It’s not easy to give cardboard a personality, but Stylex’s newly renovated flagship showroom at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart does just that. A LEED Silver-certified project designed by Chicago’s Eastlake Studio, the space utilizes reclaimed wood from barns in the Midwest, recycled cardboard and is separated into four zones that showcase product in their own unique ways.
The star of this design show is the display case, built of laminated recycled sheets of cardboard, stacked horizontally for strength, with cut-out openings for the new SAVA chairs. Interior mirrors line these openings to help visitors view the products from different perspectives. Pivoting panels of the same material separate the front and back zones of the space, and have been partially stripped to expose the honeycomb structures within.
“Given the limited budget, we were trying to figure out how we could use inexpensive materials in a creative way,” explains Christina Brown, LEED AP, ID+C designer with Eastlake.
LED lighting throughout the space reduced power usage by more than 35 percent, and the use of low-emitting paints, adhesives, millwork substrates and rapidly renewable fabrics, such as wools and cottons, helped secure the Silver rating. Existing glass and some partitions were kept in the already LEED-EB certified Merchandise Mart. Ten percent of all materials were sourced within 500 miles of the project and 75 percent of construction debris was recycled.
While the front half of the showroom features SAVA—particularly in workstation and conferencing vignettes—the back features lounge and multi-purpose seating. All Stylex products are juxtaposed with rich materials that allow them to speak volumes. In the café vignette, a salvaged wood top on a metal frame pumps up the chairs adjacent to it, while the lounge focuses in on a flat screen television set into a millwork wall of reclaimed wood.
“Stylex’s products are very clean and minimal. The space is about contrasting
those designs with something more organic, rather than hitting you over the head with minimalist furniture in a minimalist space,” says Brown. “The vignettes show how Stylex’s products can be used in a variety of settings that can translate to all types of design—corporate, education, healthcare and beyond.”
At the end of the day, the renovated showroom bypasses pretention and lands on sophistication—a perfect fit for the Stylex brand.