Conception of a condo tour on Michigan Avenue
Clients: Time Equities, a real estate developer
When the American real estate developer Time Equities launched a call for tenders for the design of a prestigious new housing complex in Chicago, the Desjardins Bherer team were more than interested. The mandate consisted of rationalizing layouts to make the most of the space and proposing materials and finishes for the interiors.
Desjardins Bherer assumed artistic direction and established a partnership with the firm NEUF architect(e)s due to its experience in major projects. The team visited the Windy City to immerse themselves in the locale before embarking on their American adventure.
The more than 70-storey building designed by the architect Helmut Jahn will be a stunning addition to the cityscape, in a resolutely modern architecture with great potential. The carefully laid-out condominiums and rental apartments will attract affluent buyers seeking a prestigious address. The common areas will receive the same attention as the residential units, providing residents with a unique living experience. On this project, the watchwords are elegance and refinement throughout, at every level.
Redesigned spaces, to open things up
The team reviewed and enhanced each layout, creating large, spacious and refined volumes. The rectangular rooms fit together perfectly, with wide corridors, large wardrobes, integrated storage spaces and recessed lighting to create meticulously designed living areas. The emphasis is on light, furniture, collectible objects, artwork, the residents’ comfort... and spectacular views of the city, Lake Michigan and nearby parks.
What stands out upon arriving in the entrance hall is the quality of the materials. Silk carpets, Ingo Maurer cast bronze lamps and residential furniture complement each other beautifully, creating a warm atmosphere. The white granite flooring extends to the out-of-doors, serving as a unifying element, as does the alcove, which houses a crabapple tree. The reception desk, finished in black anodized aluminum, features a brass and stainless steel countertop.
A white-painted metal grill conceals the mechanical services in the ceiling, with indirect lighting in a recess long the walnut-paneled walls. A glass-bead curtain ensures privacy yet allows the light to filter through. As a bonus, the curtain also cuts down on noise from the street.
Up on the level of the pool, sports equipment and rest areas, a black granite floor continues outside, visually expanding the space. The locker rooms feature white cedar plank floors and hemp mats, for a warmer relaxation area. As a friendly gesture, the imposing furniture allows for sitting on either side. Tables for residents are illuminated by paper suspension lights.
The condominiums and apartments also feature noble and extremely refined materials. Bleached oak or roasted ash floors, white marble kitchen counters, stained oak cabinets, touches of colour here and there: Desjardins Bherer’s choices are aligned with the firm's favoured approaches to creating unique, soothing and functional living spaces.
Making room for art
The real estate developer, who is an art enthusiast and patron, wants unique artworks to have pride of place in this project. This is why Marc Bherer, after being taken aback by a piece by Montreal artist David Altmejd seen at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, proposed commissioning something similar from the artist for the entrance hall, to make it something exceptional. Another work is also planned to enhance the area leading to the elevators. And for the recreational common areas, Desjardins Bherer opted for a colourful, very realistic sculpture of a young swimmer with a ball.
The Desjardins Bherer proposal was well received by the real estate developer due to the proposed design’s outstanding level of chic and refinement for this signature building. However, the project will not be built. But for the team, this American adventure was nevertheless a major milestone.
Collaborators: Helmut Jahn architect, NEUF architects, GMV3D (renderings)