theMART is pleased to announce big plans for the iconic national headquarters for the best in design. It all begins with the launch of Design at theMART programming featuring engaging events, training sessions, and activations created to inspire and educate residential and commercial design professionals year-round. This program comes as a number of new design brands establish showrooms and existing tenants invest in expanded spaces. It also coincides with the kick-off of theMART 2.0, a renovation project designed by Gensler Chicago.
For Design at theMART programming, the internal team is partnering with showroom tenants, media and design organizations to develop an ongoing series of onsite events that will celebrate and showcase the building’s design resources and draw a wide cross-section of commercial and residential designers and architects and end-users. The action will take place across 1.2 million square feet of design showrooms at theMART including 3 floors of commercial showrooms, an emporium for custom home furnishings and interior design offerings as well as the world’s largest collection of premier kitchens, bath and building product boutiques under one roof. Programming started on February 24, in conjunction with Black History Month with a panel discussion co-hosted by Sandow Media Group called, “Building What Matters: What Justice, Equity & Inclusion Look Like in Practice,” and continues March 21-22, with i+s’s Design Connections event series. Events are being planned throughout the year across a spectrum of timely topics.
These recent developments underscore theMART’s position as a destination for business for those in the design world. Over the last 24 months, during a very complicated time caused by the COVID pandemic, theMART has leased more than 350,000 square feet of showroom space across all industry verticals with such design heavyweights as Steelcase, Holly Hunt, and OFS renewing their commitments to theMART, and solutions oriented Clarus and Enwork expanding their footprints. “The building has been an integral partner in brands’ business strategies,” comments Byron Morton, vice president of leasing for theMART. “From Clarus’ long term lease renewal in a new space three times its original size to Enwork’s expansion into an adjacent showroom, we engage with our tenants to effectively enable and support their growth and ensure long term success.”
“This is an important year of growth for Clarus,” comments Vera Fischer, SVP marketing, PLM & Strategic business development for Clarus. “As the leader in glass board manufacturing in the U.S. we have a large breadth of solutions to showcase. Our new, expanded showroom at 10-102 in theMART will allow us to display three times more depth and range of products and will give us the space we need to meet and engage with the design community.”
The home furnishings sector of the building remains an integral part of the building’s ecosystem. Wallcoverings leader Phillip Jeffries established a location in theMART in the fall of 2021 and last month Texas-based Wells Abbott soft-launched its space, which will officially launch in June and serve as its Chicago base as it continues to expand its network of multi-line showrooms. Later in 2022, Middlebly Residential Showcase Gallery, which is anchored by Viking Range and La Cornue, will relocate to a larger space.
“In 2021, we celebrated our 45th year in business with the opening of new showrooms in four design centers,” comments Jeffrey Bershad, CEO of Phillip Jeffries. “When it came to opening in Chicago, we wanted to be on the 6th floor of theMART as it’s the designer destination for textiles and wallcoverings.”
TheMART 2.0 renovations will feature improvements including tenant-only amenity lounges, conference rooms, and a fitness center, as well as streamlined entrances, an exclusive speakeasy bar in Marshall’s Landing, and a revamped front yard and plaza for visitors. Myron Maurer, COO of theMART comments, “With Gensler Chicago spearheading the expansive MART 2.0 renovation, tenants, exhibitors, and guests of theMART can look forward to updates and amenities that will enhance the user experience and reflect the design leadership that is represented by the partners and users of our landmark Art Deco building.”
New programming will complement the calendar of activations at theMART including the Design Center’s signature annual events, and the upcoming 2022 edition of NeoCon, June 13-15. Read for more information on theMART and its showrooms.