October 31, 2019

CannonDesign Secures Three AIA Chicago Awards

We are thrilled to share AIA Chicago recognized three of our projects with 2019 Design Excellence Awards. Our work with a confidential commercial client in Chicago received Special Recognition honors while Brunswick HQ earned a Citation of Merit and the Britannica HQ earned a Divine Detail Award.

The full list of winners and nominees can be seen online. Below are overviews of the three award-winning projects:

Confidential Private Office, Chicago
While the layout is at first glance straightforward, the detail and execution of it create a transporting experience. The office is at once one with the city and a tranquil oasis of calm. The organization’s founder amassed an impressive collection of art and an appreciation of Eastern design principles through extensive travel in Asia. That affinity helped shape this space that balances understated ambiance with moments of powerful beauty.

The office is as much a place for work as a place to welcome and entertain guests and luminaries. The team approached the design as a curation of a sense of journey and discovery. That begins in reception — a centuries-old tree, pruned with artistry, is juxtaposed against the wall of skyscrapers in the view beyond. A Henry Moore sculpture complements that form, while soft, comfortable furniture casts a welcoming feel.

Generous corridors lead to another striking view. A seated Buddha anchors the path, drawing guests toward the wintergarden. A dual layer of vertical hickory slats wrap the 24-foot-high space, creating a floating box that ends 10 inches above the floor. Japanese artist Ueno Masao created a 12-foot-tall bamboo sculpture that floats within the space.

Overall, the environment conveys subtle serenity and simple modernity, realized as a minimalistic experience and translated with refined craft. While the art is given focus and moments of reflection throughout, the context of the city — with panoramic vistas beyond the glass — brings the unique setting to life as a yin and yang of zen and the city.

Brunswick HQ Relocation
From its mid-19th century beginnings, Brunswick has been known for innovation. Finding themselves in a work environment that felt too traditional, leadership sought to use the headquarters relocation as an opportunity to once again announce Brunswick as visionary.

Brunswick’s products — from Lifetime Fitness exercise equipment to motorboats to their iconic billiards tables — are seemingly diverse but all are tied together by the common thread of activity. Our design promotes activity in its planning with a circulation that doubles as a walking track. An illuminated band guides employees along the walking path throughout the office, leading towards the hub of collaboration spaces surrounding the amphitheater stair — where the lines criss-cross to highlight the interactions within that space. That central stair is the practical transition between floors, further promoting healthy movement.

Details throughout the new headquarters refer to Brunswick’s history and products — the curved wall, reminiscent of a boat hull, and the use of materials found in their products such as wood, steel, felt and slate. For instance, the slate featured in the project comes from the same quarry as the slate for Brunswick’s billiard tables.

The new headquarters is designed to be the motor that sets things in motion — its people, conversations, new approaches to their business.

Britannica HQ Renovation

Britannica’s simple premise, a search for truth, is embodied by a simple detail. The results are rich and speak to a transition to the future for the organization. A single module, a bookcase with a universal plate mount, is mass-produced and tessellated to create unique, modern space. Britannica’s distinguished history – and a reminder of its purpose, scholarly truth – is the book inside this module. The spaces created by the tessellation enable new working strategies, host digital content, and are the spirit of the data-lain future.

As part of a modernization into a more collaborative and contemporary work environment, we developed a new central hub for gathering, meeting and relaxing in the heart of Britannica’s new workplace. Combining library, flex work and cafe functions, we developed new spaces defined by the actual tomes of research that make up Britannica’s rich history. Looking back at the library proposals of the Enlightenment, we took our cues. Stacks of previous and historic volumes aggregate and array throughout. Shielding keg taps and sinks, creating nooks, and defining new spaces, the new library is the central space pumping knowledge into this new heart.

Developed to be easily deployable and equally economical, the bookcases are a repetitive single unit. Connected with a single splice plate and fastener pattern, the entire system builds, bends and tilts through the space. Integrated technology can deliver modern encyclopedic content, company messages or recreational media.