Vornado’s theMART: Still Relevant at 90

At nearly 90 years old, Vornado’s  theMART in Chicago is as relevant and culturally significant as ever.

2/3/2020 | By Michele Lerner
REIT magazine: January/February 2020
To read the full article click here. 

“Everyone knows theMART, this mammoth Art Deco structure facing the river,” says Mark Kelly, commissioner of the City of Chicago’s department of cultural affairs and special events. “It’s a muscular building—a working building—that’s always played with the imagination of the city.”

One of the largest office buildings in the United States, theMART stands tall along two blocks adjacent to the Chicago River in the heart of River North, one of the city’s most dynamic submarkets. Completed in 1930 and purchased by Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO) in 1998, theMART’s history has been intertwined with Chicago’s retail, business, media, and cultural landscape for nearly 90 years.

“theMART is one of the most iconic buildings in the country and since its inception it’s been continually reinventing itself,” says David Greenbaum, vice chairman of Vornado.

The Merchandise Mart, as the building was known until recent years, was designed by Alfred P. Shaw of the architectural firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, and features decorative chevrons and distinctive towers. Built by Marshall Field as a wholesale warehouse with rentable space for other wholesalers, the Merchandise Mart functioned as the “Midwest Pentagon” during World War II, says Greenbaum. The building was acquired by Joseph Kennedy in 1946. The Kennedy family sold it to Vornado more than 50 years later.

“When Joe Kennedy bought it in 1946, he anticipated the post-war growth in suburbia and in retail,” says Myron Maurer, chief operating officer of theMART. “He started the convention business in Chicago that’s still going strong today.”

From the 1950s through the 1970s, the Merchandise Mart mostly sold furniture and home decorating items, eventually adding apparel and gifts.

“NBC radio and TV were also based in theMART and the first all-color TV studio in the country was here,” Maurer says. “A building of that size could never be entirely wholesale/showroom tenants and the location appealed to many other businesses. Quaker Oats, Bankers Life and Casualty, and Canteen Corp. were all headquartered here at one time, among many other companies.”

Into the Next Generation

In 1998, Vornado saw the opportunity in acquiring the large-scale property with its mix of office, interior design showrooms, and tradeshow spaces.

“Most important to us was the fact that we were able to acquire a totally unique and iconic asset,” Greenbaum says.

While theMART was always the anchor of the River North area, Maurer says the neighborhood transitioned from industrial brick buildings into a dynamic community with art galleries and street-level retail beginning in the late 1990s. Vornado, and theMART, were central to that transition.

“We’ve been the beneficiary of gentrification and we’ve significantly accelerated it because we’ve shepherded theMART into the next generation with great food offerings and abundant communal spaces,” Maurer says.

Vornado undertook a major, $40 million renovation and rebranding of theMART, which was completed in 2017. This work included the creation of a new lobby and the Grand Stair, a 50-foot wide marble staircase and special event venue featuring a massive projection screen. Meanwhile, the debut of Marshall’s Landing, a lounge with river views at the top of the Grand Stair, has contributed to theMART and River North functioning like an “urban Silicon Valley,” Greenbaum says.

theMART now includes 23 food offerings, a bar overlooking the Chicago River, a fitness center, a hair and nail salon, a post office, and Amazon package lockers. A 12,000- square-foot park that runs between the river and theMART is under construction and will contain a variety of outdoor furnishings and accommodate food trucks.

“The area has evolved over the past 20 years to become the hottest place to live in Chicago, with high-rise, high-end residential buildings, and some of the city’s best restaurants,” Greenbaum says.

Neighborhood Anchor and Economic Catalyst

Throughout its existence, theMART has played an outsized role in Chicago, the River North neighborhood, and in many Chicagoans’ lives. “I literally grew up riding motorized carts up and down the hallways in the Mart,” says Howard Tullman, a serial entrepreneur and former CEO of 1871, a Chicago tech incubator. “My father had a showroom there.”

As an adult, Tullman chose theMART as headquarters for one of his first businesses, a database business called CCC Information Services, and later he was instrumental in helping to develop theMART’s reputation—and Chicago’s—as a tech hub.

“When we opened 1871 in 2012, technology was 2% to 3% of Chicago’s economy and now it’s 12% to 13% or more of the city’s economy,” Tullman says. “What was important to us about locating in theMART was that when we took our 160,000 square feet, we became an anchor for all the other tech companies and big businesses that wanted to be close to digital workers, tech workers, and creative workers.”

Entire floors that were formerly showroom spaces have transitioned into space for tech companies, Tullman says, including Google’s Motorola Mobility unit, which leased 600,000 square feet of office space in 2012.

“The prototypical pattern has been that a company like Allstate will work out of the 1871 space for a while and then decide to take its own space in theMART,” Tullman says. “We’re seeing a migration of companies that need tech workers and can’t find them or can’t convince them to commute to the suburbs, so they’ll establish an outpost or even headquarters in theMART.”

Companies like Braintree, a division of PayPal, started with 60,000 square feet in theMART and now occupies 148,000 square feet, says Paul Heinen, a senior vice president for leasing with Vornado. Others that have increased their space include Yelp, which went from 50,000 square feet to 132,000 square feet, and Allstate, which expanded from 45,000 square feet to 120,000 square feet, Heinen says. theMart’s uniquely large 200,000 square foot floorplates attract companies across industry sectors who want to use their real estate to foster collaboration among employees and create a sense of community.

theMART’s central urban location and easy access from the suburbs is also part of its attraction for many major corporations, such as ConAgra Foods.

“Our headquarters had been in Omaha for 100 years, but about four years ago we decided to move about 500 to 600 employees to a new headquarters in Chicago,” says Jon Harris, chief communications officer for ConAgra Foods. “It makes sense for us to be in a food-centric city. We also knew we could find and attract the talent we needed, especially in sales and marketing, in Chicago.”

Harris says theMART is the premier building in the premier location for their company headquarters as well as numerous other companies.

“It’s like 30 Rock for Chicago, with the history and the heritage of the building acting like a lightning rod to attract talent,” he says. “The neighborhood itself is also a huge draw.”

Harris credits Vornado’s efforts to enhance theMART’s presence with adding to the vitality of the River North neighborhood, where he says the restaurants, hotels and nightlife within walking distance add to the draw of working there.

“An address in theMART helps put you on the map,” Harris says. “Everything you need is inside the building or in the surrounding area. You can entertain clients, attract talent, and have a front seat to innovation in the food industry. We like to keep our mouths to the fork of what’s trending in food to keep us competitive.”

Among other companies with a substantial presence in theMART are Kellogg’s, Conde Nast, Bosch, and ANGI Home Services.

Showroom Powerhouse

theMART’s continued importance to America’s retail economy is demonstrated by 40% of the building continuing to be devoted to wholesale showrooms and tradeshows.

“We have luxury kitchen and bathroom businesses, commercial office furniture, luxury residential furnishings for designers and casual outdoor furniture spaces,” says Maurer. NeoCon, the largest commercial design event in the country, attracts about 58,000 people to theMART each year.

“People love the bones of this building, the loft look of the building, the high ceilings, the history, and the patina,” says Greenbaum. “It’s just built better than buildings from the 1950s and the 1960s. At the same time, we’ve been careful to keep current with the tech needs of our tenants with lots of fiber feeds. We’ve worked on the elevators, upgraded the HVAC systems, and we’ve been LEED certified three times now.”

With stewardship like that, theMART will likely continue its history as a resilient Chicago landmark leading the way into the city’s future.

Tech Company Magnet

The architecture of theMART, which functions so well for retailers who need large showrooms and for tradeshows, offers a big benefit to collaborative workspaces that are particularly popular with tech companies.

“Tech companies were able to take advantage of the huge floor plans so they could have common spaces instead of being on multiple floors,” Howard Tullman, former CEO of 1871, a Chicago tech incubator, says. “This meant you could have serendipitous meetings, which is great for start-ups, tech workers, and venture capitalists.”

Vornado’s transformation of theMART into a tech company magnet began nearly a decade ago.

“From 2010 to today, theMART went from being a white elephant with non-economic space to a transformative tech hub,” Tullman says.

In 2011, Google, which was acquiring Motorola Mobility at the time, was looking for 600,000 square feet in downtown Chicago, Myron Maurer, chief operating officer of theMART, says.

“theMART’s office space was substantially full, but some of the showrooms were underperforming,” he says, due to a contraction in the furniture business in 2008-2009 which resulted in some tenants being scattered on numerous floors. “We wanted to lease the top four floors to Motorola Mobility, so over 11 months we worked with 142 tenants to either move their showrooms or terminate their leases. Some were ready to vacate, and some wanted to downsize, so it was a win-win because they were able to reinvigorate their businesses and we got the space we needed.”

Relocating showrooms so they are contiguous helped revitalize the businesses while making the space more efficient.

Tullman also credits Vornado with being willing to keep the building open 24 hours a day, which is well-suited to tech workers.

“When J.B. Pritzker [founder of 1871 and now Illinois governor] had the idea for the tech incubator, no one had heard of 24/7 offices, flex space, or co-working,” David Greenbaum, vice chairman of Vornado, says. “They were visionaries and saw how important it was to have space to congregate and to think of new ways to grow the economy and create jobs. theMART and 1871 became an example of what an urban area like Chicago could do to attract business to the city.”

Cultural Icon

Since its earliest days as a wholesale warehouse, furniture center, and tradeshow center, theMART has been connected with art and design. In September 2018, Art on theMART introduced a new element of culture to the building and the neighborhood: the world’s largest video projection art installation.

“In a city filled with great art, this has captured the imagination of the city,” says Mark Kelly, commissioner of the City of Chicago’s department of cultural affairs and special events. “Former mayor Rahm Emanuel and Vornado started talking about lighting the front of the building and then I brought in more specific ideas about turning it into public art in the form of video mapping.”

Kelly credits Vornado with recognizing the value of the project.

“They jumped on the idea and immediately said it couldn’t be about branding or marketing, it had to be pure art,” Kelly says. “Vornado and the City of Chicago made a 30-year commitment to the project and we needed agreement to build space for the projectors above River Walk, which is city-owned property.”

2019 was the first full year of nightly projections, which include a variety of installations from Andy Warhol images to a lifelike safari in which giraffes appeared to walk across the building, says Greenbaum. About 32,000 people attended the opening night of Art on theMART and an average of 500 people are there nightly.

Thirty-four projectors are housed on the opposite side of the Chicago River and the images are a mix of new art and digitized existing art, says Maurer.

“theMART looks like the most alluring, attractive building in the city even though it’s been around since 1930,” Kelly says. “This new public art installation makes the river come to life. It’s just spectacular at night and now everyone wants to be on the river in this new vital urban space.”

Holly LlewellynVornado’s theMART: Still Relevant at 90
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And the Leaders of Design Council #DesignCenterFinds Are…

Accomplished members of the Council name their favorite designs from showrooms at Design Center at theMART; see them in person during Design Chicago

Chicago, IL (September 26, 2019) – The Design Center at the Merchandise Mart is pleased to announce #DesignCenterFinds, named by members of the Leaders of Design Council, a growing organization comprised of leaders from architecture, interior design and landscape design firms from around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Del Piero, Michael Del Piero Good Design

  1. HOLLY HUNT (1428): Bantu Cocktail Table, Gregorios|Pineo
  2. Tai Ping (635): Ame I from KISO by Yabu Pushelberg

James Dolenc, James Thomas Interiors

  1. Schumacher (6-133): Magical Ming Dragon in Blue
  2. John Rosselli & Associates (6-158): Tribal Collection Lampshades, Vaughn
  3. Ferrell Mittman/Avery Boardman (1483): Single Horizontal Picture Light, Besselink & Jones
  4. Innovations (6-130): Facet Wallcovering in Turquoise

Scott Fortman, Gibbons, Fortman & Associates

  1. The Bright Group (6-166): Roulette Extension Table, Altura
  2. George Smith (14-110): Jean-Louis Deniot Collection
  3. Scott Group Studio (14-129): Empire Collection
  4. HOLLY HUNT (1428): Phoebe Drink Table, Matalliano

Bruce Fox, Bruce Fox Design

  1. The Bright Group (6-166): Glacon Table Lamp, Jonathan Browning Studios
  2. Hickory Chair (1477): Grace Spot Table with Crystal Grace Bowl
  3. Moore & Giles (1424A): Traveler Embossing on Valencia Suede

Christopher Kane, Kane Brothers, Inc.

  1. Sossego|Modern Brazilian Design (1445, 14-135): Gisele Lounge Chair
  2. Gloster Furniture (1452): Ambient Ray Light

Frank Kane III, Kane Brothers, Inc.

  1. JANUS et Cie (1420): Pivot Swivel Day Bed
  2. Made Goods (14-106): Wesley Bookcase

Jessica Lagrange, Jessica Lagrange Interiors

  1. Ebanista (1457): Brunello Arm Chair
  2. Richard Norton Gallery (612): Figure Studies, 1942; Albert H. Krehbiel
  3. Lapchi Rug Design Studio (6-160): Rhapsody in Yellow

Teresa Manns, Peabodys Interiors

  1. Century Furniture (1464): Galia Counter Stool
  2. Maya Romanoff (6-167): Weathered Metals and Hand-Painted Wallcovering in Silvery White
  3. K&B Galleries (1454): For Town by Michael Smith Kitchen Faucet, Kallista
  4. Pindler (618): Viottolo Fabric in Sapphire

Kim Scodro, Kim Scodro Interiors LLC

  1. Jean de Merry (1466): Infinity Bench
  2. Scalamandré (626): Andrew Jackson Floral in Noir
  3. Stark Carpet (6-100): McCoy in Forest

Shea Soucie, Soucie Horner, Ltd.

  1. Edelman Leather (6-128): Heritage Sheepskin
  2. ROMO (6-152): Mark Alexander Fabrics
  3. Designers Linen Source (1461): Alexandre Turpault Bedding

Tom Stringer, Tom Stringer Design Partners

  1. Watson Smith (622): Handwoven Carpet, Doris Leslie Blau
  2. Samuel & Sons (6-168): New St. Moritz Collection of Trims
  3. Paul Ferrante (1459): Water Lilies Chandelier

#DesignCenterFinds will be on display during Design Chicago. Over the course of two days (Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3, 2019), Design Chicago will showcase over 175 presentations, CEU programs, open houses and featured products, including #DesignCenterFinds.

Signage noting the distinction of being named as a “Design Center Find” will be placed prominently in selected showrooms, and each find will be profiled across Design Center social media channels.

About Leaders of Design Council

The Leaders of Design Council exists to elevate and enhance the value of design. The organization achieves its mission by nurturing a robust membership of design leaders with frequent education programs and networking opportunities, and one annual international conference. The member community includes leaders from architecture, interior design and landscape design firms, as well as leaders of relevant product, service and media companies. Members are based in over 40 cities across the globe. For more information, please visit www.leadersofdesign.com.

About the Design Center at The Merchandise Mart (theMART)

The Design Center, located in Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart, is home to four floors constituting the world’s largest and finest design center. As a leader in the $65 billion residential home furnishings market, the Design Center offers the largest presentation of high-end, customizable, residential and outdoor home furnishings worldwide, all under one roof. Encompassing 750,000 square feet, boasting more than 125 showrooms and featuring more than 2,500 product lines, it is the ultimate resource for designers and design enthusiasts of luxury furniture, fabrics, floor coverings, wall coverings, lighting and much more. For more information, visit designcenter.com. Visit Design Center on Facebook and Instagram.

# # #

Contact:
Jennifer Brough
White Good
jbrough@whitegood.com
717-278-9338
For inquiries on Design Center

Erik Perez
Hello PR Group
323-452-3310
erik@helloprgroup.com
For inquiries on Leaders of Design Council

Holly LlewellynAnd the Leaders of Design Council #DesignCenterFinds Are…
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#DesignCenterFinds from the Leaders of Design Council to Debut at Design Chicago

Announcing the 10 influential and accomplished interior designers who will name their favorite designs from showrooms at Design Center at theMART

Chicago, IL (September 24, 2019) – The Design Center at the Merchandise Mart is pleased to announce its #DesignCenterFinds initiative, led by members of the Leaders of Design Council, a growing organization comprised of leaders from architecture, interior design and landscape design firms from around the world.

A group of eleven accomplished designers were invited to take part in the inaugural #DesignCenterFinds event. Each designer will identify their top finds from a list of Design Center showrooms featuring luxury furniture, fabrics, floor coverings, wall coverings, lighting, accessories and more. Participating Leaders of Design members include:

  • Michael Del Piero, Michael Del Piero Good Design
  • James Dolenc, James Thomas Interiors
  • Scott Fortman, Gibbons, Fortman & Associates
  • Bruce Fox, Bruce Fox Design
  • Christopher Kane, Kane Brothers, Inc.
  • Frank Kane III, Kane Brothers, Inc.
  • Jessica Lagrange, Jessica Lagrange Interiors
  • Teresa Manns, Peabodys Interiors
  • Kim Scodro, Kim Scodro Interiors LLC
  • Shea Soucie, Soucie Horner, Ltd.
  • Tom Stringer, Tom Stringer Design Partners

#DesignCenterFinds will be announced to media on September 26 and will be on display during Design Chicago. Over the course of two days (Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3, 2019), Design Chicago will showcase over 175 presentations, CEU programs, open houses and featured products, including #DesignCenterFinds.

Signage noting the distinction of being named as a “Design Center Find” will be displayed prominently in selected showrooms, and each find will be profiled across Design Center social media channels.

“With more than 125 showrooms featuring more than 2,500 product lines, Design Center is the place to find inspiration for both residential and outdoor home furnishings, all under one roof,” said Beth Hicks, Managing Director, Marketing for Design Center and Casual Market Chicago. “We were delighted to work with the Leaders of Design Council on this initiative and look forward to sharing their finds.”

About Leaders of Design Council

The Leaders of Design Council exists to elevate and enhance the value of design. The organization achieves its mission by nurturing a robust membership of design leaders with frequent education programs and networking opportunities, and one annual international conference. The member community includes leaders from architecture, interior design and landscape design firms, as well as leaders of relevant product, service and media companies. Members are based in over 40 cities across the globe. For more information, please visit www.leadersofdesign.com.

About the Design Center at The Merchandise Mart (theMART)

The Design Center, located in Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart, is home to four floors constituting the world’s largest and finest design center. As a leader in the $65 billion residential home furnishings market, the Design Center offers the largest presentation of high-end, customizable, residential and outdoor home furnishings worldwide, all under one roof. Encompassing 750,000 square feet, boasting more than 125 showrooms and featuring more than 2,500 product lines, it is the ultimate resource for designers and design enthusiasts of luxury furniture, fabrics, floor coverings, wall coverings, lighting and much more. For more information, visit designcenter.com. Visit Design Center on Facebook and Instagram.

# # #

Contact:
Jennifer Brough
White Good
jbrough@whitegood.com
717-278-9338
For inquiries on Design Center

Erik Perez
Hello PR Group
323-452-3310
erik@helloprgroup.com
For inquiries on Leaders of Design Council

Holly Llewellyn#DesignCenterFinds from the Leaders of Design Council to Debut at Design Chicago
read more

Registration Now Open for Design Chicago: Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3, 2019

Registration Now Open for Design Chicago: Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Midwest’s Largest Residential Design Conference: A two-day trade event featuring presentations by industry experts, CEU seminars, new product debuts, open houses, exclusive networking experiences and more

Chicago, IL (September 3, 2019) – The Design Center at the Merchandise Mart and LuxeHome are excited to announce that registration is now open for Design Chicago, the Midwest’s largest residential design conference, on Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3, 2019 at the iconic Merchandise Mart (theMART) in downtown Chicago.

Over the course of two days, Design Chicago will showcase over 175 feature presentations, CEU seminars, open houses and product debuts, along with newly opened showrooms ready to be explored, as well as 16 strategic media partners and more than a dozen well-respected editors.

Program registration is now open and complimentary for trade professionals only. Seating is limited. RSVP now to secure a spot.

Design Chicago will welcome leading interior design, architecture and luxury custom homebuilding professionals from across the Midwest, as well as coast-to-coast. All programming in the more than 120 showrooms across 600,000 square feet on theMART’s 1st, 6th and 14th floors is complimentary to trade-only professionals.

“Registration to Design Chicago opens the door to exclusive presentations and CEU programs; a wide array of product debuts from our many showrooms; and networking opportunities with leadership from industry leading kitchen, bath and home furnishings brands,” said Susan McCullough, Senior Vice President at theMART. “It’s truly a can’t-miss two-day experience for trade professionals.”

In addition, 16 media partners from coast to coast will be on hand, presenting another compelling reason to attend Design Chicago. Media will offer their deep knowledge of the industry and years of expertise, including representatives from: Architectural Digest, Aspire Design and Home, Chicago Agent, Dering Hall, Domino, Elle Décor, Food & Wine, Galerie, House Beautiful, Interior Design, Luxe Interior + Design, Miieu, Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago, Residential Design, Sophisticated Living Chicago and Traditional Home.

Attendees may register to experience presentations and CEU-accredited seminars given by celebrated designers, media executives, manufacturers and associations. Highlights:

Wednesday, October 2, 2019:

  • Design Then and Now (Scott Group Studio, Suite 14-129)

Panelists Jennifer Butler, Jennifer Butler Design; Frank Ponterio, Frank Ponterio Interior Design; Kruti Zaveri, Tom Stringer Design Partners and Sarah Montgomery, Sarah Montgomery Design; moderated by Libby Ferin, Scott Design Group

  • Winning New Clients in the Age of Instagram (Broome + Greene, Suite 14-119)

Timely topic to be moderated by Laura Hine of Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago

  • Our New Consumer: Understanding the Millennial Designer (Michael-Cleary, Suite 6-102)

Owner of ERINN V, Erinn Valencich

  • Photography & Styling that Engages (Made Goods, Suite 14-106)

Panelists: Christina Samatas, Park & Oak Interior Design; Renee DiSanto, Park & Oak Interior Design; Dan Rak, Dan Rak Interior Design join Moderator Amy Sneider, ASPIRE Design and Home

  • Insta-Design: A No-Filter Panel Discussion (Schumacher, Suite 6-133)

Designers Shelley Johnstone, Brynn Olson, Sarah Vaile and Summer Thornton join moderator, Tori Mellot of Schumacher

Thursday, October 3, 2019:

  • Re-Designing Your Life (Middleby Residential/Viking Range/La Cornue, Suite 137)

Susan Brunstrum, Studio Brunstrum; Caroline Manzo, Real Housewives of New Jersey; Donna Mondi, Donna Mondi Interior Design; Kathleen Henson, Agency H5; James Dolenc and Thomas Riker of JamesThomas join co-moderators Jaime Laurita of Middleby Residential and Laura Hine, Editor in Chief of Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago

  • Beyond Interiors: The Evolving Role of the Modern Designer (Experience and Design Center, Suite 108)

Designer and lifestyle expert, Nathan Turner with Mayer Rus, West Coast Editor of Architectural Digest

  • The Ins and Outs of Licensing (Artistic Tile, Suite 105A)

Interior designer and author of Ode to Color, Lori Weitzner

  • Color Mix 2020 (Sherwin-Williams, Suite 163)

45 trend colors introduced by Michael Plank of Sherwin-Williams

  • Iconic House (Pella Windows and Doors, Suite 100)

Claire Conroy, Editor in Chief of Residential Design; Stuart Cohen, FAIA; Julie Hacker, FAIA; Doug Farr, FAIA; and Scott Fortman, AIA

 

Also, Design Chicago features two exclusive and ticketed celebratory events:

Opening Night Reception, Wednesday, October 2, 2019, (5:00-7:00PM) – Celebrate the first day of Design Chicago with an opening night reception at Marshall’s Landing (Floor 2, theMART). Networking with colleagues and toasting fine design will be top of mind for those in attendance. Tickets on sale soon. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.designchicagoevent.com.

Chicago VIP Luxury Gala, Thursday, October 3, 2019, (5:30-8:00PM) – Design Chicago culminates with the eleventh annual Chicago VIP Luxury Gala, where a who’s who of the design industry will come together to celebrate the best of Chicago and Midwest design. The event will honor the induction of four residential design industry icons into the Merchandise Mart Hall of Fame. The 2019 Chicago VIP Luxury Gala is generously sponsored by exclusive Media Sponsor, Luxe Interiors + Design; Platinum Sponsors, Gaggenau, Thermador and Bosch; Gold Sponsors, Broome + Greene, Sherwin-Williams and Vicostone; and Silver Sponsors, House of Rohl and GABBY. Tickets are on sale now, $100/person. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.designchicagoevent.com/gala.

For more information, and to register for programming, please visit www.designchicagoevent.com.

Design Chicago welcomes trade professionals from across the country, including members of trade organizations; such as, The American Institute of Architects (AIA), American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago (HBAGC), Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA), International Interior Design Association (IIDA), National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA).

About the Design Center at The Merchandise Mart (theMART)

The Design Center, located in Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart, is home to four floors constituting the world’s largest and finest design center. As a leader in the $65 billion residential home furnishings market, the Design Center offers the largest presentation of high-end, customizable, residential and outdoor home furnishings worldwide, all under one roof. Encompassing 750,000 square feet, boasting more than 125 showrooms and featuring more than 2,500 product lines, it is the ultimate resource for designers and design enthusiasts of luxury furniture, fabrics, floor coverings, wall coverings, lighting and much more. For more information, visit designcenter.com. Visit Design Center on Facebook and Instagram.

About LuxeHome® 

LuxeHome is the world’s largest collection of premier boutiques for home building and renovation located on the first floor of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. With more than 125,000 square feet of showroom space featured in over 45 boutiques, LuxeHome is host to the finest products for home building and renovation from the most recognized and respected manufacturers worldwide.

LuxeHome offers discerning homeowners and trade professionals one-stop shopping convenience with access to the finest kitchen, bath, tile, lighting, cabinetry, appliances, countertops and much more. LuxeHome displays the widest selection of products to suit all upscale design styles, from modern European to classic American to traditional English. In addition to the extensive lineup of premier brands, each boutique offers knowledgeable designers who are available to assist with all phases of each design project. LuxeHome’s boutiques are open for shopping Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit luxehome.com. Follow LuxeHome on Facebook, Houzz, Instagram or Twitter.

About theMART

theMART (formerly The Merchandise Mart), located in the center of the sought-after River North submarket, is interwoven into the fabric of Chicago as an innovator in business, technology, culture, art, media and more. As the largest privately held commercial building in the United States, it is one of the world’s leading commercial buildings, wholesale design centers and the preeminent international business location in Chicago. Encompassing 4.2 million gross square feet, theMART spans two city blocks, rises 25 stories, and is visited by an average of 30,000 people each business day and nearly 10 million people annually. Offering continuous innovation and creativity from leading manufacturers and design forward showrooms, theMART serves as the home to Chicago’s most creative and technologically innovative companies including Motorola Mobility, 1871, Yelp, PayPal and MATTER, as well as Fortune 500 companies ConAgra, Allstate, Kellogg, Beam Suntory, Grainger and Caterpillar.

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Holly LlewellynRegistration Now Open for Design Chicago: Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3, 2019
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CHICAGO VIP LUXURY GALA TICKETS ON SALE NOW

CHICAGO VIP LUXURY GALA TICKETS ON SALE NOW

Join industry leaders at the signature event during Design Chicago,

the Midwest’s largest residential design conference

CHICAGO, IL (September 4, 2019) – Do you have your tickets? A who’s who of the design industry will come together on the evening of Thursday, October 3, 2019 (5:30-8:00PM), at the historic Merchandise Mart (theMART) for the eleventh annual Chicago VIP Luxury Gala, a celebratory evening honoring the Midwest’s best in architecture, interior design and residential construction. The Chicago VIP Luxury Gala is the signature event of Design Chicago, the Midwest’s largest, most immersive residential design conference, hosted by The Design Center at the Merchandise Mart and LuxeHome.

Tickets are now on sale to attend this year’s Gala.

With more than 800 attendees expected to attend the event, Gala organizers are encouraging prospective attendees to purchase their tickets now before they sell out at www.designchicagoevent.com. Tickets are $100/person.

“Each year, the Chicago VIP Luxury Gala draws the top trade professionals, bringing together the best in the region,” said Susan McCullough, Senior Vice President at theMART. “Special thanks to the Gala’s host committee, as well as its sponsors, for elevating this evening to a must-attend event.”

Welcoming this year’s Gala attendees is a host committee comprised of more than 90 of the design industry’s movers and shakers – representing top luxury building, renovation and interior design brands, interior designer, architectural and building and development firms from greater Chicago and around the globe.

Also, the 2019 inductees into the Merchandise Mart Hall of Fame will be honored at the Gala:

  • Lifetime Achievement: Christopher Peacock, Founder & CEO, Christopher Peacock
  • Architect: Kathryn Quinn, AIA, Principal, Kathryn Quinn Architects, Ltd.
  • Interior Designer: Gary Lee, Founder & President, Gary Lee Partners
  • Builder: Bulley & Andrews

The 2019 Chicago VIP Luxury Gala is generously sponsored by exclusive Media Sponsor, Luxe Interiors + Design; Platinum Sponsors, Gaggenau, Thermador and Bosch; Gold Sponsors, Broome + Greene, Sherwin-Williams and Vicostone; and Silver Sponsors, House of Rohl and GABBY.

For more information on the Chicago VIP Luxury Gala or Design Chicago, visit www.designchicagoevent.com. Over the course of two days (Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3, 2019), Design Chicago will showcase over 175 featured presentations, CEU programs, open houses and product debuts, along with newly opened showrooms ready to be explored, as well as 16 strategic media partners and more than a dozen well-respected editors.

About the Design Center at The Merchandise Mart (theMART)

The Design Center, located in Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart, is home to four floors constituting the world’s largest and finest design center. As a leader in the $65 billion residential home furnishings market, the Design Center offers the largest presentation of high-end, customizable, residential and outdoor home furnishings worldwide, all under one roof. Encompassing 750,000 square feet, boasting more than 125 showrooms and featuring more than 2,500 product lines, it is the ultimate resource for designers and design enthusiasts of luxury furniture, fabrics, floor coverings, wall coverings, lighting and much more. For more information, visit designcenter.com. Visit Design Center on Facebook and Instagram.

About LuxeHome® 

LuxeHome is the world’s largest collection of premier boutiques for home building and renovation located on the first floor of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. With more than 125,000 square feet of showroom space featured in over 45 boutiques, LuxeHome is host to the finest products for home building and renovation from the most recognized and respected manufacturers worldwide.

LuxeHome offers discerning homeowners and trade professionals one-stop shopping convenience with access to the finest kitchen, bath, tile, lighting, cabinetry, appliances, countertops and much more. LuxeHome displays the widest selection of products to suit all upscale design styles, from modern European to classic American to traditional English. In addition to the extensive lineup of premier brands, each boutique offers knowledgeable designers who are available to assist with all phases of each design project. LuxeHome’s boutiques are open for shopping Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit luxehome.com. Follow LuxeHome on Facebook, Houzz, Instagram or Twitter.

About theMART

theMART (formerly The Merchandise Mart), located in the center of the sought-after River North submarket, is interwoven into the fabric of Chicago as an innovator in business, technology, culture, art, media and more. As the largest privately held commercial building in the United States, it is one of the world’s leading commercial buildings, wholesale design centers and the preeminent international business location in Chicago. Encompassing 4.2 million gross square feet, theMART spans two city blocks, rises 25 stories, and is visited by an average of 30,000 people each business day and nearly 10 million people annually. Offering continuous innovation and creativity from leading manufacturers and design forward showrooms, theMART serves as the home to Chicago’s most creative and technologically innovative companies including Motorola Mobility, 1871, Yelp, PayPal and MATTER, as well as Fortune 500 companies ConAgra, Allstate, Kellogg, Beam Suntory, Grainger and Caterpillar.

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