As one of the world’s largest strategic consulting firms, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) occupies numerous properties that serve a wide array of purposes. In Chicago, the company has both a corporate office and a standalone Advanced Capabilities Center. Wherever BCG has a presence in the world, they strive to provide an experience that’s in line with the function of the office and complements the unique culture of each specific location.
Over the years, BCG has commissioned Forcade to work on both of their Chicago locations. Our first partnership was designing the corporate interior signage and wayfinding for their main office and our next endeavor was creating a stunning environmental graphics package to bring a uniquely Chicago experience to their Advanced Capabilities Center.
The architectural detail in the BCG Chicago corporate office is spectacular. The texture of burled ash millwork and the openness of floor-to-ceiling glass create an elegant yet simple corporate interior environment. We created a signage and wayfinding package that not only complemented this elevated experience, but also added a sense of personal humanity to the architectural austerity.
We adorned all employee workspaces with a black and white photograph of the inhabitant, adding unique personality at every turn throughout the environment. The photos were framed in custom stainless steel to seamlessly integrate with the impressive architectural design features found throughout the space. To ensure the design maintained its integrity even as employees changed, we used printable, crack-and-peel magnetic paper that BCG could create on their own office printer.
We thoughtfully designed other areas of the corporate interior to unite with the existing environment as well. This included mirrored polished and etched signage inserted into the burled ash around the elevators, which was a feat of design and engineering to integrate with the existing millwork while meeting stringent elevator restrictions. Even the signage for waste and recycling were carefully crafted to match the environment around them. Raised stainless steel icons without wording was a simple yet elegant touch to provide instructions without adding visual clutter to the beautiful surroundings.
Our work on the Advanced Capabilities Center called for a completely different aesthetic than the corporate office. This center was a hub for technology, an important space for employee recruitment and retention and often hosted visitors from other BCG offices around the world. It was a relatively generic-looking, single floorspace, but we found its numerous long walls an inviting canvas to bring a large statement into the small space.
Filling these walls with lavishly sized environmental graphics featuring Chicago landmarks brought a newfound sense of energy to the formerly bland office and enthusiastically introduced visitors to the vibrancy of the city. Some of these branding graphics were as long as 48 feet, others wrapped around corners and a few were contiguous even across bisecting hallways. All thoughtfully embraced the dot pattern that was part of the existing architecture, making the graphics feel purpose-built into the space.
It was a bold, lively and exciting environmental graphics package, which was exactly the experience the Advanced Capabilities Center wanted to create for its employees and visitors.
Our relationship with BCG has spanned multiple years and locations. These two projects provide a glimpse into how Forcade works with clients, developing a custom design aesthetic based on the individual needs and goals of each project, never taking a cookie cutter approach.