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.
For this restaurant, the designer was challenged to create a minimum 48-seat dining room, 12-seat private dining space, and 16-seat bar while leaving enough room for the minimum 1000 square foot kitchen. The first floor space at 180 North Wacker contains many preexisting architectural details such as structural columns, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a unique footprint. The restaurant had to address the issues of external light and sound from the site's location on the Chicago River adjacent to the elevated tracks of the Green and Pink lines. Upon entry to the space a small to-go coffee counter offers people a low-commitment way to "try out" the space before sitting down for a meal. The arabica bean is Ethiopia's main export, and they take their tea and coffee very seriously. The bar and main booth seating are set up along the same angle of the building envelope to help the space feel seamless with the exterior. A blue acid-washed bar and series of lanterns that vary in scale and height play with the view of the Chicago river from the north and west sides of the space. While the main dining room is meant to be bright and bustling, the private dining space offers a calming respite. This is represented in the artwork chosen for each space: while the dining room features a vibrant piece in traditional Ethiopian style, the private dining space offers a view in Simien Mountain National Park that also serves to mirror the Chicago River. The hands-on nature of the cuisine inspired the booth seating, which accommodates a wide variety of seating combinations to encourage people to bring their friends and family to build community at the dinner table. The semi-open kitchen is delineated by a series of windows mimicking the exterior of the space. This not only visually unifies the interior and exterior, but allows guests to see in to the kitchen to view the preparation of a cuisine they may not be familiar with, given the lack of representation in the neighborhood. This unification gives a seamless experience to the guest, who is simultaneously taken to a new locale while still feeling at home in Chicago.
191 North Wacker is a class A office building in downtown Chicago. For their tenant amenities, Eastlake conceived two distinct yet interconnected spaces: a large multi-functional conference space and an intimate wi-fi lounge. An expansive glass wall provides visual connection with acoustical privacy between the conference space and the lounge, reinforcing the interrelation of the two programs. The meeting room can be quickly reconfigured with an operable partition to accommodate groups ranging from 20 to 110. The lounge consists of a series of spaces offering varying degrees of privacy and engagement: refreshment bar, game area, and fabric-wrapped “quiet booths.” Occupants of the building can use the lounge as a quiet work space during the day, a meet-up space during lunch, or an after-hours event spot at night.
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.
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.
The challenge with this home was the need create a new look, update the traditional style, while working around some existing pieces of furniture that were to stay in the home. Some of the clients furniture was reupholstered and used in other rooms. We changed the entire color scheme of the home by repainting the walls. This began the process to update the look and feel of their home. The living room fell right off of the foyer and was the focal point as guests came into their home. The piano was the only existing piece we kept in this room. New floor plan was created making the space easy to entertain in. New furniture, lighting, custom drapery, new wall color and faux finish to the fireplace. We also lightened up the built-in bookcase by framing them with molding, painting and adding wallpaper to the background. Dining room furniture stayed, we selected new wall color,wallpaper, lighting, area rug, custom drapery, lighting and reupholstered dining room chairs. Our client was tired of the existing drab, muddy colors in her kitchen so we painted and glazed existing cabinets and added new hardware. We also added new light fixtures, fresh new back splash, new kitchen table with zinc top and chairs, as well as custom roman shades and area rug. Custom floral was added to complete the design. The master bedroom was another space we designed around the existing bedroom furniture. We complemented the furniture with custom bedding and drapery and new wall color. The ceiling is very high, so to add interest and dimension to the room and designed faux beams to the ceiling as well as adding trim detail to the walls. The challenge we faced in this room was finding a solution to reduce natural light coming through the small decorative window. We solved this problem by adding exterior slat system that covered the window as well as interior shutter treatment. Double traversing drapery with blackout lining also helped reduce the amount of light that came into the room. Master bath cabinets were painted and glazed. New hardware, counter top, lighting, mirrors and custom valance completed the look. The office needed work space for the husband and wife to wok at independently. We created a new floor plan including two desk and executive chairs, reupholstered chairs from the living room, re-framed existing art , custom roman shades, and reused living room area rug.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A space within a space -- Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse houses one of Chicago’s most elite champagne rooms. The challenge was to create intrigue while revealing enough impactful details to cause curiosity amongst diners – and to create an elegant and feminine room that “screams champagne”. With that in mind we designed an “undulating” wall to create a harmonious flow between the vertical access points and the steakhouse’s dining spaces on the third floor. Behind this dark charcoal grey wall, there is a light and airy space with plush comfortable seating and delicate architectural details. The floors are made up of rich chevron oak planks that collide into a mosaic marble floor inset framing the curved bar. Above the bar, a hand-blown glass globe installation hangs over the space resembling champagne bubbles. The main accent elements incorporate brass and copper details that tie back to the inherent and recognizable champagne and rose tones. Seating in the space was extremely important as the main goal was to give it that comfort you find at home. We incorporated residential style lounge and wing chairs in smaller clustered grouping for a more intimate experience. The larger banquette style seats showcase tightly tufted backs and custom marble cocktail tables.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rarely can an organization say their building is the first of its kind. The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, is an example of a facility that redefines the term “innovation" — it was designed to make a transformative difference in the way science and care coexist. The client's vision was to reshape the future of rehabilitation and transform the way discoveries are applied to advance human ability. The design is a reflection of that vision both inside and out. The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is the number one destination for adults and children with the most severe, complex conditions — from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries to stroke, cancer, and amputation. The 1.2 million SF facility is the first-ever “translational" research hospital where clinicians, scientists, innovators and technologists work together in shared, flexible spaces, surrounding patients, discovering new approaches and applying (or “translating") research in real time. Concepts integral to translational health drove planning and design. Here, research doesn't just coexist with patient care — it's integrated full-time into the clinical environment, engaging patients in the process. Each of the five ability labs, applied research and therapeutic spaces, provide for both active and visible “front stage" patient work with clinicians and researchers. Then, each lab has a private, heads-down “back stage" space for analysis and planning. Likewise, technology is embedded throughout. Clinicians and researchers measure every aspect of patients' activities to mine data that will improve outcomes faster and enable researchers to learn and share new insights in real-time. The design complements this approach: every inch of the building is designed for healthcare and every inch is designed for research. ABILITY LABS The ability labs combine research and clinical care in a shared space to shorten the feedback loop between clinicians, patients, and researchers — driving innovation of new solutions to maximize human ability. Each ability lab addresses different medical conditions and assists patients with very different challenges. The five lab types are 'Think + Speak', 'Legs + Walking', Arms + Hands', 'Strength + Endurance', and 'Pediatrics.' The design challenge was to identify and elaborate those stories working closely with the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab's team, and from there to extrapolate into the physical sphere. The design team prioritized ideas capable of supporting a culture of hope, optimism and achievement, and took these principles into the custom design of workplace, interior architecture, furniture, graphics, and therapy equipment to fully realize the hospital's unique vision. PATIENT USER EXPERIENCE The Patient User Experience has multiple touch points and extends along the entire patient journey — from entering the facility to arriving at patient rooms. This experience is manifested through the design in many ways, from the extra wide corridors curved at every corner for better sight lines and mobility to optimized spaces that communicate wellness. For instance, many patients enter the facility lying on their backs. Therefore, an early decision was made to prioritize the design of ceilings to connect with those patients In addition, motivational interior graphics and wayfinding support the mission of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Access to natural light is maximized. Extensive landscaping and green space throughout the upper spaces afford access to gardens for patients and visitors. East and west corridors are punctuated by vistas to give patients and visitors a break from the rigorous therapy and offer dramatic views of Chicago and Lake Michigan.
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.
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.
Seyfarth Shaw has long been recognized for its progressive approach to the business of law, and for grounding that approach in the design of their work environments. The design Firm has partnered with Seyfarth at multiple points along this evolutionary journey. The next step on that path was the relocation of their Chicago office to high rise floors in the iconic Willis Tower – scheduled for occupancy in early 2016. The project's primary objective was to highlight and demonstrate Seyfarth's commitment to innovation – in legal practice, service delivery and workplace design. Through a deep dive workplace strategy process, we discovered three key project planning drivers: Enable focused workflow. Create private spaces for attorneys with smart adjacencies to support lawyers in the act of lawyering. Engage strong social and knowledge networks. Encourage greater integration between attorneys, staff and practice areas by distributing meeting and learning spaces throughout the office stack, thus leveraging individual choice for anywhere, anytime productivity. Enthrall staff with what makes Seyfarth unique. Connect staff to the value their work brings to clients through simple – but enigmatic – technologically advanced environments that create smart systems, services and interactions.
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.
Located at the converging branches of the Chicago River, Wolf Point West is a 500-foot-tall tower rising 48 stories and featuring 509 rental units within 571,000 SF. LEED Silver certified, the tower is composed of a series of layered planes that form the composition of the building’s massing, creating a slender and elegant profile on a prominent Chicago site. To create an open and welcoming first impression within the 700 SF lobby, the designers utilized reflective materials throughout to be reminiscent of the river. Visitors first face the river, making this critical connection to the water their initial experience of the building’s interior. The lobby features a decorative screen, visible both inside and outside, with a pattern that directly references the Chicago Municipal Device, symbolizing the three branches of the Chicago River meeting at Wolf Point. This screen gives residents a desired privacy, while allowing light into the lobby. On the riverfront level, a riparian lounge offers 360-degree views of the Chicago River and city. The designers utilized a mirror-clad column as an opportunity to emphasize these reflective views as a focal point. Color selections and qualities of the fabric and materials further enhance this design intent. The business center on LL1 offers residents the opportunity to work from home in a professional and contemporary workplace environment. Within a narrow footprint, the designers created a business center with three distinct zones including private break-out rooms, communal tables, and a row of lounge chairs – all with views to the Chicago River. ¬¬A large structural column posed a potential challenge for the designers when designing the furniture layout for the two center offices but the design team creatively incorporated the column into the design by establishing built-in banquet seating with a work table. The center’s zoned areas successfully accommodate a variety of work styles and purposes, providing residents with luxury amenities as well as flexibility and creative workplace interiors. The 46th floor amenity level provides expansive views of the Chicago skyline for all to experience: a deck and double-height fitness center offer opportunities for relaxing and exercising, while the upscale Sky Lounge provides options for entertaining guests.
The new Sunset Ridge School, a feeder school for the nationally acclaimed New Trier High School and a tangible symbol of the community’s commitment to education, is designed specifically to champion children’s evolving developmental needs as their world expands through education—from enhancing self-awareness to encouraging community connections to inspiring global citizenship. This “crescendo” of holistic learning, reinforced by the building’s organization and design, was conceived to launch students into successful futures while also encouraging life-long learning and community engagement. Through an inclusive planning process, strong, pervasive visions and goals were collaboratively established and translated into actionable design parameters. Qualitative parameters were equally important as quantitative ones to the success of this project. Throughout the process, many ideas were solicited, and many opinions were heard, including the voices of students, staff, administrators, parents, and community members. Conversations began with an exploration of possibilities without regard for general physical constraints. Through this approach, the discussion was able to focus on what was best for the new school. Designed as a “community,” grades are organized into three distinct, two-story “neighborhoods,” each based on the developmental needs of children at different grade levels. Students transition from the District’s PK-3rd grade building into Sunset Ridge School’s 4th-5th grade main floor neighborhood. As students’ progress, they transition upstairs to a middle school environment, with separate 6th grade and 7th-8th grade neighborhoods. Noticeable neighborhood differences include: • Cubbies inside 4th-5th grade homerooms, and lockers outside classrooms for 6th and 7th-8th graders • Exterior windows which are smaller to focus views outdoors for younger students, and floor-to-ceiling in older students’ spaces • Flexible furnishings that transition from single-student work surfaces to group work tables, as students move from “me” to “we” • An operable wall for the 4th-5th grade neighborhood living room; living rooms in the 6th and 7th-8th grade neighborhoods are designed for more independent, spontaneous small group collaboration • Distinct interior academic neighborhood color palettes, brought together in the village commons The neighborhoods are self-contained but can be connected when collaboration among grades or subject matter is desired. Multi-age group projects, reading and math support sessions, ESL classes, and gifted programs all happen within the same neighborhood via folding glass partitions, open gathering spaces, and transparent group study rooms. A unique “village commons” at the heart of the school blends library, dining, and performance spaces, to nurture the creative spirit of the child and provide opportunities to engage the local community. The public path extends from the main entry past the activity gym, through the village commons, and culminates at the two-story learning commons, vertically connecting academic neighborhoods. To inspire and encourage lifelong student health and wellness, the school includes a climbing wall/yoga classroom, outdoor learning areas, and indoor/outdoor fine arts spaces. Outside the neighborhoods, the design extends learning beyond the traditional classroom into such spaces as a project-based maker lab, a visual arts studio with an outdoor activity terrace, and music rehearsal spaces which also serve as emergency safety shelters. The building was designed and built to capitalize on a wide range of sustainable elements, including rooftop photovoltaic arrays, a living wall supporting return air filtration, energy performance monitoring, and cisterns to capture rainwater for landscape irrigation. Many of the elements are visible to students and are linked via QR codes which allow the building to serve as a living textbook for sustainable strategies. The building also showcases a commitment to pursuing Net Zero Energy and LEED Platinum Certification.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As part of an efficiency initiative, the corporate office of this global automotive retail industry technology provider wished to consolidate customer service offices from various regions around the country into a single location housing 1,200 employees. They chose a vacant complex built on property previously home to General Motors in the 1990s. Since this consolidation involved offices across the nation, it was imperative that the new facility be a draw to encourage existing employees to relocate, as well as a magnet for attracting new talent from the area. Additionally, since significant attrition within the existing employee base was anticipated, the facility needed to be up-and-running quickly, and provide space suitable for on-site training of new employees. The facility has been transformed into an agile, world-class customer service center rich with amenities. Design Challenges • Support 1,200 employee capacity in an agile, technology-rich environment • Serve as a magnet for new talent acquisition and employee retention • Rapidly accommodate the first round of new employees, and train them on site • Deliver a fast-track build-out in two phases, within a total of nine months Guiding Principles • Embellish brand as an expression of culture • Maximize natural daylight and sustainable practices • Provide state-of-the-art enabled technology • Support social/work collaboration (open and closed hubs, Avanti Market, café) • Enhance employee wellness (fitness, lockers, etc.) • Ensure high employee satisfaction to increase retention Design Solution Once the real estate team and owner zeroed in on the prospective headquarters building, the design team quickly determined through the use of benchmark data (120 sq. ft./person) that the complex could support all 1,200 employees. Buildings 1 and 3 would hold 850 employees. Building 2 would be reserved to house the remaining employees at a later date. Final plans and design were based on established space standards previously developed by the design team. The design solution addressed the company’s fast-paced, highly collaborative, and interactive work style. The agile workplace environment supports open clusters of product teams comprised of developers, analysts, testers, and managers. Low height panels provide open lines of visual and verbal communication. Quiet rooms, hubs, and team rooms provide a choice between independent and collaborative work. Previously established benchmark statistics, such as the ratio of workstation to conferencing and collaborative seats (1 : 2.5), were used to plan a balanced distribution of benches, workstations, closed hubs, quiet rooms, and open collaborative spaces. Special attention was paid in positioning the amenity spaces on the first floor where traffic could be monitored and controlled by security. When the design team discovered there was an internal stair buried in a drywall enclosure which was structurally suitable for an open stair, they capitalized on this by redesigning the stair to become a feature element in the center of the floor plan. The new stair provides vertical access for employees to the adjacent lounges, and encourages informal social interaction. Other creative design elements include the use of LED lighting to replace fluorescent and reduce electricity usage, the addition of bold graphics (local architect themes), and shaped accent walls denoting the brand color. Brand expression can be found on both featured drywall forms through applied brand color and in the graphics applied to the glass hub fronts. The variation in architectural graphics on each hub’s glass front provides wayfinding and names for room scheduling. Renderings of the facility interior, which showcased the numerous amenities and natural daylight-infused spaces were shared early in the project with both current and potential employees as a mechanism for recruitment. The project has been well received by executives and employees alike. At the grand opening, the CEO expressed his satisfaction with the fact that this former GM property is once again home to an automobile-related enterprise, and a vibrant part of the business community. The circle is now complete.
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.
Our team is so proud to have been part of this beautiful project! Given its stunning location blessed with such spectacular views, working on this property represented a rewarding collaboration between owner, architect, and designer. This project encompassed a complete re-imagining of the property’s two-bedroom suite with 12 new custom-designed suites incorporated in a building recently added to the property. The design blends coastal ambiance with customized modern details. Combining traditional coastal shingle architecture with contemporary interiors embraces the property's location through design, texture, and locally inspired artwork and accessories. Each two-bedroom suite includes a fully equipped kitchen, living room with fireplace, dining room, five-fixture bathroom, as well as a fully furnished deck. The suites were designed to cater to romantic couples as well as vacationing families eager to entertain. The finishes and furnishings encourage guests to feel as though they were relaxing at their home away from home. Hand-scraped wood, wide-plank hardwood flooring, and custom hand-tufted area rugs all establish a sense of welcoming luxury. Comfortable custom seating throughout integrates a variety of textures and patterns allowing guests to sit back and unwind. Some of the challenges the team encountered with this project was the site and how to maximize the guest opportunity to views while not negatively impacting the existing guest experience. Timing was also a challenge being able to start and complete the project in time for the properties high season. We are proud to have been part of this project and even more proud to be continuing work at this beautiful site.
Located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Exhibit on Superior is a new 34-story LEED Gold residential tower whose interior caters to the creative professional. An artistic and textured wall of letters greets residents and visitors in the lobby entrance of this 283,000 square foot building. Authentic, unadorned finishes and furnishings explore the bespoke nature of art and creates a unique experience for residents and their guests. Handmade furniture gives an organic sense to the reception area and are augmented by glass walls and modern fixtures. To create a dialogue with the neighborhood, the lobby level’s exterior wall opens to the street and the new public park that was created on the property. Using the concept of “smart living,” the building features microunits, which appeal especially to millennials working and living in downtown Chicago. One of the main challenges was designing efficient layouts for these microunits; a new and innovative product in the Chicago market. The designers focused on highly efficient design layouts that include floor-to-ceiling windows to provide an abundance of natural light to fill the apartments. Lighter finish palettes additionally brighten the microunits and allow natural light to reflect upon the unit surfaces. Another challenge was determining how to successfully create amenity spaces that cater to the microunit demographic. As a solution, the entire fifth floor is dedicated to a series of amenities that serve as an extended living space for residents. The designers created multiple spaces to accommodate a variety of purposes, including private workrooms for study spaces, a larger meeting room, and a formal dining room. All amenity spaces have dual purposes that can be used in a variety of ways. Additional amenities include a spa, sauna, gym, and library, all with direct access to the landscaped podium deck and swimming pool. Like the lobby, the use of wood and warm tones throughout the fifth floor create a warm and welcoming environment.
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.
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.
The challenge of this project was to create subtle branding through all the space without making it too obvious. There is an open flow for people to walk all around the store even around the cashier. The focal point mainly in the design is the back of the store changed by materials elements and by the horizontality of the floor & the pendants above the desk. The special service to offer is to customize your own package according to your needs. The “make your own” is located at the heart of the floor plan. The desk has a C shape representing the branding of the logo.
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.
MC Machinery Systems, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi, landed its new 175,000 SF headquarters and technology center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. One of the last greenfield parcels in Elk Grove Village’s premiere business park Northwest point, the project site sat untouched and on the market for a considerable amount of time. The architect was able to creatively position MC’s requirements around a protected waterway. Combining office, showroom, research & development, warehouse and distribution, MC Machinery is a world class customer center highly visible from I-90. The interior layout and design is a direct reflection of the functional operation, reflecting the customer experience. Dubbed the Golden Corridor, I-90 is home to many international EDM Laser equipment suppliers who compete with MC Machinery. Since completion, the MC Machinery building has attracted clients in route to other competitors which has already led to documented diverted sales.
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."
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.
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.
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.
The facility is designed to suit the needs and growing demands of the college’s student population as well as allow for future expansion for various additional curriculum needs. In traditional campus planning, each campus building has a specific purpose or use in mind, but in this location, the design team was challenged to fit many different uses and occupants under one roof. The college campus consists of administration spaces and faculty offices, large community room, traditional college classrooms, three science labs, computer labs, student commons, library, café, campus store, and simulation center for the healthcare learning environment. The critical challenges of the project were altering an existing “big box” store where light is minimal, ceilings are high, and the human scale factor is often lost. The design solutions focused on a bright color and finish palette, including windows at the end of each corridor to provide for a view out and sunshine in, and maximizing the tall ceilings as a positive design feature. We paid much attention to lighting choices and how those choices enhanced large open areas to provide students a place to gather and/or study. Since flexibility was important and growth is inevitable, main corridors were designed to accommodate the college's needs to expand. The design team used the college’s school branding, as a kick start to use fun pops of color amongst a gray neutral base. Specific finishes were chosen to reflect the combination of spaces to the learning environment as well as the social atmospheres to entice future students.
Leaving behind their legacy home of over 30 years, Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann, a New Orleans law firm, wanted to preserve a sense of history in their new space while promoting their forward-thinking approach to client service. The design team collaborated with executives to create a design plan that would incorporate both timelessness and innovation. To pay subtle homage to their previous, more traditional space, the design team incorporated special trim in the corridors and black-and-white art of old New Orleans throughout the space. Along with a conference center and outdoor terraces for collaboration and socializing, the team created an interview room dubbed, “The Pig Parlor,” after one of the firm’s founding partners. The casual, light-hearted room is unique and includes a life-size pig-shaped table. The completed space embodies Stone Pigman’s objectives and is greatly enjoyed by staff.
Libraries connect people to the information they need to solve problems, push boundaries, and shape the future.” OCLC, a global library cooperative, does just this by developing technologies that support thousands of libraries to make information accessible and useful to people around the world. In August of 2014, our firm won a design competition to update and reimagine the OCLC headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. The focus of the project was the public spaces of the building, namely, enlivening the dimly-lit, foreboding four-story atrium, which had been walled off from floor, yet is the focal point of the building. Bold moves were made in the design solution to help solve the separation of space – from repurposing unused exterior plazas to be transformed into useful, lively interior spaces, to designing a completely new, cantilevered stairway that is both sculptural and functional in connecting people throughout the building. In addition, existing stone panels that previously shielded interior spaces from access and daylight were removed to unveil a new tier of enclosed, state-of-the-art meeting rooms. A repositioned building lobby enhances the security of the building, while also creating a grand entry experience for both employees and visitors. The Third Place, a social café and gathering space, was designed as an extension to the upgraded dining and servery, to foster employee connectivity across the building. Overall, clean lines and a refined palette of materials, including oak wood, terrazzo, and decorative glass enliven and reinvigorate OCLC’s spaces while also creating a timeless, long-lasting design.
Vue53 is the newest addition to the rapidly evolving skyline of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. A mixed-use development with 267 units, modern amenities and 28,000SF of retail space, Vue53 offers contemporary living space in a historic area. The architecture carefully responds to its context. The 10-acre Nichols Park extends from the university campus on 55th street all the way to 53rd street, where Vue53 acts as a bookend to the park. The mass of the building is divided into two towers. The south tower is on 53rd street; voids in the elevation minimize the structure’s perceived mass while framing views of the park across the street. The north tower is set 100 feet back from the street to minimize its mass. Parking occupies the two floors above the retail level, screened from 53rd Street by apartments and amenity spaces lining the south facade. In addition to studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, Vue53 offers communal space such as a game room, an exercise room, and outdoor sun decks, including a large communal roof deck that provides sweeping views of the city to the south and west. Although open to all, Vue53 is tailored to appeal to design-savvy graduate students and young faculty, with its exposed concrete interiors and two-story collaborative study spaces. To maintain affordability, units are 800 sf or less. Fifteen percent of the units are dedicated to affordable housing, reinforcing the neighborhood’s already diverse community. Affordable units are scattered throughout the building and are identical to the market-rate units.
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.
When the Napleton Automotive Group invested in new corporate headquarters building, they wanted to "Cool it up". The goal was to reposition Napleton’s national corporate brand to reflect next generation thinking and Family ownership transitions. To do that, the architect deconstructed the existing typical office build out and reduced it to express the bare concrete structure and developed an open plan that would reflect stair stepping exterior walls. By integrating expanded metal ceilings with alternating stepped LED lighting and primary color accent strips in floor, the plan took on a completely fresh appeal. Interior Branding included integrating 60 years of dealership neon signs on stepping walls that provide open visibility across the open floor plan from east to west. An unexpected display of two mint condition classic cars as you step off the 6th floor elevator makes this a memorable statement for a true "Captain of the Industry".
The 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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