Global developer Lendlease has built pioneering properties for clients throughout the world. Internationally, they’ve also made their mark with their own groundbreaking developments. But in the U.S., they hadn’t built their own property until Southbank, located in the South Loop of Chicago. Southbank was Lendlease’s opportunity to show new investors a prominent property that highlighted what they could do in the U.S..
Forcade was originally commissioned to set the stage for this development by making a statement piece at its entry. The impact of our exterior monument quickly turned into many more opportunities to help Southbank create a distinctive experience throughout the property.
Formed plate steel greets people as they enter Southbank’s main entrance. It’s more than a sign. It’s an impressive statement piece that serves as the first moment to remember on this beautiful property. The monument is reminiscent of Lendlease’s unique logo, highlighting movement and signifying forward thinking.
The dark exterior of the metal is accented with cut out letters that show the light interior color through them, providing a sense of depth and captivating visual interest. At night the letters are illuminated from the inside, further calling attention to the highly attractive entrance of an equally attractive property.
The finished monument is extremely elegant in its simplicity, but the design and installation were anything but simple. With just nine days for the build, we had to get creative. Using foam mockups on site allowed us to simply and quickly perfect the size and shape. Bending the steel proved to be more complicated, ultimately requiring an ingenious but unconventional method of using a tractor to bend the monument into its desired shape. Then we used a custom-designed harness system to precisely attach the monument to the building’s grade beam, saving time from pouring a foundation of its own.
The success of the entrance monument spurred Lendlease to work with us to continue the design experience throughout the interior of the property. This included a stunning sign installation behind the main reception desk. Tone-on-tone, dimensional letters reveal different points of view depending where visitors are within the space, providing a similar feeling of depth and visual interest as the exterior monument.
We even made a striking impact in the parking garage. Utilizing the Lendlease logo as inspiration, another nod to the exterior monument, we created abstract shapes and colors as indicators for each floor. This not only provides clear and memorable wayfinding; it also serves as the first impression to the overall property experience for visitors arriving by car.
The Southbank development is surrounded by a two-acre riverfront public park. To create a seamless experience between the property and this natural setting, we brought elements of the design aesthetic into the adjacent landscape.
Abstract-shaped, colorful destination markers that are inspired by Lendlease’s brand serve as wayfinding points for people entering the property through the park. The rolled-over, angled look of the signage has a sense of motion, which provides a pleasant and harmonious feel to the people strolling through the landscape.
Angular path lighting and vertical signage mix natural steel that blends into the environment with pops of color that draws attention to the necessary information being communicated. Everything is lit beautifully, much the initial monument project, offering a welcome experience day or night.
Even signs that communicate park rules are seamlessly blended into the landscape. The entire park-side package is designed to connect to the public spaces invisibly, so the visitor has a singular, enjoyable experience with the park and the property.
Our attention to every minute detail and connection to an overarching branded experience has helped put Lendlease on the map in the U.S. as a developer for investors to pay close attention to. What started with a singular exterior monument is now an entire design package that is a surprising and satisfying sculptural departure from the norm in urban signage and wayfinding.