The best clients bring more than a contract to the table. In this case, it was a trove of inspiration. Travels through Asia allowed the financial firm’s founder to acquire an extensive modern and contemporary art collection, not to mention a predilection for Eastern design principles. Alvisi Kirimoto partner Massimo Alvisi and CannonDesign principal Mark Hirons seized upon these sensibilities for the company’s 25,000-square-foot headquarters, an entire floor in a new Chicago skyscraper by Goettsch Partners.
While the two teams envisioned a Zen moment 32 stories above the clamor of the rapidly redeveloping West Loop neighborhood, make no mistake: Chicago remains the primary protagonist. “It is precisely the layout of the city, with its surprises, that we strove to project,” Alvisi states. Guests and staff stroll past strategically placed works like Tibetan artist Gonkar Gyatso’s resin Buddha, coated in stickers and scraps of paper, juxtaposed against the gleaming glass towers visible through floor-to-ceiling windows.
But the office’s coup de théâtre is what’s called the Winter Garden, a 960-square-foot multipurpose space enclosed by 24-foot-high slats of hickory. Suspended 10 inches above the floor, the slats are configured vertically, and in two offset rows, to manipulate light and shadow. Inside the floating volume, a 12-foot-high collision of swirling bamboo by sculptor Ueno Masao hovers above a custom conference table—its top lacquered a deep Japanese red.
Project Team: Alvisi Kirimoto: Alessio Montanari; Carolina Ossandon Avetikian. Cannondesign: Noelle Kinyon; Genie Bae; Angela Furman; Taofik Lasisi; David Pugh; Meg Osman.