737 North michigan
4500 SQUARE FEET
DESIGN PRINCIPAL AT
737 North Michigan Avenue is a prestigious mixed-use high-rise, long a fixture of Chicago’s “Miracle Mile.” Built in 1982, the building became the home of Neiman Marcus, several celebrity residents, and multiple international and professional commercial tenants. While situated in an enviable location, the building’s dated appearance and cold, dark material palette precipitated its loss of luster. Rents and occupancy declined as a result.
The lobby and exterior entry needed to be reinvented with a new design, materiality, and function, while also keeping the lobby open and fully operational. We laminated the interior with new materials on top of existing finishes in order to reduce construction time, noise, and disruption. This strategy enabled us to completely transform a bland office lobby into a highly prized public space using stone, wood, leather, frosted mirrored glass, and plaster. The subtle design palette of complex neutral colors and soft luster finishes helped anchor a new sculpted ceiling and reflected light to create a warm, soothing, and inviting environment for tenants and building visitors. We also introduced a new circulating art program featuring local artists and artisans showcasing the rich Chicago art community and giving the lobby an alter ego of a gallery.
We leveraged the brightness and visibility of the interior design with the exterior by providing a beautiful sidewalk experience. New granite paving and stone planters with lush seasonal plantings and a seat wall were added to encourage pedestrians to enjoy a short respite. To further reinforce the visibility of the main entry we introduced a bold, yet simple, canopy that borrowed finishes including stone, glass, and bronze from the interior lobby. The result was aesthetic continuity that drew people inside the building. We transformed a simple understated entrance into a pubic space now acknowledged as the main entry to this important building.
737 North Michigan is the merging of inside and outside. The simple exterior canopy draws interest from the outside, while the light-filled interior rewards curiosity with culturally rich artwork. New rents and occupancy increased by 30% immediately following the transformation and has held its value ever since.