Confidential Global Alternative Asset Manager

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

The client presented an intriguing design challenge. The company is outwardly unassuming—it doesn't advertise, and its approach to securing clients is strategic, not broad-based. Yet, to its clients the company is indispensible, a trusted partner responsible for $60 billion.

The geode became the design inspiration. Outside, it's dark with a rich textural quality embodying strength. Inside, beautiful facetted crystals engage light.

The space turns the geode inside-out. A near-black felt wall covering at the building's core represents the unassuming shell. Leaving the elevator lobby, the shell cracks, revealing the brilliance within a geode. The angles of walls and screening elements play off each other with crystalline structure. A wall of quartz refracts brilliantly, while the light quality otherwise is diffused, ethereal.

This complexity continues throughout. Walls fold in facets. Glass, stone and metal engage with light, while richly grained wood provides contrast. Glass accent walls with embedded metal particles change opacity with light conditions. For instance, the board room enclosure shifts from a soft haze to a near-opaque glittering sheet of metal as the reflecting light intensifies.

The new workplace, like a geode, encapsulates the client's brilliance—a brilliance embodying their strength and integrity, and ultimately offering inspiration.

Architect of record

Mark Hirons
225 North Michigan Avenue, 11th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601, United States
Phone: 312-960-8219

General contractor

John Blacketor
235 Fencl Lane
Hillside, IL 60162, United States
Phone: 708-236-3316
Fax: 708-236-3333


Steve Hall
Hedrich Blessing Photographers
400 North Peoria Street
Chicago, IL 60622, United States
Phone: 312-491-1101