September 19, 2012

Gary Lee Gives Chicago Design Center a Slick New Look

Image by Hoffman Visualization.

Image by Hoffman Visualization.


Design Center

housed in Chicago’s

Merchandise Mart

is getting a floor-to-ceiling makeover this fall, courtesy of

Gary Lee Partners

, whose vision for the Center’s new 14th-floor digs is, Gary Lee says, “subtle yet dramatic.”

To make room for Merchandise Mart newcomers Google and Motorola Mobility on the Mart’s upper floors, a spate of premier showrooms—including Holly Hunt, David Sutherland, Dessin Fournir, Michael Taylor, Janus et Cie, and Atelier Gary Lee, to name a few—are relocating to the 14th floor, which will also house the new “Lounge 1447.”

The lounge, equipped with both conference rooms and café and lounge seating, will be furnished with pieces from Design Center showrooms, and can accommodate rendezvous large and small, from designer-client chats to major private and Mart-sponsored events.

Central to Lee’s design of the space is a complete overhaul of the floor’s infrastructure to facilitate better flow between showrooms. Corridors, painted in a tonal progression of smoke grey and clad in custom gradient ombré carpet by Hokanson and lit by Focal Point’s “Seem 4” LED fixtures, usher visitors from storefront to storefront, each with a frameless glass façade.

Although the transformation was born of logistical necessity, Lee remarks, it is also a golden opportunity: “The business of featuring premier design resources to the community continues to evolve, and this relocation provides an opportunity to re-state and re-brand that presentation to the design community.” The new-and-improved Design Center is expected to open later this fall.

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