Solutions for Solutia, Chicago
Lisa Skolnik -- Interior Design, 1/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
Ultron carpet fiber and Vanceva Design, a petroleum-based inner layer for glass, are Solutia's means to help others achieve their ends. In revamping the Solutia showroom in Chicago's Merchandise Mart, architecture firm RTKL Associates used those very same products to realize the company's own goals: promoting its name more aggressively while spotlighting the versatility and capabilities of the two best-selling brands. The fact that those brands happen to be materials, instead of end products, made the job that much tougher. Says RTKL associate vice president Rod Vickroy, project manager, "It was a matter of showing, all in one space, what you could do with the products."
The entry cleverly combines them. Starting right at the lease line on the Mart's central corridor, a vividly striped carpet insert made of Ultron fiber presents a seductive path—past the set-back glass facade and deep into the showroom—while highlighting Ultron's tremendous color range. The facade itself is dramatic and technically savvy, with Vanceva Design sandwiched between glass layers to achieve an arresting glow surrounding a clear cutout for the Solutia logo.
The interior of the 2,500-square-foot showroom displays the two products in similarly engaging ways. Ultron fiber appears in carpet made by various manufacturers. Columns are clad with backlit glass panels incorporating Vanceva Design. An interactive display tool, as stylish as it is substantive, features sliding glass panels that overlap to show how Vanceva Design can be layered to achieve myriad colors and patterns.
"We've realized our goals in a tangible way," says Vickroy. How so? Solutia claims that, despite a drastic shift in the business climate, showroom traffic has tripled when compared to a similar time period the previous year.