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Sutherland Chicago

Merchandise Mart


The Sutherland showroom originally occupied one of the upper floors of the immense Merchandise Mart Building in Chicago, the main design center for the Chicago area and home to many showrooms. Due to a building directed change, the showroom needed to rapidly relocate to a lower floor. The lower ceiling heights, and large building ductwork presented many challenges.

As the design architect, we created a minimally elegant design in the 8,600 SF space that carefully coordinated not only the showroom mechanical systems, but some of the building infrastructure that supplied the rest of the floor.


The small amount of natural light entering through courtyard windows and the less than ideal view into the courtyard, led to a series of freestanding walls with a diffuse glass surround. Natural light illuminates the glass at times during the day, and lighting fixtures behind the wall supplements the glow. The glass also helps to conceal the view out into the courtyard lightwell.


Flush lighting fixture tracks, concealed emergency lighting, concealed sprinkler heads were specified to help overcome the low ceilings and keep the views to the furniture as focused as possible. The freestanding walls have knife-edged detailing and the circular ceiling coves have a similar detail as well.

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