To enter into the European market for the first time, P.F. Chang’s recognized the opportunity to develop a unique look and restaurant experience for their brand that would respond to the new environment and clientele. The design team was enlisted to help develop the Asian Table concept with its debut site located in Covent Garden, London. The client’s desire to continue development in London and other European cities was stated earlier on, with the need to go into smaller spaces compared to P.F. Chang’s’ traditional American restaurants. Thus the driving design challenge that was faced was to help reinterpret and evolve P.F. Chang’s menu, operations, and floor plan to become something inspired and flexible for various future sites. The team delivered various design concepts and mood boards that could be used as a starting point for a project’s site-specific design, with the thought that each forthcoming location would be unique, yet all united by a common thread. Finding what could be that common thread, within an already well-established brand in the U.S., was a conceptual challenge for breaking into a new market. Lastly, the team felt that introducing a foreign brand to a neighborhood within a city that has deeply rooted culture and identity, begged for a space that is at least cognizant of history and reflects local character. Asian Table explores bespoke menu items specific to London in addition to the classics. The innovative approach to the brand’s prior menu brings attention to bar and pastry functions, including specialty cocktails, pastries, and desserts on display. The food and beverage preparation is designated to areas throughout the restaurant, showcasing craft and elevating the dining experience. Operators will keep to this smaller-batch menu, helping cut down on the kitchen space needed for the plan. The design team was inspired conceptually by brand founder, Phillip Chang, and the influence his mother Cecilia, a restaurateur in San Francisco, had on his career. The concept was derived through Philip’s interpretation of the road to success led by his mother – with roots in China and destiny in California, a story to push P.F. Chang’s into the international urban market. Inspiration was taken from Philip’s artistic background, and from Cecilia’s formal hospitality service. The existing space functioned as a horse stable turned jazz and blues music venue, which influenced the look and feel of the design and pays homage to the history of the P.F. Chang’s brand itself. This history allowed the designers to take advantage of the multi-textural decay of the existing walls and pipes and tap into the musical past, influencing some of the furniture design as well as the main bar. The U.K. debut of Asian Table was conceived holistically with a chef-crafted menu, an elevated beverage program and an interior feel of space, in turn providing a foundation for future locations.
We took inspiration from some of the more urban tech spaces we’ve been designing. We knew we needed to address all the items listed above, but we also wanted to get people talking about this anything-but-run-of-the-mill financial office space. We wanted to create a destination, and why not? Just because it’s a contact center doesn’t mean it can’t be a destination. The design of the space takes an industrial direction, which is antithetical to the rest of the spaces in the building, and pretty much in your face as soon as you walk off the elevators. We designed an over-scaled perforated and cold-rolled steel signage piece with a backlit laser-cut logo, exposed ceilings, industrial linear lighting, and stained concrete floors. Immediately adjacent and off the entry, we created an oversized café space with the same industrial lighting that bends and folds its way into the space, a varied-height communal table, plywood nooks with exposed connections and subtle complementary colors to create balance. We took advantage of the abundant natural light that entered the space by minimizing built environment at the perimeter, and when it does occur, it’s conference and/or communal space. All the ceilings were left exposed, acoustically treated, and a sleek LED lighting scheme was developed to act in harmony with natural lighting. In the open office, all the desks are sit-to-stand and have views to the surrounding landscape. We employed unexpected materials, such as worn and recycled metal panels, to create storage towers and hide irregular column placement, and primary color-coded for wayfinding. We developed an easily changeable slip-form steel tube framing module that separates core circulation from the open office and holds glass panels with tongue-in-cheek historical telephone super-graphics. This was the edge they were seeking. We created an office that was downtown-reminiscent, uniquely branded, technologically-forward, uber-functional, attractive, and suitable for developing a strong and communal office culture.
In 2018 one of Chicago’s premier design firms celebrated a 25th anniversary and moved locations that same year. After calling a former paint factory home for seventeen years, the firm designed and moved to 833 N. Orleans. The fourth floor of the Marwen building is a classic loft space with timber columns, exposed brick, and other materials that blend into the firm’s classically modern aesthetic. But the exposed features meant spending a lengthy amount of time cleaning debris and removing walls that covered both windows and ceilings. The space is significantly smaller than the firm’s prior location, so consolidation became an endeavor. This ultimately culminated in a reduced materials library, so the current library represents only the best and most current materials considered. Those materials were used throughout the new space, including rich wood closets, matte lacquered cabinets, ribbed glass, felt wall panels, and Belgian quartz kitchen countertops. Custom furniture designed by the firm’s sister company and paintings by the firm’s founder are also showcased in the space. The move provided the team an opportunity to collaborate and express its shared vision, creating a statement for the next chapter in its history.
-The traffic flow was considered by dividing the restaurant into three main spaces. This is functional for circulation and also makes the design stronger through linear repetition. -ADA guidelines were followed by providing 4’< main circulation, 5%< accessible seating and ADA compliant bathrooms. -A variety of seating was provided to accommodate flexibility for parties of different sizes and preferences. -Two service/POS stations are located on either end of the restaurant as well as behind the bar to increase efficiency of servers and staff. -The central lounge includes spaces designated to sit or stand with a drink or appetizer while waiting for a table.
Skender Construction’s new headquarters reflects their continued growth, maturity, and expression of their business and social culture. The resulting office space is of its context in the industrial-charged neighborhood of the West Loop, positioned within a repurposed parking garage. Upon entry, a steel framed ceiling/lighting element draws you into the large flexible central café hub space that supports multiple daily functions. Adjacent to the café hub are 3 large flexible phase rooms, unfolding to create a large internal meeting and social space. The open plan includes sit-stand desks lining the perimeter allowing all-day access to natural light. The open plan also provides a variety of meeting spaces to support choice of how and where to work. Throughout the space, the brand message integrates within the architecture. From the face wall (expressing the vibrant culture of their office) to the lean coffee wall (that allows their employees to express their creative freedom) the message is always about their people. The Skender persona expounds through the materials holding up a mirror to the everyday, tangible resources construction teams come into contact with such as exposed ceilings/floors, gabion wall, and exposed column capitals representing the framework of construction projects.
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 especially appeal 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.
Eleven40’s design concept is about contrast and layers. The angular lobby has a sense of drama with its dark, faux leather walls, tall volume, and a dramatic two-story green wall. The simple black and white color palette is layered with the warmth of wood tones and textiles. The built and natural worlds collide with the insertion of greenery throughout this high-rise, concrete structure. The goal was to create spaces that are full of life in all forms. The 5th floor is dedicated entirely to amenity space with floor to ceiling windows, light wood-look floors, and pops of color in the art and furniture making for a bright and vibrant space. The space is meant to be active, and the design certainly caters to each and every activity. The Co-office is a quiet zone for residents to work or study, while the Gaming area offers everything from board games to arcade games and skee ball. There is a Jam Lounge for the music lovers, and a Gym and Yoga studio for the fitness lovers. The Fireplace/Media Lounge is equipped with a kitchen and wine bar for parties and events, while the Brewing Station offers residents coffee in the morning and cold beer in the evening. Even the pets have a zone, with a full dog spa and outdoor dog run. Almost every room spills out to the 5th floor exterior roof deck where there is even more space to lounge, dine and play. The natural aesthetic carries up to the Aqua Lounge with several wood elements and greenery. Finishes and furniture are playful at the rooftop, with patterned concrete tiles, graphic wallcovering, and hanging swings. Up here, it’s all about the views… and the rooftop pool overlooking Lake Michigan!
Our client, a Chicago-based private investment firm focused on middle-market companies in healthcare, education, and financial services industries. They engaged our firm to design an environment reflective of their company culture, while maintaining a welcoming atmosphere for their clients. The guest experience was reinforced by the display of their extensive art collection. The reception area is warm and inviting, with an art wall which anchors the space and is accompanied by a wood feature wall, white glass, leather wrapped door handles, and refined furnishings. The effect is an understated and enduring space, complemented by minimalist details and soft materiality. State-of-the-art conference rooms are located adjacent to the reception area with a hospitality cafe as the main attraction. The remainder of the floor plan is organized with perimeter offices and interior support staff workstations. Continuous clear glass office fronts allow for maximum transparency, natural light and outstanding views of downtown Chicago, the lake and Millennium Park. The client engaged artist Kendell Carter, to create an installation for the Partners of the organization. The artwork highlights bronze-plated shoes, representing each Partner’s inspiration in life, including the shoes of their grandmother, teacher, coach or any figure in their life that made a difference for them. A strong focus on ergonomics and wellness was provided within each office including a sit/stand desk for every office and workstation. The plan also includes a golf simulation room, a wellness room and an informal lounge cafe.
IMC, an international technology-driven trading firm, recently underwent a 60,000-square-foot office expansion and renovation at Willis Tower in Chicago. The design of the new workplace focuses on motivating employees and promoting IMC’s forward-thinking culture, which emphasizes collaboration and innovation. The space supports these principles with a variety of informal meeting areas for group work and ample writeable surfaces for idea sharing and problem solving. Working within Willis Tower, the design team found innovative ways to embrace the structural challenges of the building. The exposed ceilings, columns, and large trusses are now attractive elements and intentional aspects of the design. Additionally, a new staircase connects the two main floors, supporting interaction between the numerous departments within the office. The design also takes a notable approach to support employee wellness. A wellness suite is composed of a mother’s room, prayer/meditation room, massage room, and a headache/rest room. Finally, a technology-free lounge provides a quiet space to unplug and reset. Access to daylight was a key driver in the programming and planning effort for IMC’s new space. New workstations on the 43rd floor are located around the perimeter of the floor to maximize natural daylight and 360-degree views to the city. On the 42nd floor, the designers prioritized the use of transparent materials to allow daylight to permeate the majority of the conference, training, and individual work spaces on the floor. Within the private offices, light sensors adjust the use of supplemental artificial light when needed, while occupancy sensors shut off lights when no users are detected. The connecting stair was strategically placed in a prominent, central location to ensure maximum usage, furthering energy savings by reducing dependence on elevators.
Relativity, the world’s leading e-discovery company based in Chicago, currently occupies four floors in a neo-classical architectural gem located in the city’s financial district at 231 South LaSalle Street. Requiring additional space for its growth and increasing operations, the client expanded to an additional floor, 40,000 usable square feet, which came completed with half of the space previously built-out for a speculative suite. The client desired to maintain as much of the space as possible, although an aggressive plan for company growth flexibility and adaptability were very high priorities. The key driver to the expansion was to maximize Relativity’s workspace program to embrace flexibility, while also integrating and accommodating the improvements to the speculative office suite. The workstation design solution incorporates a “spine system” which allows for desks to be positioned and rotated according to the work styles of various groups. A wide variety of alternative work areas are dispersed throughout the plan including small conference areas, open team meeting spaces, phone rooms, and amenity spaces, including a zen/relaxation room. Large group collaboration areas, meeting spaces, and break rooms are positioned in curvilinear-shaped areas further highlighted with vertical wood mullions. In addition to flexible workstation space, the large open collaboration areas on both the east and west side lend themselves to large, all-hands meeting with sliding doors opening into the larger space. Integrating technology throughout the space was also crucial to Relativity’s needs. Microsoft Surface™ hubs were incorporated into all the conference rooms and collaborations spaces. Monitors are also strategically placed throughout the floor displaying floor plans, events, new hires, and general office information.
City Club Apartments Cincinnati is a restoration and adaptive reuse of a Cincinnati Landmark. Constructed in 1928, this 300,000 SF Beaux Arts building functioned as an office building in the heart of Cincinnati’s downtown business district. The property is located along the Ohio River and overlooks the Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ballpark. The project included the restoration of the historic façade and a full renovation transforming the building from office space to 294 market rate apartment units ranging in size from a 395 square foot Nano Unit to a 1400 square foot penthouse unit. Residents and guest enjoy the convenience of 333 underground parking stalls for easy access to their home, retail and restaurants on site. Residents and guests are welcomed to City Club Apartments with an historic boutique style hotel lobby. Historic travertine floors and walls and an ornate gold leaf ceiling remain in place as a reference to the past. Bold and modern insertions to the lobby including custom chandeliers, large scale trees and framed art panels enhance the dramatic effect of the processional leading residents through the lobby to the concierge. Guests are greeted by a wine bar at the main entry that opens to a shared lounge providing additional seating to the wine bar and providing residents another spot for socializing. As residents experience the property they have access to a long list of amenities. A state-of-the-art fitness center allows for an unrivaled workout experience. The eclectic quality of the lobby and lounge interior carries to the rooftop amenities where residents can enjoy a luxurious indoor pool complete with spa, full height mirrors and chandeliers that open to a sun deck. The adjacent clubroom is equipped with a gourmet kitchen and bar, gaming space, communal table and ample lounge areas around a fireplace.
Founded in 1872, Kimberly Clark and its well-known paper products are an indispensable part of life for many Americans. In 2013, the company found a two-story space on the top floors of the Civic Opera Building, and called on our firm to implement the design. They returned to us in 2017 to renovate and expand. Elements of the company's history are woven into the design, connecting the current space to the headquarters in Northern Wisconsin and the original Chicago sales office in Willoughby Tower, a 1920s landmark. Working from an earlier design, our challenge was to create cohesion and balance with the expansion and renovation. We had to rethink the existing layout to make it more responsive to the company’s work styles, as well as amplify the branding to emphasize the company’s long and important history. With frequent visitors from other regional offices, we kept workspaces flexible and open, and added several conference areas and a more formal presentation space. Anchored by a central café, the two sides of the offices each have lounges and prominent stairs, giving the space an overall sense of symmetry. We incorporated enlarged vintage photos and line drawings into the design as murals and film, bringing images of the past into the present. In the cafe, motifs from Willoughby Tower were transformed into wall covering, and a card catalog was created for product display and file storage in one of the adjacent office areas. Historical elements extend to the decorative metal ceilings, and the subtle art deco motif on the stairway railing. Additionally, we shifted the location of a stair and added more informal meeting areas.  We also upgraded existing restrooms, adding humanizing touches consistent with the company’s culture. Velvet banquettes and rattan hideout chairs give each space an upscale elegance, and contrast with the rustic, reclaimed wood flooring throughout. The new spaces successfully harmonize with the original design, and provides more visibility of Kimberly Clark’s history within the context of a current workplace.
The goal for Office Revolution’s new 4,000 SF working showroom was to create a special canvas to house the furniture brands they represent. The light, bright, open space was designed to encourage their client’s imagination and creativity while reflecting the Office Revolution brand.
The design problem was to create a premiere beachfront dining destination, serving fresh seafood and seasonal cuisine in a classic coastal setting. The design solution utilizes coastal inspired materials, finishes and architectural elements to set the tone for the dining experience. Large windows provide abundant natural light as well as views of the dramatic bayside setting. Columns and large ceiling beams create intimacy and acoustic control by creating different "rooms". A variety of seating options create flexibility for various group sizes. Wide aisles, slip-resistant flooring and accessible restrooms provide patron comfort and safety.
With more than 1,400 people on staff, cloud-based software provider Paylocity wanted their new 308,000-square-foot headquarters to elevate and enhance communications and keep employees excited about their work. Paylocity’s brand identity has been infused into the new space, and their traditional office has been upgraded to a bright, light, open workspace with collaboration zones to bring everyone together.
The goal for this home was to create an historic feel using timeless materials while also being true to the modernity of such a sleek new construction. No detail was overlooked in the designer’s desire to invoke a feeling of nostalgia.
New Trier High School, a nationally acclaimed and residentially land-locked high school, faced a situation familiar to many long-established districts—aging facilities which had not kept pace with modern approaches to teaching and learning. The District chose to replace buildings which were among the most inefficient, inaccessible, and obsolete on campus with a 280,000-sf new addition that provides students with the educational and cultural experience of a collegiate environment. Given the school’s rich past, the community expected the heritage of the existing school to be celebrated. In response, the addition delivers a modern program within a historically sensitive envelope. A new north student entrance provides a modern, glassy interpretation of the iconic art deco tower at the school’s original main entrance. Once inside, students are welcomed by a five-story, daylit concourse which brings natural light deep into the building and bridges the new and old, providing opportunities for community gathering and group learning. A variety of spaces extend learning outside the traditional classroom on every floor, facilitating diverse teaching modalities and supporting a wide range of interaction and collaboration options for students and faculty. Transparency between spaces literally puts learning on display for students and visitors. The building has achieved LEED Gold certification status.
As ACHE closed their real-estate search and selected the 300 S Riverside building, the design team took that opportunity to express the river and bridges that formed the strong curves that are inherently symbolic with the 300 Riverside building. Combining the angles of the client’s logo and taking graphic liberties with the curves of the building the team created a play the fractal geometry to create a dynamic elevator lobby and entry. The energy of the slanted wood portals and hidden cove lights directs people towards the reception area. As an Association, the planning original methodology for the space was to maintain private offices around the perimeter with workstations on the interior. Through the exploration of the staff, the studying of the building and the pursuit of quietly encouraging the client to continue to push themselves, the perimeter of the building was opened up to create a sequence of push-and-pull with the private offices and workstations. Natural light penetrates all parts of the office and flows into even the deepest part of the center core due to the rhythmic perimeter planning concept. The central curved core pathway holds the library for the Association. While this space needs to respect the tradition and history (a space to hold books, periodicals and the like); the client was cognizant that the requirement for paper copies of their books could go away. With this is mind, the library was designed so that it could stand alone as a decorative wall feature or be used as an area for display. While the office was being planned & designed, the client was going through an internal re-branding. This rebranding was folding into the final concepts of the space.
Shure Incorporated, a leading global microphone and audio electronics manufacturer, invited us to design their new Chicago City Center. Located in the heart of the Loop, the City Center brings Shure back to its’ Chicago roots and recreates a downtown presence. The design team was tasked with creating a modern environment that showcased Shure’s brand, provided room for their innovation and enhanced client and Associates’ experience. The Shure Brand is highlighted throughout including an abstract iconic 1939 Unidyne Microphone in the elevator lobby, interactive product display at Reception/Customer Experience Center, history wall featuring iconic figures using Shure products, and black and white graphics with Chicago music venue and historical events. The work space provides collaborative height workstations and unique spaces that support creativity, such as a video recording studio, editing suite, production development space, and a large flexible Hub that functions as both social and presentation space. Maximized access to natural light, height adjustable furniture, choice of work settings with varying postures and selective sustainable materials contribute to employee wellbeing.
As an investment company, projecting an appropriate image was of high importance to Ziegler. A balance had to be struck between representing the company’s established success without feeling lavish. Given its clientele, a certain level of privacy and formality was also required. The client’s culture, however, is highly collegial. The design team’s task was to bring that spirit to the space, while maintaining a befitting environment for its clients that was at once refined and comfortable. The design works towards that by creating a hospitality feel throughout the space. Wood and bronze tones create a comfortable warmth, which is crisply juxtaposed against a white floor and ceiling. A screening element of “fins” are a focal point within reception—and a repeated design motif in key areas of the space. The fins give privacy, while still allowing for transparency. The fins vary in shape and orientation to create a sense of movement, representing both Ziegler’s ability to be innovative as well the company’s focus on well-being. The fins are millwork pieces that are painted in a high-gloss, lacquered paint, giving them a finish and luster like car paint. While the boardroom is off reception, there are also more intimate adjacent spaces for smaller, client-facing meetings. The furniture is used to promote the hospitality feel with pieces chosen for both comfort and a sculptural quality that work in harmony with the screening fins form. A shared employee area anchors the northern end of the office. A flexible work café opens into a divisible training room/ game room and onto an outdoor terrace. The training area can be fully opened, creating a large space for either employee gatherings or social events. The floating white ceiling elements give a lightness and sophistication to the space, while also dealing with obstacles created by base building systems that could not be moved. While for security’s sake much of the staff works from within private offices, this shared space best exemplifies the company’s open, sociable culture.
Rose and Loon opened within the recently expanded Von Maur wing of Rosedale Center in efforts to peak interest and gain foot traffic towards the area. Without much programming, brand identity, or display specifications during the initial stages, we took notice that the space needed to be flexible and adaptable for the various future makers and their product to be displayed. The design team successfully space planned the store to create zones and moments for future maker demonstration space, a functional sink to test product, and custom designed fixtures and shelving for product display.
The 300, located at 300 South Wacker Drive is a 1970's, 35-story skyscraper located along the Chicago River with 360-degree views of downtown. The building's "awakening" - a complete rebranding and renovation differentiates itself from other properties in the South Wacker corridor and effectively attracts and retains tenants in a competitive submarket. The new vision for the building is defined by a boutique hospitality environment that welcomes and inspires tenants and visitors. The transformation began with the repositioning and renovation of the building's street entry by shifting the entry to the center of the building from the sides. Previously non-descript with multiple revolving doors, the entrance was re-designed with one main central revolving door highlighted by a new timeless exterior canopy with modern lighting and signage. For the repurposed building lobby, the client desired a dynamic and unique public-facing space that contrasted from other lobby spaces at other properties along South Wacker Drive. The existing lobby was dated and brash with marble walls and floors and intense digital displays that harkened to a conservative, corporate environment. Taking cues from the "awakening" rebrand, the design team re-envisioned the lobby by creating a warm, hospitality setting, where tenants and visitors encountered an inviting and comfortable space. Comfortable soft seating areas flank a custom reception console and provide alternative working environments for tenants and a place for visitors to relax. A "sunrise" element was incorporated into the lighting design and natural materials accentuate warmth and hospitality. Adjacent to the lobby, a former office space was transformed into a flexible amenity lounge and café. The daylit lounge, with 16 feet-high curtainwall, has a stunning view to the Chicago River and serves as a meeting and socialization space with a variety of casual seating arrangements and tables. Dramatic lighting warms the space, while custom designed bookcases, coffee and end tables, and sofas lend a hospitality-like environment. The lounge is a flexible space that can be utilized for private events, all-hands meetings, and alternate work environment for both tenants and the public. Unique to the space is a stationary food truck that is positioned in the lounge serves as a creative centerpiece. Visible from the street, the truck will serve a rotating selection of cuisines from a variety of local food purveyors. A renovated outdoor terrace serves as a social gathering space with views to the river and is accessible via a new sliding glass wall system to create a seamless indoor/outdoor connection to the main lounge in the warmer months. A glass windscreen was added to the terrace to help protect users from the elements. In the building's lower level is a new bicycle storage room and yoga/group exercise studio for tenant use. With no previous access from the street to the lower level, an exterior stairway with bicycle rail was added to provide direct and easy access from the street to the bicycle storage room to encourage building tenants to bike to work. New landscaping around the property, including along the river, furthers the building's position as a destination property.
When CapitalOne set out to position its Chicago office as a premier destination for financial professionals, several of the city’s top architecture firms were hired. One firm was chosen to design the top two floors of the iconic tower at 77 W. Wacker. With its giant arched windows, the space was ripe for a plan that maximized the beauty and functionality of the 50th floor. However, this floor had historically been occupied by executives and boardrooms. The solution was to build a conference center on the 51st floor and utilize a mezzanine to open-up the 50th into one expansive space. Sit-to-stand workstations live at the center of the floorplan, surrounded by lounges and collaborative workspaces that all share impressive views. Corner offices were moved to the interiors so the stunning architecture became a shared experience. Blue glass with wavy detail was used throughout to represent the CapitalOne brand but also the sky and wind made central via the dramatic sightlines.
In the heart of Chicago’s bustling River North neighborhood, Hubbard 221 delivers comfortable luxury, plentiful public amenities, and a prime location for a quick commute by foot or public transportation. Standing above the iconic Merchandise Mart and the mid-rise buildings surrounding its core, the 22-floor multifamily high-rise enjoys views that sweep the skyline to the north and east, gaze along the Art Deco styling of the Mart to the south, and have an unimpeded view of the sunsets to the west. The lobby invites the angles of the city indoors with a mix of materials: terrazzo with metal insets, wood paneled walls, steel canopy, and sculptural lounge chairs. Small but mighty, every inch of the entry transmits the energy of the city. The refreshing color palette throughout celebrates the contrast between deep tones and bright whites while bringing in saturated, upbeat hues to enhance the fickle Chicago weather. While the art was sourced through a local curator, it is the full-height curtain wall that provides the most inspiring and authentic moment. The simple glazing creates unity between an indoor haven and bustling exterior environment. Materials are rich, sleek, and varied, creating an aspirational view of life ahead for the young professionals that call Hubbard 221 home. This project is representative of a new idea of luxury for a new generation. With 195 units ranging from studios to three-bedrooms, residents can tailor their space to their needs, knowing that the 6,500-sf amenity space on the 21st-floor serves as an extension of their private apartments. Additionally, each studio unit is provided with a custom room divider that creates height, provides closed and open storage, incorporates a desk/dining option, and creates definition between the living room and bedroom. All residents have access to a custom paint program with five curated colors for complimentary accent wall application. Beyond the units, in the coworking lounge, a built-in leather banquette with electrified base sits across from the newest printing technology to encourage city dwellers to have an expanded home office. A locally-made 8-person conference table takes that concept to the next level. A full-service chef’s kitchen can be opened up to the exterior grill station by a sliding glass wall and sets of paneled doors provide privacy for residents that reserve the entertainment suite. Some of the best views are from the Peloton bikes in the fitness center and the yoga and barre studio. The 5,500-sf exterior amenity deck is complete with private cabanas, pool, hot tub, grilling stations, fire pits, and an exterior lounge with television. A covered dog run with a mural by a local artist, bike repair shop, and technologically advanced package room and dry-cleaning lockers round out programming that is the answer to a busy life within city limits.
The interior design firm introduced wide plank bleached oak floor, walnut paneling and natural stones to bring warmth to the open modern glass and concrete home
Almost Home Kids (AHK) partners with healthcare organizations to provide a homelike setting that supports transitional care for children with complex medical issues. OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois partnered with Almost Home Kids to implement this turn-key model (operations, building prototype, financial model). Breaking traditional paradigms in healthcare by supporting children in appropriately-scaled settings with flexible care options, the design is based on the Almost Home Kids’s mission and the goal of celebrating the uniqueness of each child and their personal journey. AHK officials say their facilities are a cost-efficient alternative (roughly $1,000 a day, versus three times for an ICU hospital bed) that offers patients and their families a comfortable place where they can be trained to use items like ventilators or feeding tubes once at home. One of the design challenges was to ensure the feeling of coming home was embodied throughout every aspect of the 22,000-square-foot house. Our team believes in the power of vision and felt it was critical to conduct visioning sessions with the AHK and OSF to come to a consensus and form initial guiding principles that are used as the foundation of the design. The vision of a non-clinical setting was pushed by the design team by selecting unique furniture and textiles. We challenged the status quo of what defines a healthcare fabric as only being vinyl, flat and subdued. Manufacturers have come a long way in the past five years by changing the healthcare markets view on what fibers are bleach cleanable and soft to the touch. By playing an active role in early formation, stakeholders established a sense of shared authorship, mutual understanding and trust in creating a transitional medical facility with a residential feel. We carefully selected “high-touch” finishes that embody color and rich textural tones along with textiles approved for clinical use. Usually commercial fabrics are considered strong when they are over 50,000 double rubs but the AHK home, you will not find anything under 75,000 double rubs with 100,000 used in high-traffic areas. Soft-handed fabrics full of woven texture and saturated color are found throughout the home. Using wallcovering with a woven texture adds a more comfortable look to the environment while still protecting the gypsum from cart and wheelchair traffic. We chose patterns that would remain timeless yet playful for the child. For example, the daybed in each room has a fabric that is comprised of the theme “I Spy” with hidden objects such as the sun, moon and assorted animals. In addition, outlets and furniture are strategically placed to enable children to gather while accommodating their medical equipment. Access to natural light/nature, and the overall scale and geometry also provide this residential feel. The home’s design includes a “lighthouse” reflection space (a visual metaphor for hope and direction), care team office space, physical therapy room, care points for educating the family, kitchen/great room for communal activities, two distinct wings with 12 bedrooms, outdoor courtyard respite space and a screened porch. The clinical care team provides active and passive care, trains, and mentors parents and other family members. Recognizing the countless hours the care team spends in the facility, the clinical space blends into the homelike atmosphere seamlessly so there is not a “front of house/back of house” per se. The same care and attention to detail, finishes, lighting, and furniture is showcased in the nursing spaces, treatment, and office area to provide a continuity of the home experience.
Seyfarth Los Angeles chose to relocate to a premier office tower at 601 South Figueroa Street in downtown LA in search of a progressive new work environment that would incorporate current workplace trends and achieve more efficiency. The design team worked with Seyfarth to develop a sophisticated, forward-thinking design solution. The overall plan is a warm, high-energy, innovative and tech-forward workplace that better integrates attorneys and staff amongst multiple areas of practice, supporting a casual yet professional working culture. Increase of access to natural daylight and indirect lighting, use of locally produced materials, including artwork, and green wall applications lend a modern, high-spec, yet authentic feel to the space. Single-size offices for all attorneys, at an efficiency of 550 RSF per attorney, provides accommodation for growth while reducing the cost of occupancy. While the footprints for attorney offices and support workstations have decreased in size, an influx of new collaborative spaces offers a variety of work mode options throughout the office.
This refined industrial headquarters was built for OneSpan, formerly Vasco, a global leader in digital identity security, transaction security, and business productivity. Making the move from the western suburbs to an office in the Loop, overlooking the Chicago River, they aimed to attract millennial talent as they rebranded their firm. With its unique footprint, the design posed many challenges in both function and form. The reception serves as the client facing area broken away from the open work space by two large meeting rooms. Private offices housing the executive and management teams flank each end of the open work space. The lounge and break area are positioned down a corridor to offer privacy and limit distractions. The delicate mix of private and open spaces were created to maintain visual connectivity – allowing light to funnel in from multiple directions. To further enhance the natural light, the ceilings were exposed and painted white which added height and brightness. Coming from a large suburban office, it was vital to keep the space open and light. Dark finishes on the floor add contrast and raw texture. The polished concrete walkways function as a ‘way-finding’ tool, giving the unique footprint some flow and direction. Distressed carpets were used to offset the hard surfaces, and compliment the industrial concrete floors, while also adding acoustic benefits. The existing drywall columns were finished with painted white faux brick – giving them interest and texture. Moving from large cubicle desks to small bench style workstations it was important to provide alternative spaces for people to work, and break away from their desk. Phone rooms, reading nooks, collaborative lounge areas, a respite room, and a lounge with a mix of seating options provides employees an alternative space to work, rest, or play. The break room / lounge was designed for associates to gather and enjoy, with the intent of doubling as a dedicated space to host events. With that in mind, furniture selections were made to incorporate movable pieces, and bring in color. Mixed tiles of black and white were used in the break area millwork, complimented by decorative pendant lighting. Live edge benches and casual lounge furniture soften and complete this raw, refined, industrial office headquarters.
The renovation provided the opportunity for a more efficient planning structure while simultaneously yielding a unique spatial workplace story. Embracing the buildings structure to create a more authentic spatial experience, promote transparency, and collaboration. In client-facing spaces the big idea was to celebrate the views and maximize the flexibility of their conference space, opening up their main boardroom to flow into reception. A broad range of working and meeting and gathering spaces are provided for the employees on this floor. On the south end of the floor, they have created a larger café to bring staff from all floors into one space during the day. The furniture and details were very carefully thought through to allow for after hours events. The grandfathered stair features a custom Chicago map that spans all five floors creating a local flare for their headquarters. Reed Smith prides themselves on their people and culture so the importance of local influences throughout their space allows them to showcase the pride of their firm and city. The renovated attorney floors are anchored by a café and corner workroom and work lounges. The corner spaces are visible from the connection corridors. Adjacent to these rooms are light vistas that allow light to penetrate the throughout the office. All materials were hand selected in a thoughtful way to allow for the inflow of daylight emphasize the bright and airiness from the space.
The Customer Experience Test Kitchen and Innovation Center serves as a place to gather and showcase Golden State Foods' (GSF) food and liquid products. Inspired by the energy of its location in the West Loop neighborhood, the “The Chicago Kitchen Table” concept for the project comes to life. This space, like the kitchen table in a home, serves as the heart and soul that connects GSF's products and their restaurant partners. This project achieved its goal of fusing the neighborhood culture with GSF's global, gold standard image. The project includes 4,300 SF of culinary areas (test kitchen and research & development lab) as well as creative office space (work lounge, conference rooms, and touch-down hoteling areas) in an open loft environment. Materials include classic, timeless finishes like wood, glass, brick, black iron, and concrete. They speak to the trusted and true foundations and values of GSF.
The headquarters 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 headquarters 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 headquarters 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.
Inspired by the idea of “east meets west,” we meshed the industrial language of Chicago’s Fulton Market with the polished sheen of a Loop high rise in this full-floor model suite. The modern office is both a social space and a productive environment, and reflects the West Loop’s growing notoriety as a tech hub. Concrete screen blocks add visual interest to windows that lack an impressive view. The surprising material greets visitors at the entry and continues along circulation areas, creating a tactile cue of public versus private spaces while acting as divider, textural screen, and ledge for standing work or cocktail hour. The building's perimeter core presented an opportunity to make the center an open forum—a hangout space, meeting area and game room—surrounded by workspace, giving staff full access to natural light. Exposed structural elements painted black punctuate the airy pink and green space, and a cross-brace enclosure creates a cozy nest with hammock chairs. Photos by Kendall McCaugherty, Hall + Merrick Photographers
For the John Buck Company, the design team redesigned the existing conference center at 155 North Wacker Drive into a half-floor luxury tenant amenity suite. The building management and ownership wanted to dazzle and amaze tenants with exceptional hospitality and provide the flexibility to use the conference center for a multitude of events. To achieve a unique hotel-quality experience, enhanced service, and a hospitality-inspired aesthetic, the team converted three existing rooms into a beautiful, elevated tenant work lounge, with breakout and collaboration spaces. The lounge functions as an alternative workspace by day, where tenants may congregate and collaborate, and as an entertainment and event space for tenant use at night. By introducing vertically-folding walls that provide acoustic separation, the lounge can be combined with adjacent training rooms for large social events or divided into a variety of spaces. A leading-edge sound system and AV are also included. The team introduced a new exterior floor-to-ceiling curtain wall to the building architecture that infuses the once cavernous space with plentiful daylight and provides views of the city to support tenant health and wellbeing. In addition, collaborating with the design team’s in-house lighting experts, a stretch-fabric LED backlit “skylight” in the ceiling further enhances the atmosphere of the space. The design reflects the signature, angular geometry of the building lobby and includes high-end finishes and furnishings. For contrast, the textures of carpet, glass, and stone are inspired by the fluid Chicago River nearby, providing a play of light and dark, warm and cool, and coarse and smooth. Without compromising the option to combine conference rooms, a 25-foot-long low wall paired with a custom decorative light fixture serves as a visual barrier and design feature delineating the path from one of the conference rooms past the lounge. Custom decorative light fixtures, as well as a 50-foot-long wall, backed by an ethereal custom-etched mirror serve as a dramatic backdrop to the variety of seating options, and adds interest and detail. The redesigned concierge area increases its visibility from the meeting rooms, adds a beverage service, improves wayfinding and space identification, and introduces digital signage for improved communication with tenants. In addition, at the building reception area, the team redesigned the reception desk and augmented the lobby with architectural stone benches that encourage visitors to pause and enjoy the space. The renovated amenity suit is now a signature space that distinguishes 155 N Wacker Drive as a leading Class-A+ building focused on providing outstanding service to its tenants.
Offices and hotels are not typically designed to accommodate parents with non-school aged children. Parents with non-school aged children need built interior environments that allow them to fully participate as working professionals and to enjoy a travel stay without sacrificing or compromising their ability to care for and innate desire to be close to their children. Haven creates innovative solutions through the interior design of a multi-use development that includes a childcare center, co-work office, food court, and hotel to support parents with non-school age children. Haven is the chosen branded environment corporate name for the design solution for it's meaning "a place where people feel safe, secure and happy". The childcare center component provides care for the surrounding community and patrons of the adjacent co-work offices and hotel. In addition, it provides space for parents who want to remain close to their children, allowing them to observe their child, provide supplemental care (i.e. breastfeed, feed, comfort), socialize or get work done as needed. The co-work space component is designed for parents to be able to bring their very young children to work with them while providing support and creating a sense of community. In the co-work space, parents will experience an inspiring workplace and professional community with the peace of mind in having their children nearby. The hotel component is designed with public spaces and hotel rooms/suites that are designed to make the stay with young children easy and enjoyable. Children will experience a comfortable and safe environment that they don’t have to adapt to, instead the environment is adapted to them. It provides entertainment and developmental stimulus. It will be agile enough to support both children and parents.
One of the main design challenges I faced was combining the organic, fluid nature of the Great Lakes with the rectilinear structure of the existing 1961 building, Miegs Field Airport. To merge these two elements, I looked the driftlines, the undulating lines found parallel the shore of Lake Michigan. Driftlines are a physical marker of the connection between water and land — the line is formed from the sediment left behind when a wave crashes ashore. Driftlines illustrate the geographic components’ reciprocal relationship: what enters the lake appears on land. The GLCEC’s overlapping interior partitions and hatched patterns mimic driftlines; these intersections are evocative of the symbiotic relationship that the visiting guests have with Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes Watershed ecosystem. In place of flowing organic lines, the overlapping elements found throughout the GLCEC are geometric to pay homage to the building’s mid century architecture.
This Chicago basement was transformed into the ultimate man cave for a newly retired couple, one-time entrepreneurs. The mancave was created to be entirely different than the rest of the Nantucket style home. While the cigar room was the jumping point, every detail and design is thoughtful and deliberate. There is a huge bar showing off a large Bourbon collection, a pool table, four televisions, and lots of old Chicago photographs. The cigar room is complete with a built in humidor and air filtration system. The highly detailed paneling and millwork encompasses the space while an entirely glass wine room sits central in the space near the games table. Solving mechanical issues to create a smokeless cigar room was very complex. It presented technical challenges as well as creative ones. Wanting absolutely everything to be functional while also balanced and beautiful was a key intention. When looking at the space there were some clear design issues that needed to be overcome, specifically the man cave needed to feel like a completely different space than the rest of the home so dark millwork was added to set a moody yet luxurious tone. The attention to detail in the millwork is a piece of art itself. There was also an unused, awkward corner near the staircase that was converted into an enclosed wine storage unit and the smoking room needed to have its own air ventilation system in order to avoid smoke going through the rest of the house.
The design team sought to create an innovative interior design and residential experience for 465 North Park, a 54-story apartment tower located in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. The approach focused both on creating spaces that engage with the city and on spaces that offer respite from that same city. The two-story lobby doubles as a large resident lounge, seamlessly connecting the ground floor to its surrounding neighborhood and activating the city block through floor-to-ceiling glass. A beautiful sculptural floating stair leads to an open mezzanine that offers co-working space and access to the building’s leasing office. On the sixth floor, the building’s primary amenities remain connected to the energy of the city with a large outdoor amenity and pool deck nestled within the surrounding urban context. The hustle and bustle of the city fades away as residents and guests move to the 38th floor where a smaller and quieter sky lounge and outdoor terrace await. The design for the first floor lounge mimics the style of a hotel lobby by offering a variety of seating styles and arrangements and a complimentary coffee bar draws residents to the space. Another primary gathering space for residents is the large fitness center and spa. A program including a yoga studio, spin room, weight area, cardio, and TRX room offer a variety of activities for every workout level. A neutral palette creates a timeless elegance throughout the building. Inspired by the textures of the urban fabric, a studied use of materials create a multitude of layers throughout the spaces, quieted by their tonal uniformity. Natural materials such as wood and stone are also presented in response to the city’s influence, using straight lines, grid patterns, and clean geometries in their arrangement.
Husch Blackwell, a well-known litigation and business law firm, was looking to create a new work environment that would allow for transparency, natural collaboration, learning opportunities and a choice of work settings to suit all styles. They opted for a radical new direction, choosing a layout that includes a variety of collaborative meeting areas, breakout rooms and private heads-down space, giving staff the flexibility to work where and how they want, in an open and accessible atmosphere. Private offices were reduced in quantity and size, given full glass fronts, and half were moved off the perimeter to allow natural light to permeate the space. Acoustic privacy was given special attention, with solutions implemented to protect the natural confidentiality of the firm’s work. The result is a workspace that is truly on the forefront of legal workplace design. Within the first few months post-move-in, Husch Blackwell has seen an increase in interaction and information sharing across the teams. Associates have commented that they feel the partners are much more accessible and the anxiety of “knocking on someone’s door” has been removed thanks to the open and transparent space.
In 2018, this progressive restaurant company celebrated the opening of its new global headquarters in Chicago’s emergent Fulton Market district. The move from Oak Brook to the city was an opportunity to create a more centralized, consolidated workplace. To meet the challenge of a thorough dive into the company’s culture, the client hired two design teams to craft a narrative worthy of its journey and create a transformational environment to help the company move forward. Replacing a multi-building, cubicle-partitioned campus with nine stories of open, collaborative workspace and versatile meeting options accomplished both goals. The fast-track project a highly complex “top-down” construction process, was completed in just 18 months (from groundbreaking to ribbon cutting) thanks to teamwork, extreme organization, and the dedication of all parties involved, including three shifts of 600 tradespeople working around the clock—taking four months less than traditional building methods in Chicago. The new headquarters brings together all Chicago employees, from a range of departments, who had previously been located in several buildings at their former campus. A priority was to spark dynamic moments of interpersonal interaction, increasing visual connections between employees as they moved between the floors during their day. This was largely achieved via a more collaborative work environment, robust amenity offerings (a fitness center, multiple roof decks, community café, conference center, training facilities, bike room, etc.), and by orienting the workplace around a five-story atrium stairwell that serves as the heart of the structure. The atrium was expanded into a more prominent, awe-inspiring feature that forms a connection between the workspaces on floors 4 through 8. Glass-enclosed conference rooms cantilever out into the atrium; a pair of M.C. Escher-esque feature stairs prompt spontaneous intermingling, increasing the likelihood of on-going interactions between colleagues. At the first floor there are two entry points, one primarily for students of the company’s university, the other for guests and employees. Here the client’s culture, achievements, and aspirations are celebrated, and museum-quality exhibits of memorabilia create an immersive experience. On the second floor, students of the university interact with plasma touch screens, and nearby training kitchens offer hands-on learning. An adjacent sound studio conveniently provides for video recording. All floors are themed, for example, the third celebrates changing tastes and diverse diets; the fifth creative packaging etc. Design moments throughout are deliberately abstract, grounded in meanings derived directly from the client’s long history. Embarking on this highly ambitious project, the company sought to consolidate its various business units into a flexible, sustainable, and efficient workspace. Specifically, the organization needed an inclusive environment that would encourage collaboration and facilitate employee effectiveness and productivity. Other drivers included leveraging technology to enhance the way employees work and fostering wellness via a holistic approach. Features contributing to that goal include a lobby green wall, fitness center, abundant outdoor space, a rooftop deck, and beekeeping facilities. Every floor features a wellness suite that includes mother and prayer rooms and a library/quiet space. Additional highlights include prioritizing access to natural light and a focus on indoor air quality. The building achieved LEED Platinum certification.
With its adjacency to Lake Michigan and visible connections to both the University’s central campus and the Chicago skyline, the goal was to maximize transparency and views while invigorating the student-athlete experience. Building functions are organized, both vertically and horizontally, to provide lake exposure to every space possible; from recruiting spaces to administrative offices to the spaces that the student-athletes use most often. Lighting and temperature are all adjustable, and materials and furniture were carefully selected and tested to ensure student-athletes comfort. Two formal entries provide public access from the north for Fieldhouse events, and a secured entry from the southern campus side for athletes, coaches and athletic administrators. The fieldhouse dome maximizes the interior volume for the critical sport clearances, and a custom façade delivers mullion-free panoramic views to the lake and adjacent beach and captures the natural light from the north. Branding is a key element throughout, telling the storied history of Northwestern athletics. In the main athletic entry lobby, a three-story LED screen cycles through high-impact motion visuals of a student-athlete in action showcasing each of the program’s 19 sports. Customized team environmental graphics used throughout key student-athlete spaces and high traffic corridors instill pride in the Northwestern Athletics and their specific sport identity and give the student-athletes a sense of belonging.
Fortune Brands Global Plumbing Group sought a presence in Chicago’s iconic Merchandise Mart that would house two of their most prized brands: Moen and House of Rohl. While Fortune required a united multi-functional space for employees, the public face required the appearance of two distinctly separate brands and product lines. Through an immersive and collaborative process, the team worked alongside stakeholders from each brand to identify several key attributes to create two holistic, unique, and distinctive experiences. The Moen showroom is based on an inspirational story, focused on the “beauty of water” and technological innovation. Visitors are greeted with abstract digital projections that activate ripples with in-coming foot traffic. Long, curvilinear troughs are lined with fully functional fixtures that allow customers to freely interact with the faucets. The showroom is an experience grounded in the enduring, innovative, and technically astute aspects of the products, while simultaneously featuring the art and science behind the brand. The House of Rohl embraces the overarching story behind the highly handcrafted process and provenance of each brand. To showcase this opulent variety, the showroom was conceptualized as a boutique jewel box, focused on the idea of exploration, forged craft, and intense beauty. Visitors are greeted by an engraved, dark granite storefront with polished brass blade signs, and drawn in with a curvilinear chassis of powder-coated aluminum that supports a grid of boxes housing the plumbing fixtures on display. Panels housed within the framework use artistic photography and descriptive narratives to tell each sub-brand’s story, providing visitors with a museum-like experience. Moen and House of Rohl share a concealed back of house, meant to provide a centralized location for Fortune employees. Within public view, the showrooms are separate, only revealing a hint of connection between the brands through a pivot door embedded in a shared wall.
The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology’s (ABPN) new two-story headquarters supports the organization’s growth by providing modern offices and upgraded, functional spaces to host forums with practitioners from around the country. The design creates a national home that reflects the organization’s mission and leadership in the industry. Through the front entrance, a glazed floor-to-ceiling wall frames views to a private courtyard and the lake beyond, illustrating the indoor/outdoor theme of the project. A floating communicating stair made of glass and white quartz connects the ground floor of forum and training session spaces with the second floor comprised of offices and administrative support. Adjacent to the lobby, four 300 sf conference rooms and a 3,000 sf multipurpose room host forums and training sessions. Completing the first floor is a reception area, 1,000 sf café, and four smaller ‘focus’ rooms to facilitate breakout conversations. Clean lines balanced by rich walnut finishes create an open and welcoming environment for the first floor spaces. A variety of textures, such as carrara marble quartz in the reception desk, chiseled stone in the café, and velvet furniture, softens the sleek architectural elements and complements the warmth of the wood. Due to the building’s L-shaped configuration, the private offices on the second floor all have access to natural daylight and views. A conference room, huddle rooms, and a break room also occupy the second floor. These areas feature inviting design elements through the vibrant artwork and furniture selection. To serve the wide variety of ABPN’s forum sizes, durations, and types, adaptability of use was a necessity. The lobby serves as the main arrival space, but can convert into a dining space in the evening. The multipurpose room can adapt from one large room to two smaller rooms that may host a variety of uses easily and quickly with multifunctional furniture and AV solutions to suit conference, classroom, lectures, and dinners. Future expansion space was also an integral part of the layout. ABPN’s new headquarters reinforces their exceptional work and continuing legacy within the profession.
Dim sum restaurant Fun Bun is all about having fun with food and presentation without pushing tradition to the background (further illustrated by our tagline "you win some, you dim sum"). The design needed to appeal to and attract people who have never experienced dim sum before as well as cater to traditional diners. Seating variety supports these new diners (likely to be small groups) and traditional (large groups of friends and family). The private dining room also keeps these traditional diners in mind, and large tables are round to accommodate for Lazy Susans for typical dim sum presentation and to aid eating family style. A "table island" in the center flanked by banquette seats and faux columns helps the elevated area feel likes its own room. This is where the traditional round tables are situated with the smaller tables and booth seating at the perimeter of the restaurant. The circular layout also helps guests with disabilities and serving staff navigate easily. The brand colors of blue, red, pink, yellow, and orange feature prominently. Bright colors are offset by concrete-look floors, light wood finishes, and minimalist furniture. No matter the seat every guest has a fun and interesting view with the fringe curtain at the front of the restaurant and a cartoon mural of Chicago in the back.
The new Center for Health and Well-Being at the University of South Carolina is the result of a holistic approach to patient care that supports students’ academic success. The Center establishes a much-needed hub for health and wellness on campus, incorporating advanced design features that support the well-being of students, faculty, and staff. Clinics in general medicine, women’s care, sports medicine/orthopedics, and allergy, immunization, and travel are included in the new building, along with ancillary support spaces such as radiography and consulting offices for nutrition, counseling, wellness, and psychiatric services. Through this project, the design and client teams lay the foundation for lifelong wellness on campus, while supporting students academically, physically, and mentally in a facility that is a welcoming destination. The project is closely integrated into the community and core campus at USC. Special attention was paid to making the facility accessible to foot traffic following current high traffic walkways and access to key corridors on campus. The integrated biophilia design concept creates intentional moments both at the exterior and interior of the building to rest and experience nature – a key component of the wellness initiative on campus. Visitors to the building are encouraged to linger, meet with colleagues, take a class in the learning lab kitchen, or take a coffee or study break. The inviting architecture and interior design of the space reinforces the welcoming intent of the Center. Elements of nature are included throughout the design as visual cues to support this ambiance. The overarching project goal for both the design and client teams was to create a space that supports “The Whole Student” in all facets of life through transparent and biophilic design concepts. Creating a destination on campus that welcomes students, staff, and the community not only when sick or in need of care, but as a destination to gather, learn, and create lasting relationships.
RXBAR’s newly constructed 10-floor office building in downtown Chicago is the first expression of the brand in built space and honors the company's modest beginnings while inspiring exceptional growth of products, ideas, teams, and brand identity. Kicking off in August of 2017, the RXBAR team chose to move into the space as a family at full completion in April of 2018. It is an office without ego and is a place of purpose - designed to foster collaboration among individuals who dive deep on personality tests so that they can propel their talents together in harmony. Launching five years ago from a suburban basement outside of Chicago, RXBAR was bursting from their small identity-less office while at the same time gearing up for a furious hiring campaign. The protein bar company was eager to establish a 215-seat corporate headquarters in Chicago's River North neighborhood and sought to translate the honesty and energy of the brand’s No B.S. packaging, ingredients, and internal mantra into their physical space. While RXBAR joined the Kellogg's family during the build-out, their identity continues to remain uniquely theirs. Their beginnings are honored by the company's original Hobart mixer proudly displayed in the largest and most public conference room and the CEO's worn wooden stool which sits near his desk. RXBAR’s egalitarian beliefs are evident in the open seating layout that offers window views and sit-stand desks to each employee. The laptop-based staff can have a seat at cafe-style banquettes and kitchen islands at every floor or enjoy the ninth floor with kombucha and cold-brew on tap, an outdoor grill and firepit, and indoor entertainment space. Impromptu collaboration areas, quiet concentration rooms, and engaged breakout lounges help the teams work according to their styles and functions. An innovation lab allows for exploration of new products, a shipping center supports the efforts of the marketing team, and the onsite fitness center and locker room reflect the lifestyle of those that work for a company whose name is derived from a CrossFit term. The interiors are honestly straightforward. Glass walls of semi-private rooms let in the light and activity of the main floor. Corner rooms are for a meeting of the minds, not private offices. Raw steel, real woods, and an abundance of plants are natural and simple, just like the product's ingredients. Brand colors find unique placement on each floor, including in the stair murals which encourage employees to hike instead of ride, and the iconic packaging makes its way to the lobby's building directory. The building shell embraces the character of the site and the curved glass tower sits just inside the bend of the elevated CTA tracks. The wedge-shaped structure is in complete harmony with its surroundings and succeeds at creating a pedestrian plaza, Class A office building, and two retail experiences on a site that had been underdeveloped as a parking lot. From the shell to the interiors, each design decision reflects RXBAR's sacred core value: honest and simple from the inside out.
The main concept of Infrarail is to "reveal what is hidden" and aims to bring awareness to the hidden factors of social stratification represented by train networks. The design solution draws inspiration from infrared light, a part of the EM spectrum that people encounter most in everyday life, although most of it goes unnoticed. It is invisible to the human eye but is felt as heat. Infrarail utilizes back-lit surfaces to manipulate the visibility of objects and people in the space.
Located in in the much sought-after new development at 150 N Riverside, Kayne Anderson occupies a space with commanding river views. Using hospitality as the major driving force, stained concrete floors, black exposed ceilings, and warm wood accents redefine “edginess” for Kayne Anderson. Glass front offices with sliding doors, paralleled with high gloss flooring, enhance the natural light flowing through this space. The cafe is the central hub of the office. Occupying a large portion of the main hall, it doubles as a lounge and communal kitchen. Unique to this area are the multi-paned glass partitions used to create privacy while aiding social activity and interior light.
A key component of United Airlines’ reimagined international business class experience, Polaris focuses on the importance of luxury, privacy, and restfulness for United’s premier customers. The hospitality-level amenities in the lounge support the airline’s vision for an unprecedented standard of guest services. In the 12,000-square-foot lounge at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the design firm’s studied use of materials, distinctive lighting, and impactful art creates a truly differentiated experience for travelers. The primary design objective was to generate a sense of continuity between the on-board cabin environment and the lounge experience. This was achieved through thoughtful spatial planning and creating different zones within the lounge that celebrate the excitement of travel. For example, the lounge is bifurcated by an atrium, acting as a natural divider in the lounge. On the west side of the lounge, guests can gather by the bar, or use the open lounge space and seating for work or conversation. The east side of the lounge is a quiet, restful space where guests can use the spa-like bathrooms, showers, and sleeping pods. A smaller, more private pre-flight dining area is available as well. These hospitality-level amenities support United’s vision for an unprecedented standard of guest services. The lounge also takes design cues from the distinct and unique vibe of LA nightlife by featuring moody lighting, layered textures, and smaller spaces for travelers. The design team’s studied use of materials, distinctive lighting, and impactful art creates a truly differentiated experience for travelers.
A major goal of the client was for the administration suite to be more accessible to students, so the design focuses on transparency both inside and outside the space. Traditional hallways have been transformed into a hub, where students convene regularly. Physical barriers such as the wall between the “main street” hallway and the high school wing have been removed to promote connection, improve flow, and add energy to the space. The administration area is designed to be open and available to students, while counseling offices are separated off of the main gathering spaces to maintain the desired privacy. Bleachers, a technology display area, a coffee bar, and lounge all create a sense of community for students and staff. A variety of spaces exist from open to closed, flexible to rigid, in order to support many different learning styles, social needs, and academic work.
The Keramikos showroom is meant to represent the history, versatility, and duality of ceramics. I believed it was important to reflect on the material’s history, because it emphasizes ceramic’s durability as well as its importance throughout time. Ancient Greek elements and architectural features are seen throughout the showroom to evoke its antiquity. In order to show the versatility of the material, it was applied to many different surfaces, objects and shapes such as curvilinear walls, bathtubs, flooring, and sculptures throughout the space. Duality is another term that can be used to describe ceramic, because it is long lasting and durable but is considered fragile at the same time. It is a material that is created from fire and heat yet it is a cold surface. It is its own material yet it can be made to look like other materials like marble and wood. Keramikos is meant to educate its visitors about how often ceramic is seen in our daily lives, why it is a great material to use, and why it continues to play a large part in today’s design and architectural world.
Limitless Coffee & Tea is a new beverage startup which emphasizes the clean and detox-free processes used for the coffee beans and beverages. Inspired by their forward-thinking approach and cutting-edge technology in their product offerings, the team created a space that conveys this approach through the interior space of the flagship location in the Fulton Market section of the West Loop neighborhood in Chicago. The design team was enlisted to be involved with the client from the early beginning. Before a product was even developed, the team was able to help influence the look of the product conjoined with a space through initial conceptual studies. The greatest challenged faced was rooted in the brand’s identity, and designing a physical space that speaks to the clean, pure, and minimalistic nature of the brand, while still having character and feel inviting. By introducing color and geometric pattern play into the space, in addition to soft textures in upholstery and acoustical wall panels, along with natural wood, the design team was able to counter the pure white airiness with a sense of excitement, warmth, and artistic fun, colloquial to the Limitless identity. The design took off by attempting to create a space that leaves one of a higher mental feeling through the use of natural daylight and an emphasis on spatial verticality. The result is a slick coffee bar outfitted with high performance equipment all housed within a light, airy and minimalistic space. The cafe overall was designed to perform as an alternative location to working in an office by providing areas for both individuals to work and groups to gather and meet. There are a variety of seating types mixed throughout the plan to appeal to. Nearly every seat in the cafe is equip with power outlets and some tables offer marker boards for ideas creation. The meeting table towards the back of the cafe has both a large magnetic glass dry-erase board as well as a wall-mounted TV open for anyone to use for presentations. At this flagship Fulton Market location, the team designed a central skylight to flood the space with daylight and cast sun shadows on a colored glass focal wall as a dynamic art installation. The coffee bean roasting process is also on display and occurs behind a steel-frame and glass barrier as a way to showcase the honest approach to the coffee making process, while making a slight design nod to the historic Fulton Market District. The Limitless brand itself has introduced a unique product line to the consumer market, coupled with an identity that promotes inspiration and collaboration for all those who seek happiness and success, no matter the goal. The cafe space was designed to foster these idealistic notions, finally offering a food and beverage concept for thinkers, dreamers, experimenters, and every day hard-workers. Whether or not guests leave with a feeling of being ‘Limitless’, most would agree that this is not just your average neighborhood coffee shop. The flagship Fulton Market cafe is its own destination to venture for a visit. Aria Group has successfully helped Limitless open two additional cafe locations of different sizes this year, proving the scalability of the concept. The second location opened in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, and the third opened within an office lobby space on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue.
Equity Office wanted their regional and management offices, a 15,000-square-foot space, to reflect their brand values, business strategies and innovations. Located in Willis Tower, their new space is a progressive office environment that includes complex kitchens with raw concrete columns and unique conferencing and collaboration spaces. The need to both retain valued team members and recruit new talent led Equity Office to create a work environment that expresses authenticity, professionalism and collaboration.
Eight Eleven Uptown is an ambitious redevelopment of a former hospital site that had lain vacant and blighted for more than a decade. The mixed-income housing and retail project in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood includes construction of a 27-story residential tower with 381 apartments and eight townhouses. Its three-story podium structure contains a 30,000 SF retail space, parking and an outdoor terrace. From the lighted signage to the dramatically lit spaces, the interiors for 811 were inspired by the rich history of the Uptown theater district and its historic Jazz-Age structures: The Uptown Theater, The Riviera Theater, the Aragon Ballroom and the Green Mill Lounge. With bold ornamentation and lavish interiors, these elaborate movie palaces and concert venues are evocative of an era of vaudeville, speakeasies and exuberance. The double-height lobby features gold accents and ribbed detailing inspired by brass instruments in a jazz band. A grand stair leads up to a gracious mezzanine that overlooks the reception space and the leasing area. The lighting design alludes to the feeling of excitement created when standing under vintage theater marquees. Guests experience the fourth-floor amenity level by alighting the elevator to a corridor lit by a canopy of exposed bulbs. An intentionally dimly-lit corridor (save a bold Uptown sign), which references the underground tunnels that legend says Al Capone used as a secret escape route from the Green Mill speakeasy, leads to the building’s open-concept, day-lit amenity areas. The interior design of the Club Room embraces a vintage theatrical feel with highly textured surfaces, marble cladding, and upholstery rendered in sumptuous velvets accented with touches of burnished gold. Under vaulted ceilings, walls are lined with curated with black and white photography. In the Neighborhood Bar, bold emerald colors, a curvy divan, and stools that resemble corktops add whimsy. In addition to the interior amenities, an outdoor pool deck offers a pool, grill terrace, fire pits, and green lawns.
3 is the global leader in online obituaries, providing a digital platform for access to newspapers, flower delivery, funeral homes, and grief counseling. With two suburban offices separated by divergent staff functions and distance, engaged a firm to design a new consolidated downtown Chicago headquarters—an office supportive of cross-team interaction—for improved productivity and an environment where their unique culture would thrive. In keeping with their mantra of embracing a life well-lived, chose a site that is open and infused with natural light. A calming blue ceiling floats above. Using an “indoor-outdoor” design concept, natural-colored flooring suggestive of patios and grass showcases bright, colorful furniture that adds life and energy to the space. Photographs of celebrities and people from all walks of life are featured; their published obituaries are reminders of lives well-lived. Collaboration options are abundant—from closed living room settings to open hubs framed by Unistrut wood-clad panel systems to a large gathering space with a functioning “garage door”. Phone booths offer employees a private place for focused work. Only five months after moving in, employees universally say they “Love being there!”. Communication and collaboration between teams has increased, and employees feel energized. And, when they need a smile, they can join Superman in his phone booth or toss a Nerf football to a teammate while Walter Payton looks on.
For a group of designers, the design of their space itself truly matters. The original space rendered a huge amount of volume with its 16-foot ceilings; the question was then, “how do you access that space and have it be noticed, yet still have the space below retain a sense of intimacy?” Originally concrete block with 16-foot ceilings, the challenge was how to take a space like that and create a sense of intimacy and experience without separating the floor plan into small spaces. The design of the space needed to be creative and organic enough to have personality yet also be able to change with ease. To accomplish that, the lead designer used sculptural metal to bring the scale of the ceilings down; with the rest of the long, tall, and narrow space, the lead designer changed the access point of the conference room so it became more of an object in space rather than in a corridor.
The Ounce of Prevention Fund is a non-profit organization in Chicago that educates disadvantaged parents on the importance of early childhood education. They were looking to transition to an open layout to encourage easy collaboration and to fit within a strict non-profit budget. The design team achieved effective use of the organization’s modest resources by utilizing existing construction and creating a flexible floor plan to nimbly accommodate future growth. Eliminating private office space also helped the organization increase the transparency and effectiveness of its important work. The design incorporates a clean aesthetic with vibrant accent colors and inspirational environmental graphics that reinforce the organization’s mission and values.
While the layout of the private office is at first glance straightforward, the detail and execution of it creates a transporting experience. The office is at once one with the city—its windows opening out to impressive vistas of Chicago’s river and downtown—and a tranquil oasis of calm. The organization’s founder has traveled extensively in Asia, and in the process amassed an impressive collection of art, as well as an appreciation of Eastern design principles. That affinity helped to shape this space that balances understated ambiance with moments of powerful beauty. The office is as much a place for work as it is a place to welcome and entertain guests and luminaries. The team approached the design with the mind that they were curating a sense of journey and discovery. That experience begins in the reception. A centuries-old tree, pruned with artistry and care, is juxtaposed against the cliff wall of skyscrapers hugging the banks of the Chicago River in the view beyond. A Henry Moore sculpture complements that form, while soft, comfortable furniture casts a welcoming feel to the space. Generous corridors lead unobstructed out to another striking view. A seated Buddha, graffitied in a pop art application of ephemera anchors the path, and helps guide guests to the office’s main event space. The multi-purpose winter garden is the focal point of the office. A dual layer of vertical hickory slats wrap the 24-foot-high space, creating a floating box that ends 10 inches above the floor. The slats are offset, creating different views of the object as one moves around it. Japanese artist Ueno Masao created a 12-foot-tall bamboo sculpture that floats within the space. As one moves through the workspace itself, the feeling of tranquility continues. Slats front offices, giving privacy and softly diffusing light. Overall, the environment is meant to convey a subtle serenity and simple modernity that is realized as a minimalistic experience and translated with refined craft. While the art is given focus and moments of reflection throughout, in essence the context of the city—with panoramic vistas beyond the glass—brings the unique setting to life as a yin and yang of zen and the city.
1/Productive circulation for both clients and employees - Focused on making a clear view from each section will arrow for a customer service timely. -Zoning will help lead a customer to the right section. 2/ Quality of material and safety -Matte finished porcelain tile has a feature of easy maintenance and long life cycle. Also, slip resistance which is essential for users. -Bamboo wall cladding is not only helping for creating Japanese environment but also environmental friendly material. 3/ Maximizing the seat possibility -Since seating number is one of the most important considering points to run a restaurant business, layout focused on the flexibility and having a lot of seats with enough circulation. -Zoning will help to allow for a large number party without disturbing other customers.
Upwork is a web-based global freelancing platform based in Silicon Valley. Upon relocating their Chicago office, the design for their new 28,000-square-foot workplace celebrates Upwork’s growing presence in the city, as well as the company’s mission to provide economic opportunities in local communities around the world. To connect the new space to its surroundings, the design team organized the office into different areas named after Chicago neighborhoods. Each quadrant is denoted by large, graphic wall coverings of iconic landmarks and restaurants located throughout the city, as selected by Upwork employees. To tie the design back to the organization itself, the design firm incorporated branding elements throughout the space, as seen in the crisp design aesthetic, bright lighting, and verdant accents, reminiscent of the company’s logo. The open floor plan features sit-to-stand workstations, a number of collaboration and informal meeting spaces, quiet areas for individual work, and a large café space that can accommodate meetings for up to 150 people. Integrated technology in both the collaboration spaces and conference rooms creates a flexible, team-oriented work environment and supports connectivity to Upwork’s clients worldwide.
After a company re-brand, this client came to use to incorporate the new, colorful brand into their Merchandise Mart showroom. The brand statement is “evolution of motion” and contains the full color spectrum which moves from one color to the next. We interpreted that brand into the interior by using colored mirrors which run the length of the showroom. Customers can see their movement and view product through the colored lens of the mirror and brand. Accenting the mirrors are a series of product groupings which also follow the color blend in the showroom. When you enter the showroom, you are surrounded by green colors via the wall paints, product finishes, area rugs and greenery. Moving into the space further, there is a yellow section of colored mirror and furniture. The back of the showroom ends in a blend from pinks to purples and finally in a blue sheer drapery. The result is a bold, yet simple display of their product and brand.
The Chicago office of an international law practice provides a high performance, functional workplace and platform for dynamic global collaboration, community outreach and client engagement. The design mirrors the dynamic tension between the client's orthogonal program and the building's radial geometry. Arriving, an external arch draws the eye towards an open mise-en-scène defined by an arc of white terrazzo and "lacquer" fabric ceilings. This multi-function/high-flex volume is mirrored by an exterior cantilevered balcony with sweeping city views. Premium height acoustic wood ceilings flow throughout adjacent to luminous channel glass core walls, identifying the 9th floor space on the city skyline from within. Glass cavity assemblies, high-gloss walls and doors with faux-leather panels are carefully detailed to render a timeless, modern serenity. Color palettes inspired from the colors of earth from space (blue, green, tan and white) combined with international style furnishings lend a universal sense of place. Compositions of curved and planar forms inspire the local practice lobbies with blue-glass planes set opposite curving satellite city images from various continents; balancing informal, river-facing lounges against formal, city-facing conference rooms bonded together terrazzo and wood ceilings. Universally-sized offices with sit-stand modular furniture feature polished chrome, double-glazed facades following the building's elliptical profile, framing open worksites allowing light into interior spaces. A functional and agile design connects/enables a rigorous professional community in an intelligent and inspiring environment of simple, honest materials expertly-crafted representing - through form and light- the practice core's character and futurized vision.
Housed inside an iconic Art Deco skyscraper, the design is a dynamic interplay between the city’s historical roots, the building’s storied architecture and an interior design for the new modern traveler. Guests enter a living room-like space adorned with a vintage fireplace and art-filled bookshelves. Dark moresqued walls sit in contrast to luxe jewel-toned furniture with vintage details. Strong, custom-designed chevron floors are introduced here. A mosaic of iridescent glass tiles in shades of blush and nude canvas the floor, acting as the designers’ creative-take on an area rug. Across the lobby, a clandestine corner bar, upholstered and corseted in textured black leather and velvet, and a custom chandelier, encrusted with matte and polished black vintage jewelry, crystals and beads adds drama. The light and airy cafe is offset by a vertical light installation that soars 18’ to enhance architectural floor-to-ceiling windows. An American Brasserie is rustic yet refined with a feminine twist. Modern guestrooms are infused with bold signature details. Black and white herringbone floors and white walls create a dramatic backdrop for the diversified color palette within. Blush pink and velvet accents are paired with high gloss oxblood hued modern casegoods. Grey heathered felt encases armoire closets while veined marble, brass chain tassels, and champagne colored glass knobs add vintage charm. Brushed bronze light fixtures imbue a warm glow and custom artwork evokes mystery.
Tracing its roots back to 1897, CNA Financial is one of the largest commercial insurers in the U.S., providing services to businesses and professionals globally. Since 1973, its headquarters have occupied an iconic Chicago Loop tower. The move in 2018 to a nearby, new 35-story tower enabled them to take advantage of new infrastructure, efficiencies, and the ability to effect changes in their workplace, leading to a cultural transition from hierarchy and traditional work modes to a collaborative, brand inspired, state-of-the-art environment that will take CNA into the future. A common dilemma for many established companies, the majority of employees were comfortable in their stable environment within cubicles and offices, and not looking for change. However, leadership saw change as an agent to increase recruiting, employee engagement, and productivity, as well as deliver optimal workspace to shed unnecessary square footage. As part of the design team’s workplace strategy services, the team met with key executives, led workplace workshops, and analyzed badge swipe data, workforce demographics, and conference utilization to identify a new workplace vision. Moving beyond flexibility, CNA implemented a hackable work environment that equips both individuals and teams with the choice to continuously reinvent their work experience and modify a particular space in a moment's notice. This allows CNA to keep up with the speed of business and create the ideal environment for innovative ideas to thrive. A primary workstation and private office solution and size was developed to accommodate multiple workstyles and needs while also helping to shift the culture to become more transparent and connected. By reducing private office and workstation sizes, with less private office allocations, the amount of shared space was increased by 25%, allowing for more collaborative and community space types, including the introduction of huddle and phone rooms, work café’s and quiet zones. Overall, CNA’s real estate requirement was reduced by 60%. In a hackable work environment, acoustics is a critical factor. A complex sound masking system, layered at the ceiling, provides the acoustic control critical in the new, more collaborative environment, and the use of primary and secondary circulation paths helps minimize distractions and disruptions. Amenities emphasize technology, with the inclusion of scheduling systems, large scale monitor arrays, and sophisticated audiovisual installations. Throughout the design and construction process, the team partnered with CNA’s real estate and communication teams to develop a change management strategy to ensure engagement through the transition to new workstyles, protocols, and processes while supporting a cultural shift. Primarily delivered through CNA’s internal website, including a video that “walks” around a typical floor, these communications helped employees better understand the look, feel, and function of the new space. A mock-up “pilot” event was also held for employees, providing an opportunity to experience the new space firsthand. Other tools included targeted information sessions and a welcome kit for move-in day. The new headquarters’ design is sophisticated, sleek, detailed, and geared for convenience and action, with choice, collaboration, and community as key drivers. The design pulls inspiration from the established CNA logo by transforming the two-dimensional, canted text into dynamic architectural massing, ceilings, screens, materials, furniture, and graphics. The simple, 70 degree logo cant was reinterpreted into a series of complex pattern studies, which were then thoughtfully infused into both large and small gestures throughout the space. As a result, the logo inspired patterns embedded in the project’s finishes and architecture creates a branded environment completely unique to CNA’s new headquarters. From table legs to ceilings and walls, the complex patterns were reimagined into a broad range of custom forms and finishes, including custom felt graphics, 3D carved wall panels, etched glass, and architectural millwork screens and benches. Upon entering the typical floor, the logo-to-pattern translation is featured in architectural reveals and subtle changes in materials. The floor transitions carry your eye to the two feature walls at either end of the lobby. Graphic architectural screens create a sense of separation from the pantry zone to the open office while a custom bench bridges the canted architecture and screens. Three custom wall panel products accent the collaboration areas throughout the space—two laser-cut PET felt boards and a third with 3D-carved adhesive backed PET tiles—creating an open breakout zone for impromptu meetings. Logo-inspired jacquard weave wallcoverings are also featured in the private offices, huddle rooms, conference center, and executive floor. The multi-use conference room corridor is divisible into zones that accommodate a variety of functions. Each zone is highlighted by a screening element that ties into the floor and ceiling design. The screens are framed, custom etched glass illuminated with an embedded LED in the frame. Throughout the project, custom tables add a subtle nod to the logo cant through table top shapes and leg designs. The boardroom table was custom designed with embedded microphones, speakers, and an ideal viewing angle for presentations. The result is an environment that empowers employees with choices, an increased sense of community, greater connection to CNA’s culture and brand, and flexibility to adapt to changes over time. "This move is about much more than where we are located or a new building — it is about a workspace that enables and encourages collaboration across all functions and dimensions," said Dino E. Robusto, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CNA.
Occupying an old department store building, Snapsheet sought to create a space full of energy and collaboration to accommodate its rapid growth. The single-floor 52,000 SF office is organized around unifying circulation paths and features game rooms, nap rooms, open office workstations, and numerous communal spaces. The centerpiece of the gathering spaces is the expansive café, sized to accommodate all-staff meetings. Neighborhoods were created to accommodate the specific needs of the various groups; separating louder areas from private spaces was integral in noise control throughout the space. An open variety of seating creates varied opportunities for workspaces. Live plants were introduced throughout to enhance the liveliness and vibrancy of the office.
Located in the hustling and bustling west loop this apartment building has newly designed amenity spaces. The existing interiors did not match the sleek architecture of the building and lacked any memorable qualities needed to attract and retain residents. The lobby was completely renovated and transformed into a sleek space with a luxurious vibe. A custom living wall was used to bring the outside in and double as artwork. Graphic walls recall the energy of the city with its twinkling lights. Art incorporates humor and history. The art near the entry door has abstract taxis on it to signify a waiting space for your ride. Art with vintage water towers recall the industrial history of the neighborhood. Each of the 12 resident corridors has a different piece of art that recalls the rich industrial history of the site. The gym was rarely used due to a few reasons, poor lighting and bland design. There was no energy in the room. We incorporated bright, dynamic angled lines of light and a graphic wall that gave the space movement and energy. Resident corridors were poorly lit. A light paint color did the trick along with new carpeting throughout with a concrete pattern recalling the neighborhoods industrial past. The club room was renovated from an underutilized room to a multifunctional space. Different gathering zones were designed with both bar and low height seating and gadget connectivity. Movable ottomans allow flexible seating arrangements and swivel chairs are easy to move around due to their lighter weight. High energy vibes continue with the new carpet tile whose pattern recalls skyscraper lights at night. A colorful palette and a combination of unique materials from brass to crystal give the amenity spaces a timely design with timeless characteristics.
Our scope within the XS Tennis project was to design the entry reception area, the Pro Shop, staff offices, student classrooms, mezzanine lounge, locker rooms & restrooms, as well as the clubhouse at the outdoor courts. One of our favorite elements of this project was the opportunity to incorporate millwork & lighting donations salvaged from IIDA’s Headquarters in the Merchandise Mart. When IIDA HQ moved out & the demo of their existing space began, we jumped in to save as much material as possible. The millwork ended up being incorporated into the reception desk, and at the mezzanine level juice bar. The light fixtures also ended up in the mezzanine, adding a much needed decorative accent to the general lighting. With our emphasis on sustainability, we love the opportunity to save materials from the landfill, and give them a second life on a non-profit construction project in need! One of the first design challenges we faced on this project was how to integrate the two forms of educational mentoring taking place within XS Tennis Village - academics & sports. Kids who attend XS Tennis Village receive academic tutoring, as well as tennis lessons. Our approach was to create an integrated experience through site lines & various learning-style spaces. In the Academic Wing, we created flexible classrooms that can be divided for smaller or larger group learning. Private staff offices were designed to enhance a one-on-one tutoring experience. The mezzanine level lounge, which overlooks the indoor tennis courts, allows for a more relaxed & comfortable atmosphere that may be more conducive to learning for certain individuals. Allowing visual access to the tennis courts in both the group classrooms & from the mezzanine, links the physical training to the intellectual. Additionally, an elevated catwalk along the 12 indoor courts gives parents their own space to watch their child develop through the positive reinforcement of organized sport. Our second greatest challenge that came later on in the project related to FF&E. With our goal of securing as much donated material as possible, making finishes & colors correlate in a cohesive way can be a challenge. For instance, we were tracking most grey, green, and blue as our color scheme for materials & furniture. At the final hour, a large furniture donation introduced the color red. To ensure we didn’t miss out on using a large donation, we had to get creative for alternative ways to incorporate red. We had a light fixture donation with a red film on the drum. We were intending to peel off the film to create a more neutral-colored fixture. Instead, we utilized those fixtures as-is to pull in additional red in the space. We also introduced red accessories as a way to accent the new donation. The total cost savings to XS Tennis was $232,382 in donated design time and materials.
Taureaux Tavern is a contemporary French restaurant located near the Board of Trade and Mercantile Exchange in the heart of Chicago’s Financial District. Introducing a breath of fresh air into the neighborhood’s limited restaurant scene, that targets daytime trader and sales clientele seeking to entertain clients in an elevated environment. Established in 1848, the Chicago Board of Trade is one of the world’s oldest futures and options exchanges. Pulling cues from this historic landmark and old-world banks, the interior design of the restaurant oozes traditional opulence in way that feels unpretentious and approachable. Upon entry, a custom 10ft-high tiered copper and glass chandelier hangs overhead, mimicking Art Deco inspired architectural curves throughout the space. A copper coated faceted bull sculpture also marks the restaurant’s entrance, paying homage to the name, which is French for “bull”. Antique lighting fixtures and plaster finishes create the illusion that the restaurant has been there for years, backed by authentic photography from the Board of Trade dating from the late 1940s. Custom green fluted metal cladding wrapping the columns and main bar, metal cut screens on the banquets and stair risers, and custom tile flooring add to the decorative nature of the space. Juxtaposing historically inspired finishes, neon signage glowing the “color of money” and hand painted details add just the right level of modern flare to the overall environment, appealing to younger guests seeking a celebratory bite after a morning win.
Axiom Law, an intellectual property law firm, consolidated two sites into one building, across two floors, for a Chicago hub office. The design team was tasked with creating a work environment to support Axiom’s need to enable legal teams to be flexible, strategic and drive business forward. The team observed both existing locations, which influenced programming and space planning, to achieve Axiom’s goal of a more efficient space based on actual work style. One of the design goals was to create a residential feel—a casual work environment, open floor plan with adjacent phone, focus and teaming rooms. The new work environment is comprised of mostly open (non-finished ceiling) spaces, atypical for a law firm. The layout creates several new open-air breakout spaces adjacent to the workstations, and reduces the number of formal conference rooms, often six to eight seats, after observing that most enclosed conference rooms were occupied by only two to three people. Acoustics were a concern to Axiom. The design team selected demountable storefronts to provide better acoustical separation, and installed luxury vinyl tile to dampen noise from foot traffic. Lighter finishes create an overall brighter and more energetic space for Axiom, in contrast to their previous workspace. Finally, a new café provides a communal meeting space where Axiom can speak and share information on a projection screen. The new gathering space offers an alternative work setting for Axiom’s attorneys, or a place to just eat, socialize and relax.
Many companies have learned that a new office space has the power to ignite employee engagement and culture, and the American Association of Endodontists 8,000 square foot relocation from the American Dental Association building to nearby 2 Prudential Plaza supported their desire to do this. The design goals of this space were to create more opportunities to engage and interact with coworkers in a meaningful way. The American Association of Endodontists specialize in saving teeth and have become a global resource for research, knowledge and education in the endodontist profession. Their emphasis on innovation and ability to inspire employees resulted in staff that have stayed with the association for many years. The high percentage of legacy staff members posed an interesting design challenge to support those members while also setting the foundation for the organization’s evolution and advancement as well as attracting new passionate members. To support new and legacy staff, we provided an adaptive and open plan conducive for both individual and group work. These functional areas are supported through color and material palettes that bring warmth, while accents of color contribute to the energy of the space. Soft lines and curved silhouettes in furniture selections support elements of warmth and provide a welcoming and comfortable space. The welcoming experience starts as at the entry to the AAE suite. The reception area is branded with colors and signage that references the brand logo and greets any employee or guest immediately as they walk through the doors. The feature wall behind the receptionist includes photos and personalized information about each team member on the workspace side so that every team member sees themselves and each other in the workspace upon arrival and exit. Focus rooms and offices were added against the core and off the glass to provide a private area for employees to conduct meetings and allow ample light to fill the work areas. A large conference room with both chairs and lounge seating allows for more than enough space to bring clients and employees together. To set the stage for a contemporary yet comfortable place for staff to collaborate and socialize, the café space has warm hues, comfortable and varied seating options, and an exposed concrete ceiling with a custom light fixture. Simple down lights and plenty of natural light pool into the break room making the space feel larger and more inviting. Technology is incorporated in this space through a large flat screen television with ceiling speaker installations to facilitate regular all-staff meetings to keep employees informed of their mission and progress. Tech and power-enabled table and counter top seating arrangements are designed to support work, employee socialization, and impromptu communication.
From its mid-19th century beginnings, Brunswick has been known for innovation. Finding themselves in a work environment that felt too traditional, leadership sought to use the headquarters relocation as an opportunity to once again announce Brunswick as visionary. Brunswick’s products—from Lifetime Fitness exercise equipment to motor boats to their iconic billiard tables—are seemingly diverse but all are tied together by the common thread of activity. Our design promotes activity in its planning with circulation that doubles as a walking track and spaces for collaborating and connecting with colleagues. A central stair is the practical transition between floors, promoting an opportunity for healthy movement. Details throughout the new headquarters refer to Brunswick’s history and products—the curved wall, reminiscent of a boat hull, and the use of materials found in their products such as wood, steel, felt and slate. As part of the design process, we analyzed the existing workplace and the employees’ levels of satisfaction, which lead to the realization of generationally skewed satisfaction. Young professionals were much less satisfied with the workplace than those well-established in the organization. The new headquarters was a chance to rethink the workplace and find ways to appeal to all generations. Our design solution offers diverse and engaging work settings, locations created specifically to inspire collaboration and innovation.
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