Home to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, this building underwent a dramatic transformation to bring it from a place known for trading futures to a dynamic, future-forward workplace for young professionals. To shed its dated reputation and express the energy and essence of this evolution, Forcade developed a striking “Building a Bolder Future” storyline. The story was told through a graphic experience that beautifully wove together what the property was known for and what was to come, creating excitement and anticipation for the future without abandoning the importance of the past.
We created a design statement as dramatic as the transformation of the building. It was forward thinking, artistic and diverse to capture the imagination and attention of the 24- to 30-year old demographic target. Rather than making mere development signage, we told the “Building a Bolder Future” story through a series of urban art installations.
The centerpiece was an awe-inspiring 180’ x 24’ initial announcement along the south branch of the Chicago River. The striking design aesthetic within this statement piece – and all other signage inside and outside the building – was inspired by the new architecture of the project. This provided an intriguing peek at what was to come and created a connected experience from the very beginning of the project to its completion.
While we elevated typical signage into an art experience, it wasn’t just for the sake of art. Every building wrap, wall art, floor graphic and marketing plan visual was designed to clearly communicate the rebranding of the building, provide information to the tenants and users about the changes taking place on site and create a pleasing experience as the construction complicated their everyday routine.
Making the entire 26-month construction period into account, we designed the graphics to be reusable throughout the different phases of the project. Several were efficiently repurposed as many as three times inside and outside of the building.
This requirement, in addition to the grand scale of the artwork, necessitated thoughtful material choices and resulted in never-been-done-before installation challenges. To help make sure the signage maintained its striking quality throughout the length of the entire project, we used high-resolution UV printing. And to withstand the infamous elements of Chicago, we perforated exterior banners with a 30% opening to relieve wind stress.
But most impressive was the creation of an innovative moveable system that ensured the signage didn’t impede the construction. Partnering with Harken, the world’s leading manufacturer of sailboat hardware, as well as Chicago sailing experts and riggers in California, we devised a first-of-its-kind Dyneema® rigging system that enabled the construction crew to easily move the graphics up and out of the way to get construction materials into the building.
Today, the artwork has been replaced with the new architecture. While the completed construction is an impressive and sweeping transformation story, it’s not the only story that’s made a lasting impact on the city of Chicago. Our “Building a Bolder Future” urban artwork design system set a completely new standard for developers to intrigue and inspire current and prospective tenants throughout a lengthy construction period.