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NEW PROJECT - STEELCASE WORKLIFE CENTER, MERCHANDISE MART




The solutions came about through numerous design development meetings at our offices in Toronto, collaborating with the designer and our engineering team led by an industrious project manager. In order to provide a unique column configuration and minimize the number of molds for the Totems, Formglas recommended to make all the components out of dam downs of two elliptical tapering geometries that could revolve around a circular center. With the exchange of concept surface models and through 3D design analysis, Formglas was able to establish the faceted geometry and the division of the components that would allow installation within the tolerances of the space. A laser scan of the existing structural elements along with site measurements gave us the necessary information to build around these constraints and ensure a proper fit in the field. Although the prefinished components were intended to be erected with minimal site handling, the installer had to make minor adjustments and refinish them with a modified color selection. The result was 12 different column designs ranging from elliptical geometries 3' x 6' at the cap & base 10' high supplied in upper and lower quadrant sections with saw tooth overlap joints.
For the Grille Joey came up with a rather unique radial design of horizontally intersecting curved ribs that left voids with diamond openings, taking full advantage of the design flexibility of a cast gypsum product. Initially components were going to be cut and joined at the top and bottom edges but through the ingenuity of our production team and with a little bit of experimentation we were able to fuse components in the mold, making for a faster production process and a better delivered product overall. The installed wall was initially open to a drywall backdrop but was later removed and reinstalled with a drywall backing (except for the mechanical portion) and re-sprayed grey. The stunning wall captured the observer, connecting the three showrooms down a long corridor.
The Body was initially a series of horizontal ribs with LED edges that could transform into a media wall and although initially we declined to offer it with our scope we later agreed into taking on a modified version of it in the form of a double-sided grille with a varying vertical diamond pattern. During the design development, the team realized the time constraint we were in and had to make some changes in order to meet our deadline. Through a last minute modification of the design, changing the kick-out to a solid triangular section, Formglas was able to once again offer a timely solution to a seemingly impossible feat. But the challenge didn't end there. Matt Bushman, the construction manager from Bushman Construction, had to not only build in structural elements in a finished space (that were never part of the original design), but had to also work around the clock to install the double-sided prefinished components with the help of our on-site factory representative.
On D-day and just minutes after the last curtains were hung, the showroom opened to an awing crowd. Joey Shimoda and his team succeeded in assembling the most talked about space in the Merchandise Mart Building. They truly had created a space like no other, a light, visually open environment with flowing glass partitions interacting with vertical Totems on either side, with the Body as an anchor point to the whole area. The predominantly white space brought the products on display to the foreground, in a wonderful marriage of design culture and commerce. Formglas managed to produce about one thousand parts in three months.
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