150 North Michigan Avenue, with its diamond-shaped top, is one of the most recognizable skyscrapers along the Chicago skyline. Sitting at the corner of North Michigan Avenue and East Randolph Street, the building benefits from an adjacent relationship to Millennium Park and many of Chicago’s most important cultural assets including the Art Institute, the Pritzker Pavilion, the Cultural Center, Cloud Gate (the “Bean”), The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and many others. Its specific location along Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue is acknowledged as one of the busiest pedestrian corridors in the world. The relationship to the cultural context and distinct visibility is the genesis for our approach to repositioning this building through fostering a strong visual connection between the building’s lobby with
the park and the other surrounding context as well as engaging the foot traffic outside.

The east-facing lobby suffered from a low sun angle glare during the winter months so the exterior glazing was darkened with a light blocking film, making the interior space invisible from Michigan Avenue. We removed this film, widened and motorized the entry doors in an effort to make the lobby visually and physically more inviting. The intermittent glare issue is resolved with motorized shades that retract into the ceiling when they are not needed so
that the lobby often feels like an extension of Michigan Avenue. A new exterior sculptural monument sign subtly
orients sidewalk pedestrians to this specific building given that its iconic stature is hidden at the street level prior to renovation.

The lobby renovation strategy is twofold. First, replacing all the cold, dark, shiny surfaces that recede from view with warm, muted, natural materials is an essential component to visually projecting the lobby closer to the street.

Elegant off-white engineered stone pavers on the floor, vein-cut Italian travertine panels on the walls, contrasted by rich Makore wood in the elevator lobbies provide a warm, inviting backdrop for the space and new furniture.  Replacing the old concierge desk with a new, modernized one, clad in the same travertine as the walls, extends the visual coherence within the lobby. The final touch is upgrading the lighting to best highlight and enhance the new finishes and furnishings, making the lobby’s visual reach more pronounced from further away. The public space is transformed by removing an escalator to the lower level and replacing with a new lobby space. Creamy light tan- colored leather couches, accented with vibrant, blue cloth upholstered chairs punctuate the space, creating a comfortable new seating lounge area for tenants and visitors.

The lobby materials, lighting, and reorganization are all designed as a backdrop for the second half of our strategy. The many striking artworks in the adjacent Millennium Park serve as an invitation to create a powerful fusion with the cultural fabric of the city through the addition of large-scaled custom artworks that transform the lobby into a gallery space. We designed four distinct artworks entitled “Seasons,” each reflecting the seasonal colors and textures of Millennium Park. Each large-scaled work is constructed of layered pieces of felt, creating a richly textured effect with
subtle three-dimensional depth. These artworks not only increase the intimacy of the lobby by dampening the
acoustics, but also create a colorful and vibrant personality and sense of place that extends the building’s presence
into its surroundings.