As you approach the Maya Romanoff showroom in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, it feels as if you’re stepping out of the rotunda of shops into a luxurious oasis separated from the outside world. The glittering, illuminated signage beckons you down the long entrance before swooping open into the expanse of the showroom, fanning out in a radial grid pattern from the inside corner.
Such an entrance could be seen as extreme if it didn’t so adequately prepare you for the opulence of Maya Romanoff’s hand-perfected coverings inside. There I met with Tom Marquardt (IIDA, SBID), design principal at HDR who, along with his previous team at marquardt+ (then Design Collaboratives), created the space as an homage to Maya Romanoff’s luxury style and artistry without becoming overbearing and overwhelming.
The key is in the different ways in which the product is displayed. “The space provides a variety of shopping experiences because designers don’t all look for products in the same way,” Marquardt explained. Instead, the showroom works like a hands-on gallery where designers are encouraged to interact with the products as they see fit to give them all the tools they need to perfect their projects.
Photography by Jeremy Witteveen