Design Center at theMART Presents Product Debuts from Showrooms

Featured in Conjunction with NeoConnect, June 2020

CHICAGO (June 4, 2020) – Design Center at theMART is pleased to present dozens of fresh collections and products, being promoted by showrooms as part of NeoConnect, the dynamic digital hub launched on neocon.com.

Explore the latest product introductions and stay on the pulse of innovative design trends, courtesy of Design Center showrooms:

Baker Furniture (6-187)

The Luxe Collection for Baker is an authentic, fashion-forward assortment imbued with an eclectic mix of 1970’s modern. Infused with unique jewelry-like silhouettes and informed by an era of icons such as Yves Saint Laurent, Halston and Warhol, the collection represents a ready-to-wear approach to attainable luxury. In this collection, bold sculptural profiles pair effortlessly with modern forms, incorporating semi-precious materials that showcase Baker’s attention to detail. Clean, casual and comfortable, the Luxe Collection captures the essence of today’s trend-savvy lifestyles.

The new Barbara Barry Collection is inspired by Hawaiian and Scandinavian design sensibilities, celebrating the spirit of casual luxury. The color palettes, shapes and textures take cues from the harmony and calmness of nature. Quartered figured walnut plays a large role in the materiality story, and new finishes are introduced to bring in a fresh, neutral tones, including Mica, Coconut, Almond, Mercury, Flint, Silverlake and Dusty Amethyst.

From Baker’s origins as a humble cabinet shop in 1890 to the glamour of today’s global showroom openings, glittering Hollywood events and collaborations with world-renowned interior designers, Baker’s story is one that’s vital and evolving. Baker continues to set the standard for using the best methods for each piece. Quality at the core assures a form and feel that can only result from the highest standard of craftsmanship. The new additions to the Baker Originals Collections comprise 27 in-house-designed additions. The new introductions were created in classic forms, using unique materials such as bronze, Carrara marble, eggshell, eel skin, Murano glass and acrylic.

From left to right: Luxe Collection; Barbara Barry Collection; Baker Originals Collections

Bradley (6-157)

(From left to right: Saddle Los Triple Bench, available in 2 – 4 seat sizes; Double Bolster Dining Bobby Chair, also available in bar and counter height; Curved Counter Nelly Stool, available in counter height and bar height)

Forward Space : Studio (614)

West Elm Work Belle is a modular sectional that boasts beauty and brawn. Inspired by deco-era design and expertly tailored, its seat and wide channeled back stands up to commercial wear and tear. Better yet: it’s totally modular, able to adapt to the layout of your space. Designed by West Elm. Made by Steelcase.

Hardworking materials lend West Elm Work Greenpoint a workshop-crafted feel. Clean lines and fresh finishes reinvent the private office for a vibe that’s sleek, not stuffy. Named after a neighborhood near West Elm’s Brooklyn-based headquarters, Greenpoint Private Office offers a contemporary take on the private office with its distinct visual language and fresh materiality options.

Created in collaboration with UK-based designer James Harrison, this modern Wing Chair features a high back and extra-large winged sides to provide privacy in the workplace.

(From left to right: West Elm Work Belle, West Elm Work Greenpoint, West Elm Work chair “James Harrison”)

Innovations in Wallcoverings (6-130)

Embrace achingly cool innovation with Boa, a novel cork wallcovering with a raised metallic snakeskin print. Inventive application of a material typically used in the high-end fashion industry, elevates natural texture and brings a chic animalesque surface to walls.

Empress uses iridescent foil and a 3D raised-surface printing technique to create a captivating motif. Layering metallic and matte finishes with a subtle stripe, Empress deconstructs a classic floral with modern flair.

Inspired by tin ceilings permeating SoHo architecture, Innovations’ NY design studio created Blossom. An elegant non-woven, Blossom spotlights rich embossing and deep metallic variations for a masculine twist on a romantic floral.

(From left to right: Boa, Empress and Blossom from Innovations in Wallcoverings)

Kravet (6-121)

The newest fabric collection from Kravet Contract, Ardsley Court, is designed to perform in the toughest commercial environments. Each yarn is fully encapsulated to resist moisture, stains, bacteria and odor. From healthcare to senior living, or hotels and restaurants this collection is ideal for all interiors where performance is paramount. Ardsley Court utilizes Crypton technology, which makes it extremely easy to clean but can also extend the life of furnishings up to seven years. This durable collection of fabric offers transitional designs in plush chenille and textures with fresh colors to enhance interiors in a variety of scale. Made in the USA and 99% Fluorine-free, Ardsley Court is also in our exclusive Guaranteed in Stock program to meet time sensitive deadlines.

Kravet Contract introduces a new book of durable fabrics, Inside Out Performance Fabrics®. These fabrics were designed with modern living in mind, combining luxury and performance. Think poolside, spa, restaurants, lobby areas, guest rooms as well as any high UV areas. Beautiful and soft body cloths ranging from chenille, to linen-looks, herringbone, boucle and velvet – all exceeding ACT standards. In a crowded and confusing performance fabric market, Kravet Contract has made it simple by launching the first All-In-One Performance fabric that provides your customers “go-to” performance fabrics that will satisfy every need – no matter the end use or the performance required.

Heyward Textures, a new collection of upholstery fabric, emulates the look and feel of linen. These versatile fabrics are designed to fit an array of interiors and are perfect as a foundation in any setting. Three sophisticated textures including a subtle chenille, linen-like slub and a modern classic weave are offered in a natural and contemporary color palette. Hues range from neutrals and grays to minty greens, steel blues, citrine and lilac. These durable textures are widely applicable to hospitality and commercial projects. Exceeding 50,000 double rubs, Heyward Textures also has the added benefit of Kravet Armor performance finish for maximum cleanability and stain resistance.

(From left to right Ardsley Court, Inside Out Performance Fabrics, Heyward Textures)

Samuel & Sons Passementerie (6-168)

Captivated by the tranquility of Bali’s pearlescent white sands with crystal clear water, terraced rice fields, rainforests and mystical valleys, the Samuel & Sons Design studio created Bali, a collection of trimmings influenced by the aesthetic of the lush natural environment.

This Celestial collection of embroidered, laser-cut, hand-beaded and applique borders emerged from the artistic collaboration of the Samuel & Sons Design Studio and a group of distinctive artisans. Intrigued by the landscape of the night sky, the Samuel & Sons Design Studio set out to explore unique materials reminiscent of otherworldly luminosity.

Tiverton is a classical collection of passementerie composed of a hand-tied pear bead fringe with a scalloped header, delicate corded gimp, Twill Gimp and Border as well as two crepe cords. These trimmings are complemented by a tri-color fan edge and pinstriped gimp. A coordinating Pleated Border with picot edges completes this ensemble.

(From left to right: Bali, Celestial and Tiverton collections)

Scalamandré (6-132)

Whether your preference is beachside or poolside, or possibly gazing out from the loggia, the Old World Weavers Elements VI collection decorates it all. Along with statement patterns, Scalamandré offers a wide range of small scaled contemporary designs for broad use in seating. Named for the beautiful white and black sanded beaches on Tenerife and Costa Rica, the serenity of these blue oceans calls us back.

Designed to imitate the appearance of a traditional grasscloth wallcovering, these styles provide the charming aesthetic one seeks from grasscloth but without the delicacy. Grassland Vinyl Wallcoverings provide easy maintenance and exceed the Type II contract specifications, making them ideal for high traffic contract and hospitality areas in need of a durable product that adds character and warmth.

Lelièvre, a family-owned company based in Paris, offers professional interior designers and architects a vast array of the finest quality textiles and wallcoverings, Lelièvre Contract 24 Collection features bold color and innovative looks, from classical to contemporary, including collaborations with the fashion world.

(From left to right: Old World Weavers Element VI Collection, Grassland Vinyl Wallcoverings and Lelièvre Contract 24 Collection)

Zoffany (6-117A)

Anthology introduces Volume 07, an evocative collection of ten wide-width wallcoverings that further explore man’s interaction with the natural world, unearthing abundant inspiration and endless possibilities.

Antiquary is a stunning portfolio of 10 prints, weaves and embroideries. Zoffany’s AW19 launch is a feast for the senses, a designer’s companion of vivacious, adaptable fabrics and wallpapers inspired by art, history and travel.

In this latest collection, Harlequin adds three new books to its successful Momentum range, with the launch of Momentum 6 Wallpapers, Momentum 11 Upholstery and Momentum 12 Drapes, where architectural elements and the subtleties of nature entwine with inspiration from leading hotels of the world.

Inspired by the Silk Road, Sanderson Caspian opens up a world of intriguing and captivating delights with its exotic fusion of versatile designs. Featuring three beautiful embroideries, nine authentic prints, eight dramatic weaves and 13 striking wallpapers, Caspian’s dynamic color palette is influenced by natural dye colors such as Madder, Indigo, Turmeric and Saffron running through to the subtle tones of Linen, Ivory and Charcoal.

(From left to right: Anthology, Antiquary, Harlequin and Sanderson Caspian collections)

Artisan Electronics Group (1486)

From left to right: Custom home cinema designs; Design, Build and Install complete custom home cinema rooms, from Drawings to Dreams come true)

Ebanista (1457)

Hand-carved Lemaire lounge chair with turned legs and reeded base in antiqued and distressed 22K gold finish with 12K Borghese detailing. Antiqued gold nail head trim along inside back. Loose seat cushion with self-welt. Includes one standard back pillow 19″W x 14″H with knife-edge and self-welt.

Tufted tight-back Marchese Sofa. Single bench seat cushion with decorative cording. Hand-carved reeded base and six decorative legs in antiqued and distressed 22K gold finish. Includes four standard 22″W x 22″H throw pillows with knife-edge and decorative cording.

Wrought iron Guerlain cocktail table. Shown in antiqued 22K gold finish with segmented antiqued mirror top.

(From left to right: Lemaire Chair, Marchese Sofa and Guerlain cocktail table)

HOLLY HUNT (1428)

The Imola Cocktail Table is a dynamic and versatile living room center piece conceived to be transformed into many custom versions from rectangular to asymmetrical. The exquisitely finished lower and upper tops are separated by elegant, fluid forms finished with deep grain that invites the touch.

The iconic outdoor Omura Lounge Chair has been reinterpreted for the indoors in a flawless, polished stainless-steel frame. Generous cushions are suspended using beautiful saddle leather straps available in 2 colors.

A sculptural, organic expression of ever-changing shapes. The biomorphic sibling of the larger, more geometric Rogue Side Table, Ronin is made from cast bronze. In its interior, this bronze has been rubbed to reveal the light-catching properties of its material; the contrasting exterior features a deep, rich patina. Taken together, these elements offer a unique and actively shaped design for an entertaining or living space.

(From left to right: Imola Cocktail Table, Omura Lounge Chair and Ronin Drink Table)

Scott Group Studio (14-129)

From left to right: Karri – From the Empire Collection by Hokanson; Agata with silk – From the Escala Collection by Scott Group Custom Carpets; and Cambrian – From the Basho Collection by Scott Group Custom Carpets)

Wired Custom Lighting (14-132)

The Verga lighting pendant has a contemporary aesthetic adding a luxe sophistication yet industrial atmosphere to any interior. Refined Industrial chandeliers are dominating current interior design trends.

The Nash Pendant features mahogany tone shapes in a geometric sculpture bringing class and richness to the interior design composition.

Dazzling lights like the rays of the sun. This handmade chandelier called Fuoco blends luxe sophistication and maximalism fundamentals for an illuminating fixture that complements both contemporary and traditional decor. Glass with class!

(From left to right: Verga, Nash and Fuoco lighting)

Homecrest Outdoor Living (1518)

Infiniti is designed for maximum ease of use in any space, at work or at play. It is generously proportioned and simply designed, making it adaptable to all kinds of environments, space designs and functional requirements. It features Homecrest’s exclusive Sensation fabric, an elastomeric stretch sling that provides a luxurious sit, exceptional shape retention and surface memory, without any of the maintenance that comes with a traditional cushion. Together with the intelligently designed Infiniti tables that can function as end or corner units, Infiniti offers flexibility and the incomparable quality of Homecrest’s American manufacturing.

The Mid-Century era was a great time to be in furniture design. Decades later, this iconic style is experiencing a renaissance, but with all of the benefits of modern technology. The Revive Air collection uses our unique Sensation sling material, which offers incredible stretch, memory and UV resistance, providing the look and feel of a cushion, with none of the maintenance.

The clean lines of the Allure collection, met with the strength and durability of powder-coated aluminum, provide premium comfort. Allure features a field-replaceable double layer sling with no welting, and carries an unprecedented sling warranty. The quick-drying café chairs are available with or without arms.

(From left to right: Infiniti, Revive Air and Allure collections)

Kannoa (1598)

The Santorini, a collection of outdoor furniture imbued with handmade craftsmanship and a mid-century feel. Chair and table bases are made from sustainably-harvested teak wood. The seats are injection molded seats upholstered in Spradling Silvertex vinyl which has an antimicrobial, UV resistant and anti-abrasion patented formula. The chairs are offered in 8 different colors and the tables have the option of having a white or graphite HPL tops. (Shown, Dining Chair and Table)

For Kannoa, Luis Alejandro Blasini has designed an outdoor club chair perfect for garden or poolside soirees. With a handsome profile and an urban tropical look, the Nest chair features sturdy construction of all-weather wicker wrapped around a lightweight aluminum frame. The Nest is offered in a graphite finish topped with plush cushions covered in all-weather acrylic Sunbrella fabrics. Nest or entertain al fresco in subtle style.

(From left to right: Santorini Dining Chair and Table and Nest Chair)

Kellter USA (1544)

The Timber lounge is one of our most versatile sets in our new lounge series. There are many different elements so you can combine the pieces to fit your family and lifestyle. Create a corner set using the open benches, extension and corner pieces, or create a cozy patio set using the 2.5-seater bench in combination with the arm chairs. The ceramic table is height-adjustable, and with one hand can quickly transition from being used as a lounge table to a fully functional dining table for outdoor dining.

The Paros Lounge set is inspired by minimalist European designs, with a small footprint while boasting a large presence in your outdoor living room. The durable, sleek, powder coated aluminum frame, and weatherproof seats allow this set to be left outside for enjoyment year-round. Featuring non-slip cushions, allowing you to freely relax in any position as you unwind at the end of the day. This modern set is a valuable addition to virtually any space, and provides the ideal environment for spending time with friends or family.

If you are searching for a statement piece that will draw everyone to your outdoor living space, then look no further. The Fitz Roy lounge set in teak is a beautiful warm blend of all natural, grade A, Indonesian certified robust teak wood on a strong lava aluminum frame combined with soft luxurious cushions. The finesse of the calm color palette of this lounge set fits in perfectly anywhere, while the modular seating and side tables provides you with space to enjoy your refreshments with friends and family. The Jones’s will now be trying to keep up with you.

(From left to right: Timber, Paros and Fitz Ray lounge sets)

OW Lee (1572)

The sleek modern lines of the Studio collection are inspired by mid-century and contemporary design. This all-aluminum group makes Studio perfect for coastal locations and is a good fit in any contemporary space. Included in this collection is the new proprietary Flex Comfort™ that allows for the comfort of cushioned seating with sling-like ease of maintenance. The Studio collection features a dining arm chair, swivel rocker dining arm chair, lounge chair, swivel rocker lounge chair, ottoman, chaise lounge, and left/right/center/corner chaise sectional pieces.

The simple modern lines of the Lennox collection are inspired by designs of the 50’s and 60’s that made functionality a priority. Most pieces in this group are designed to efficiently stack for easy storage. With a spirit of mid-Century design and updated materials such as galvanized steel tube and expanded metal mesh, Lennox embodies the mantra of form follows function.

The Aris collection was inspired by Mid-Century design and architecture, where clean lines and geometric shapes were key. Aris’ clean look is met by the prevalent Mid-Century design principle of ergonomics. The Aris collection includes dining, deep seating and lounge pieces in twelve frame finishes and over 75 stock Sunbrella fabrics.

(From left to right: Studio, Lennox and Aris collections)

Pavilion Furniture (1519A)

Inspired by the authentic nautical architecture of sailing, motor yachts and cruise lines central to the coastal resort culture of Miami, the Marina collection from PAVILION designed by Richard Frinier sets sail with comfortable FlexStrap seating surfaces interwoven by hand over a classically styled powder-coated aluminum framework. Embellished with clever arm wrap details crafted with colorful yacht cord or a Deckor wood-grain cap rail design instantly transporting the mindset of guests to drift and relax.

The Tides Collection is form and function brought to the outdoors. Inspired by the beauty of the ocean’s movement, the curvilinear lines and shapes of the chair convey the fluidity of the tides. The curved elements of the chair are spaced evenly and repeatedly throughout the piece evoking motion. Narrow extrusions closely aligned and gently bending to support the human form exude ergonomic comfort. The collection is constructed with an inner and outer frame that allows the chair, ottoman and tables to be specified with contrasting colors. Sunlight passes through the slats, creating intriguing shadows as the sun moves across the sky. The Tides Collection evokes nature’s movements and our effort to bend it to our will with unique design.

(From left to right: Marina and Tides collections)

POLYWOOD (15-105)

Designed for comfort and style, the EDGE Modular Deep Seating is scaled for a variety of outdoor living areas — from a spacious patio to an intimate balcony. The all-weather deep seating features plush pillow-back cushions as well as supportive seat cushions covered in high-performance outdoor fabric. The EDGE Collection is also available in outdoor dining.

Inspired by the popular 18th century design style, the Chippendale Collection showcases an exquisite blend of intricate details and fine lines. The Chippendale Collection includes outdoor dining, benches, and gliders.

The modern appearance of the Euro Collection bears the essence of cool sophistication, and the welcoming warmth and comfort you expect from POLYWOOD outdoor furniture. The Euro Collection includes outdoor dining and chaise lounges.

(From left to right: EDGE, Chippendale and Euro collections)

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.

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Holly LlewellynDesign Center at theMART Presents Product Debuts from Showrooms
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Design Center at theMART Presents Programming during NeoConnect

Resources, programming and events at the heart of NeoConnect during June 2020

CHICAGO (June 1, 2020) – Design Center at theMART is pleased to present four compelling CEU programs during NeoConnect, a month-long celebration of the commercial design industry, featuring a series of online resources, programming and events in June 2020. The four featured programs offer an informed view on diverse topics important to designers, architects and industry professionals seeking insight on

  • Lighting trends driving wellness
  • Best practices on making sustainability decisions
  • Color forecasts and the impacts of today’s current events
  • The continuing evolution of resimercial design

NeoConnect, the dynamic digital hub launched on neocon.com; registration for daily CEU webinars and virtual events is open now. Programming exclusively presented by Design Center includes:

New Lighting Design Trends in Wellness and Hospitality
Wednesday, June 10
4:00pm–5:00pm EDT
Jose Antonio Gonzalez, AIA, principal, Jagar Architecture and Design, Los Angeles, CA
[DC010] [INTERMEDIATE] [HOSP] [LT] [WE]

This session should appeal to both architects and designers, particularly those interested in lighting and spaces. See the lighting design process with the eyes of a hospitality design architect. In fact, new design trends are utilizing lighting as a tool to create ambiance in built experiential environments and is key in supporting new brands and concepts. In the search of attractive, functional and exciting built environments, architects and designers rely on the versatility and quality of current lighting technologies to emphasize the elements of new trends on retail, wellness and hospitality projects. The attendee will also understand the power of lighting design in brand and ambiance creation. Ultimately, attendees will learn a new approach to the use of lighting design with natural light in harmony for hospitality projects.

How to Talk to Your Clients about Going Green
Wednesday, June 17
4:00pm–5:00pm EDT
Joan Kaufman, FASID, LEED AP, director of design and project management, Interior Planning & Design, Inc., Naperville, IL
[DC017] [INTERMEDIATE] [GR] [RES]

As clients increasingly want to go green, we designers need a strategy to talk with them about how best to do so. Join this program as it employ evidence-based design, which reveals how materials and products used in interior spaces directly impact health/wellness of people, pets and the environment. Learn to compellingly inform clients with accuracy. Also, learn how to navigate the latest industry resources and gain the knowledge, tools and foresight to make sustainable, healthy and informed decisions for building occupants, as well as to provide documentation for project accreditation submissions. Finally, discover how to become a client’s most trusted advocate by enhancing well-being through the use of healthy, sustainable materials.

2021+ CMG World Color Forecast™ – From Beyond the Telescope to Under the Microscope
Wednesday, June 24
4:00pm–5:00pm EDT
Peggy Van Allen, designer and color anthropologist, Color Marketing Group, Cary, IL • Montaha Hidefi, MIB, PWAC, CMG, creative color consultant, Guelph, ON Canada
[DC024] [INTERMEDIATE] [PD]

This webinar will provide an in-depth analysis of macro drivers influencing the 2021+ CMG World Color Forecast™ including an insight of the latest developments affecting changing society’s color consumption. CMG’s color design professionals will examine their global color forecasts microscopically to reveal the societal and cultural forces impacting 2021+ color directions. Designers and product development teams know the power of CMG’s 64 color, multi-industry World Color Forecasts to their product’s success and are challenged to interpret the World Color Forecast from within new chaotic and uncertain world. The chaos of the evolving “new normal” will impact how color directions are applied, mature, and evolve. CMG Key Color stories from North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific will be in the spotlight during the presentation with the aim of supporting product design decisions for 2021 and beyond.

No Place Like Home: Catalyzing Creativity with Resimercial Design at Home and Work
Tuesday, June 30
4:00pm–5:00pm EDT
Donald Rattner, AIA, principal, Donald M. Rattner, Architect, New York, NY
[DC030] [BASIC] [OF] [RES]

The migration of work to home during the COVID pandemic has accelerated the longstanding erosion of boundaries between workplace and domestic environments. One consequence of this erosion has been the emergence of resimercial design. A synthesis of commercial and residential elements, resimercial design is purported to boost occupant creativity and innovation, among other benefits. But what is the evidence for this claim? Have specific characteristics of home environments been proven to enhance idea flow? And is resimercial design applicable to home-based workspaces as well? This presentation explores the science behind the new philosophy and how building professionals can advocate for a resimercial approach on an informed rather than intuitive basis. Topics explored include furnishings, lighting, artwork, materials, planning, and programming.

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
717-278-9338

Holly LlewellynDesign Center at theMART Presents Programming during NeoConnect
read more

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…
read more

#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