One South Dearborn was designed to make an architectural statement on the crowded Chicago skyline. With 42 floors, five levels of parking and a vast plaza hardscape, the development brought a modern-day presence to the historical city. “All about light” was the guiding principle to the design and what made the property both highly unique and attractive.

Forcade was brought to the project to design an environmental graphics package for the entire complex that complemented the distinctive design of the building. We worked closely with the developer, architect and major anchor tenant to translate the vision for the development into a one-of-a-kind environmental experience.

Bringing in the light

To bring “all about light” to life in the building’s signage and wayfinding, we created a palette of beautiful translucent materials. Large radiant exterior signage was designed to be as unique as the building itself, making an impactful statement as you approach and enter the property. Once inside, the feeling of illumination continued throughout all 1 million square feet of the development, where we brought welcome airiness even within the depths of building, from wayfinding at elevator lobbies to tenant identification at each office entrance.

Stunning yet practical

While our signage package was visually striking and highly custom to the architect’s vision and building branding, we built a high level of practicality into the design. Of the more than 600 signage and wayfinding elements throughout the property, many will require continuous adaptation as various tenants come and go over time. We accomplished this balance between uniqueness and usefulness by layering easy-to-change, yet still light-reflective and illuminative material within more permanent translucent elements that seamlessly integrated into the architecture around them.

Maintaining the magnificence

To ensure all future retail and tenant identification mirrored the “all about light” vision for the property and adhered to the concept of the building branding, we created a simple set of guidelines for the developer to use in lease negotiations and signage implementation. It’s a too-often-overlooked step in an environmental graphics package that we find important to maintain the initial vision and future vitality of the property’s we work on.

A seamless experience

One South Dearborn was built to make a statement on Chicago’s skyline. Forcade’s role was to bring that striking story told from afar into the experience people had in direct proximity to and within the building. The result was a seamless transition of awe and illumination whether you’re blocks away from the building or deep within the property.


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