Todd Heiser: “Manifest Digital chose 35 East Wacker, constructed in 1925 and also known as the Jewelers Building, for its new office space because they loved the historical architecture.
Todd Heiser is a design principal at Gensler in Chicago. Photo: Samantha Simmons
“Although that presented challenges—such as smaller windows, lower ceilings, and the scars of a building that’s been lived in for over 80 years—I feel passionately about historically relevant interior design.
The raw, modern workspace embodies the “rough luxe” concept that sparked the imaginations of Manifest Digital founder Jim Jacoby and architect Todd Heiser during the design phase.
“Rather than restore it to its original grandeur, we decided to treat anything we found in the space—from cross-bracing to a stone floor to the articulated iron elevator doors—as a remnant. Rather than cover up the wounds and wrinkles accrued by the building throughout time, we treated them as part of its story that needed to be told.”
Wanting to show off the beautiful statuary stone slab floor at the office’s entrance, the project team ground down the slab and patched it with the same lightweight concrete that makes up the rest of the office’s floor, creating an organic border between the two surfaces.
Sustainable features include low-VOC paint throughout the interior, much of which consists of functional chalkboards covered in employee notes and artwork.
Broken and crumbling brick (at the end of the hall) was left exposed and painted white as a way to honor the history of the historic building.
Solomon Cordwell Buenz