Where the Heck Have You Been?
A year in review for Ellipsis
As an office of designers and creative thinkers, we often find ourselves caught up the excitement of the day-to-day challenges of our projects. In doing so, we leave far too little time to share our enthusiasm with our friends, our colleagues and our professional network. As has been the case recently, our team at Ellipsis wanted to take a moment to express our gratitude to our amazing clients, share our recent experiences and provide an overview of the projects currently in the works.
It's been an exciting year for Ellipsis. Having had the good fortune of working on wide range of projects of various scales, types and locations and the even better fortune of working with an ever-inspiring group of clients and collaborators, we'd like to share our experiences by providing a sampling of our world from the past year. Below, you'll find a brief outline of the of our year in review.
Health & Wellness
We were very lucky to have the opportunity to lead the redesign and construction of the home base for Windy City Strength and Conditioning. As a key component to a large-scale branding initiative, the redesign of Windy City's 14,500 square foot training facility, located in the Ravenswood corridor of Chicago, presented Ellipsis with the unique challenge of optimizing and updating a space which was already beloved by a membership community of over 300 loyal Crossfit and general fitness enthusiasts. In collaboration with the talented team at Knoed Creative, the space and corresponding branding design for the business aspired to emulate the raw, weathered authenticity of a traditional boxing gym while still feeling new, fresh and energetic. Guiding themes of 'grit,' 'masculinity', 'urban,' 'raw,' and 'industrial' became the drivers for a newly-imaged concrete warehouse space that optimized the myriad of overlapping physical training classes which operate there daily.
The project started with a focused mission to create a meaningful sequence of experiences for the members attending daily classes. The entry was relocated to the corner of the building to create a grand opening through a rough metal garage door and an existing loading dock. This allowed the first bay of spaces immediately adjacent to the street to become a social lobby where members can enter, check-in, congregate with friends, change clothes and prepare themselves for the intensity of the forthcoming training session. A clean line of newly-constructed metal pods, clad in corrugated, gun-metal black panels, created a natural boundary between the social zone in front and the training areas beyond. Five pods in total, these house reception, changing and meeting functions as well as a small children's play area. The central pod acts as the primary threshold through which members enter the training space which was opened up and neatly organized to allow for a free flow of activity between the various training zones (general fitness, Olympic lifting, agility, basketball court and running track). The raw space, when completed, was adorned with a complimentary mix of contemporary furniture, rusticated furniture (designed and built by Ellipsis) and edgy, playful artwork by the painter, Shannon Favia (who also painted a delightfully-playful mural in the new children's center).
The success of a residential project can most often be measured by the energy and creativity of the client. The more heart and soul they infuse into the project and the more trust they place in us to understand and provide for the nuances of their lifestyle, the richer the project becomes. Such was the case with our most recent residential project. The clients, an enthusiastic and imaginative couple with two young daughters, dared to think boldly about the redesign of their condo, located in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.
The project challenged Ellipsis to convert a traditional developer-designed interior into an efficient, functional, contemporary engine for their personal and professional lives. As a prerequisite, the couple, an attorney and a doctor, needed a private space from which to conduct their confidential business. This resulted in the design of a finely-tuned office volume in the center of the public space, around which all other living functions circulated. The office became a jewel in the apartment, containing a wide array of custom storage solutions and playing an active role in acoustically separating the space form the adjacent kitchen, living and dining rooms. The intricacy of the office was concealed with a tightly-woven, slatted veneer that allowed us to conceal the office door, storage cabinet doors and audio visual components behind. The entry foyer followed suit, as did the living space with two neatly-organized entertainment walls, clad with the same dark wood slats. To celebrate the texture of the slatted walls, the flooring surfaces, walls, ceilings and all counter tops of the contemporary Italian kitchen were kept light and monolithic. This also helped to bounce a large amount of natural light into the depths of the apartment. Finally, the bathrooms were redesigned and renovated into delicate, minimalist spaces in an effort to produce a clean, tidy appearance with rich materials and lighting accents.
Creative motivations come in all shapes and sizes. Architects strive to be productive team members no matter which phase of the project we are asked to participate. At Ellipsis, we love joining the team during the early visionary stages of a project because it allows us to put our creativity to work when it has the most positive impact, during the 'ideas' portion of the project. Most recently, this came in the form of The Long Girl, an up-and-coming brewing company based in Waunakee, Wisconsin. Ellipsis was honored to have been selected to work on the front end in the development of this exciting venture and was asked to establish the preliminary branding for the new venture as well as assisting the ownership team in creating a well-rounded business plan with which they could explain the nuances of their business to investors. The result of this collaboration was a huge success leading to the forthcoming grand opening of their first brewery and brew pub in Spring of 2016.
Additional photographs of this project are coming soon so please check our 'Projects' page in Spring of 2016 for additional information.
From a gym and a private residence in Chicago to a Brewery in Wisconsin, the scope of our work with our clients over the past year has been diverse in every sense. To add additional flavor to the project mix, we also were very fortunate in working with our collaborators at Brandingism on the design and visionary proposal for a new financial hub along the edge of the downtown core of Beijing, China. This proposal worked to bring together commercial office functions for large, financial institutions, supportive cultural spaces (galleries, performance spaces, studio spaces) and retail amenities.
Additional photographs of this project are coming soon so please check our 'Projects' page next month for additional information.