One of the more encouraging trends among the furniture manufacturing industry isn’t just that there are more green products flooding the market (which can sometimes be a bad thing when “greenwashing” is prevalent), but that more companies have awakened to the fact that it’s not just about the end product that counts—it’s a holistic approach to sustainable design that’s needed. As a result, products are now being produced in facilities and showcased in interior spaces that respect the environment as much as the products themselves.
Among those eco-conscious companies is Coalesse, a premium work/live furnishings brand which recently was awarded LEED Gold certification for its Chicago showroom, which was designed by San Francisco-based Luce et Studio, with Cubellis as the local architect of record. With the goal of achieving LEED certification, the project team was involved early in the “greening” process, and ultimately, every point submitted to USGBC for certification was accepted. The team understood the possibility
of lowering long-term operating costs by using efficient infrastructure and building materials, including electrical, plumbing, and painting supplies. Creating an environment that maximized exposure to natural light, cleaner air, and low gas-emitting chemicals was also important to the group.
Stewardship of the environment has long been a part of Cubellis’ design philosophy and the project
team took a proactive role in the greening process
for the Coalesse showroom, located in The Merchandise Mart. When the Mart opened in 1930, it was the largest building in the world. This massive space was recently LEED-EB certified and has become a model for responsible design in the community.
The design of the 22,000-square-foot showroom was able to capitalize on site selection to obtain LEED Gold certification, with points awarded for development density and community connectivity, storage and collection of recyclables, as well as construction waste management. By making thoughtful design decisions, the team created a healthy and productive work environment by incorporating the following strategies: reducing water consumption; optimizing energy performance through the use of lighting controls and energy star appliances; improving indoor
environmental quality by giving staff daylight views; and using low-emitting materials.
“All the key players met early in the design process to discuss LEED initiatives for the showroom and how we could push the design above and beyond the USGBC requirements without jeopardizing the aesthetic and social intent of the space,” notes Carolyn Farrugia, IIDA, Cubellis project designer. “We were working in an historic landmark building, so it was important from the start to have the owners and designers as well as the engineers brainstorm together for the best LEED strategies.”