Milliken Contract Showroom, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL

Oct. 1, 2008


Long before "sustainability" entered the corporate lexicon, Roger Milliken, chairman of Milliken & Co., understood that a living enterprise and a living earth were inextricably linked, as reported in the company's corporate environmental philosophy statement.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise when Milliken Contract's recent design objective was to create a new 4,400-square-foot Chicago showroom celebrating the company's product collection, longstanding environmental stewardship, and respect for great design.

Milliken's internal project team worked with the A&D firm Q Studio and LEED consultant Catalyst Partners to achieve LEED-CI Gold certification.

Not surprisingly, lighting was a challenge. Located at the end of a long corridor in The Merchandise Mart, the selected space terminates in a burst of natural light. Most of the space has access to daylight and the open plan expands the sense of light. The innovative combination of metal halide and low-voltage halogen lighting shows the product in its best light and provides an energy-efficient solution. Each seating area has its own lighting controls.

An 80-foot runway provides three surfaces for featured carpet and draws the eye into the space. The bending carpet sculpture artfully features new products and ends in a full-height projection screen that completes the Milliken story. An angled mirrored ceiling plane reflects the product runway on yet another surface.

In addition to meeting LEED parameters, the design team made every effort to use less. Furniture, lighting, and AV were reused from other Milliken facilities, and more than 40 percent of the interior elements from the old space were retained in the new.

Two lounge areas provide seating for small group presentations. Low- to no-VOC finishes and materials were used throughout, including millwork, and displays contain no added urea-formaldehyde. The conference area can be independently temperature-controlled and has a sensor-controlled exhaust fan.

In addition to low-emitting paint, all medium-density fiberboard (MDF) used is low-emitting and non-urea-based. Carpet was installed throughout the showroom without sealants or adhesives using Milliken TractionBack®, and IAQ is continuously refreshed with MilliCare® textile and carpet care.

Additional green resources used include 100 percent recovered and recycled wood fiber; formaldehyde-free MDF; GREENGUARD and Green Seal-certified, low-VOC paint; and a daylight management system.

Accommodating the demands of NeoCon® along with day-to-day business functions, this showroom was the first space within the Chicago Merchandise Mart to achieve LEED for Commercial Interiors.

Above (larger image) & Below (larger image): The innovative combination of metal halide and low-voltage halogen fixtures shows the product in its best light while providing an energy-efficient lighting solution.

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