificing the infrastructure and spaces necessary to conduct business. The results are apparent beyond the office's aesthetic appeal. Partner-in-charge Lydia R.B. Kelley has noted that "productivity has gone up, and we haven't changed anything other than moving here."
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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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The focus of this project was providing flexibility and expandability. The design team worked to create new approach to the office environment by utilizing design elements including a demountable wall system, flexible technology and diverse working spaces to allow for easy collaboration and customization. Driven by the team-focused nature of the working process at Uptake, the sea of desks that are a staple of the traditional open office plan have a new twist. Benching is arranged in rows, segmented by partial height demountable glass walls that act as meeting pods for the adjacent teams. The glass is dual-purpose-serving as a white board for talking through ideas, as well as providing acoustic insulation within the open office without interrupting the visual expanse. The open office isn't the only place where things look a little different. Uptake's training room, Uptake University, re-imagines the typically drab, uninteresting learning spaces as a classroom for oddities and exploration. A skeleton in the corner and scientific prints on the walls accent vintage furniture and old books. Extra-large monitors, state of the art audio-visual equipment and acoustical solutions like ceiling baffles and felt curtains merge this old school story with modern technology. Adajcent to the open office, the Atrium serves as a collaboration space for Uptake employees and their clients. The design team integrated the complex audio-visual throughout the space to maintain maximum flexibility and showcase advanced augmented reality tables that highlight the benefits of Uptake's services for clients. In the open space, custom-designed tables sit on casters, allowing for mobility at a moment's notice. Diversity in the furniture, ranging from comfy sofas and ottomans to a brightly lit millwork desk and chairs along the window provide clients with flexible options to suit any need. Three-sided causal meeting pods are equipped with brainstorming tables featuring integrated paper rolls for endless scribbling and idea-sketching. The far corner of the Atrium houses the maker space, where Uptake staff can design and prototype new ideas using screen printing machines, laser cutters and large-format printers. The high-paced environment of the open office is juxtaposed with social spaces like the break room, the serene setting of the yoga/meditation space and the peaceful calm of the 'heads-down' library. The break area, inspired by a roof deck patio is surrounded by ivy and sits adjacent to a tree-lined lawn. A custom millwork trellis takes the shape of the Uptake logo, keeping the company branding strong in every nook of the office. If the noise of the break room is too much, Uptake staff will find solace at the library. Designated as a 'quiet space', the library offers a variety of colorful seating options for a little bit of heads-down alone time. Additionally, the Zen Den offers a space for yoga, massages and mindfulness. Featuring multiple lighting modes, plentiful plant life and a functioning fountain, the Zen Den is the perfect place to get away.
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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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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 DESIGN INTENT WAS IMPLEMENTED UTILIZING AN EVIDENCE BASED DESIGN STRATEGY INCLUDING RESEARCH, INSPIRATION AND CASE STUDIES OF EXISTING SPACES. THE CO-WORKING COMMUNITY IS DESIGNED TO MEET THE NEEDS OF VARIOUS TYPES OF NEW BUSINESSES - WHETHER IT BE A QUICKLY GROWING START-UP, OR A ONE-MAN SHOW, THE SPACE ACCOUNTS FOR EVERY NEED AND FUNCTION OF A SMALL BUSINESS, ATTRACTING YOUNG PROFESSIONALS TO STRIVE IN THE FLEXIBLE WORK ENVIRONMENT. AN ADDITIONAL FEATURE OF THE SPACE IS ITS ABILITY TO CONVERT INTO AN EVENT SPACE AFTER PEAK WORK HOURS, UTILIZING THE GALLERY, PANTRY, CONFERENCE ROOMS AND AUDITORIUM.
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Slayton Search Partners provides access to executive talent for global corporations. Accordingly, their new workplace needed to make an impressive impact on clients while still pleasing the staff. When they said they envisioned a swanky, penthouse loft vibe, we knew of the perfect place, and more importantly, we understood how to optimize the unusual geometry of the space and its quirks to make it work efficiently without sacrificing its cool factor. We used abrupt angles to divide large, exterior offices diagonally, giving them each window access and maximizing the wedge-shaped floor plan. Raw columns punctuate the space and contrast with premium finishes and lots of glass. The result is distinctive and cerebral, right in line with the company’s forte.
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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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The Climate Corporation, an agriculture tech company, was in the market for an open office that would be able to bring in industrial qualities without sacrificing acoustics, an environment by which it would attract talent from the competitive tech market, space to grow as a company and incorporate a large workshop/lab to test drive and build prototypes for their business. All of which they were lacking at their current location. Finding the right building to bring solutions to these problems was key. After selecting their new home in the West Loop, the team was able to provide headcount to grow for the next 5 years, incorporate a nearly 2,000 s/f lab facility and tailor to the eclectic look that gives Climate Corporation a sense of pride in their branded environment. The lab is the beating heart of their organization used to test technology and build prototypes. With the scale of the lab and the amount of noisy equipment inside, containing and absorbing sound was of utmost concern. Increased mass of the labs partitions, raised flooring system, sound batting atop a high CAC acoustical ceiling tile all help contain and absorb sound within the lab and decreases disruption to neighbors adjacent, above and below. Other areas contain dropped ceiling in conferences rooms, felt walls and ceilings, baffles, laminated glass and custom printed acoustical panels to help tackle the sound concerns of an open office without compromising on the aesthetic. Incorporating their vintage tractor, custom built silo conference rooms, reclaimed wood and custom graphics helped bring in character and provide an eclectic look to set them apart while paying tribute to their farmers and their field. The space visually represents the important technology the company offers to customer with features such as mission statement in binary code. A custom three dimensional art piece to represent an aerial view of crop fields is present as you enter off the elevator lobby. The new Chicago location offers space for 40 employees, but will allow the company to more than double its staff size in the next three to five years.
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Planning Strategy: With a pronounced perimeter window line, it was important to disengage the workstations from the window line to freely float the benching stations and thus optimize usage. This also gave permission for the perimeter bays to be used by all, rather than only the workstations immediately adjacent to the windows. Answering the call to engage the staff upon entering the elevator lobby, the design team relocated the client standard stock ticker from the belt line of the wall to the base line so as to stay in the eye-range of the staff as they walked and looked at their mobile devices. Increased Metrics: The USF/person was decreased to 123 USF/person, while the conference room space was increased from 1:6 ratio (conference seat: head count) to a 1: 1.5 ratio. In addition to the enclosed meeting spaces over 170 seats for open collaboration & alternative work areas were provided. There were also worship rooms, wellness rooms and private phone rooms in addition to the multiple cafes & coffee bars. Compliance & Security: As with any financial institution, security (internal & external) is a major factor in the design. This project was no different and added an additional layer of European guidelines which had to be met while still working within the boundaries of Chicago’s fire-life-safety requirements. Infrastructure: In addition to the architectural coordination required for the two generators, roof top cooling units, supplemental air for the trading floor and other mission critical requirements; the team created a 2-story reception area and designed a floating stair which hangs from the above ceiling structure.
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The 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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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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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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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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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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Once a destination for presidents, Hollywood royalty and notorious mobsters, this hotel celebrates its unique history in the heart of the city’s cultural district through a strategically curated design. The interior design team was challenged to craft an aesthetic where elements – both vintage and new – come together to create a space you don’t simply visit, but one you experience. The engaging interiors tell stories through subtle layers, paying tribute to the history of the property, with an edge that makes it modern and fresh. FF&E selections provide a residential quality, beckoning visitors to make themselves at home. Here, visitors are more than just guests, they are residents; no matter the length of stay. The team was required to utilize a majority of the existing historical aspects, such as landmarked wood paneling and historical lighting. Carefully striking a balance between old and new, the designers focused on developing the environment at eye level. To construct a more activated lobby, a dedicated area for live jazz music sits adjacent to the fireplace, drawing vibrant crowds of visitors and locals alike, in a relaxed and inviting setting. Anchoring the center of the lobby is a custom, vintage-styled vitrine that is brought to life in the evening as a liquor cabinet, offering cocktail service that enlivens the space’s spirited atmosphere. For additional charm and local context, one-of-a-kind accent pieces were handpicked from local antique shops. The crown jewel of the hotel, the Crystal Ballroom, was revitalized along with its pre-function spaces using regional art, smoky-colored carpets and elegant wallcoverings, bringing renewed energy to the spaces while allowing their architectural bones to shine. With a distinctive, yet playful approach, the club-level lounge was re-envisioned for today's rewards traveler. The property’s political past informs the lounge’s design, but with a lighthearted twist – from presidential pop art to bobblehead figures lining the shelves.
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Founded in 1857 and based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Northwestern Mutual is the nation's largest direct provider of individual life insurance and a leader in financial services. To facilitate their continued growth and industry leading performance, Northwestern Mutual expanded their existing downtown Milwaukee corporate campus. Northwestern Mutual’s leaders envision a world-class facility that provides a robust and modern business platform for their current and future needs; is a desirable place for its employees and financial representatives to work and gather; that will help to recruit and retain employees. Research The project began with an extensive research and visioning program. John Schlifske, Northwestern Mutual’s CEO, and the corporate leadership team had established a vision to transform the company, introducing new work practices, re envisioning the company’s product offerings and interaction style with its policyholder/owners. Building on extensive stakeholder interviews, immersion by the team in emerging work practices, utilization study, best practices study and workshops with company leaders, the design team established a vision for the new Northwestern Mutual headquarters offices. The Commons A new campus “Commons” provides circulation and shared campus amenities for three existing office buildings and a new 26 story office tower. Employees are encouraged to dine at the 1800 seat dining facility which provide free lunch and an extended day place to meet and work. The companies 5000 field sales agents are welcomed to a corporate identity center and to a state of the art training facility. A multi purpose room hosts town hall meetings and community events. Also within the commons are a fitness center, business center, lobby café, and shop. Work Place A constant at this time in Northwestern Mutual’s history is change. The headquarters staff innovate new approaches to the way that they work and how teams are organized to meet new initiatives. Office floors were designed to be highly flexible with employees in open office neighborhoods. Within each neighborhood are enclosed places to meet, to complete focused work activities, to have private conversations, to make social connections with fellow employees, or to brainstorm a new product offering or operational approach. Enclosed, more formal conference spaces are segregated to one side of the office core allowing employees work spaces an expansive view of the lake front. At the center of each floor is a central hub with coffee and a place for informal meetings.
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To create and design a restaurant with name and logo, type of food, theme, and finishing materials. The restaurant has to be wheelchair accessible and have ample space for traffic flow. Designed building is 4,500 square feet and requires minimum of 1,350 sq ft of space for kitchen. Habaneros is a traditional Mexican restaurant with a modern twist in design, inspired by the nature of Mexico and located in Chicago. The color scheme chosen represents the habanero pepper, as well as the warm colors that remind people of Mexico. Sustainability is a main focus, with reuse of materials, energy efficiency, greenery, and eco-friendly materials and textiles. Locally grown organic food is provided in Habaneros to help boost the local economy, reduce environmental impact, and to offer a healthier diet. Habaneros is ADA accessible. The main traffic flow gives ample space for both patrons and wait staff. There is a max seating capacity of 132. Habaneros is for people of all ages to enjoy and is a dynamic place that feels like a break from the busy streets of Chicago.
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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 Gallery on Wells is a new LEED Gold residential tower located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. This project is comprised of two buildings linked by a common corridor: an existing office building and a new 40-story residential building that contains 442 residential units. As a result, one of the biggest design challenges was creating a cohesive design that caters to both user groups. This programming challenge resulted in the design decision to strategically place shared community flex areas in the office portion of the linked tower. The programming decision optimizes city views for all users and includes visibility to the shared 26,000 square foot amenity roof deck. Additional shared amenity spaces include an outdoor lap pool, a professionally managed fitness center and various lounge rooms, including a game room. Dark finishes accented with pops of color, museum-quality artwork, and customized wallcoverings successfully cater to both demographics in a seamless manner that simultaneously exudes professionalism and the comfort of home. Upon entering the residential lobby, a depth of layering welcomes visitors and residents. An element of surprise is introduced as one moves through the space, where a decorative concrete block screen and stained wood slats unveil a bright elevator foyer. A unique amenity at The Gallery on Wells is a coffee shop adjacent to the main residential entry. The client envisioned a fluidity between the lobby and the coffee shop to result in a casual yet sophisticated interior. To retain the formality of a residential entrance, the design team introduced a concept to distinguish a transition between the spaces: a large entry portal of blackened steel, heavy velvet drapery and decorative floor tile, which now creates a marked hospitality niche.
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