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Creativity and innovation enable construction team to successfully complete the 126,000 square-foot space during COVID-19’s early months

Chicago, IL – Clune Construction (Clune) is pleased to announce the completion of Dentsu International’s new Downtown Chicago office. This project was born out of the decision to bring multiple brands under one roof and create a better use of space in a creative, and collaborative atmosphere, while still helping brands retain their identity. Designed by Studios Architecture, this space encourages employees to sit in a different place every day, to avoid “getting stuck in a rut,” and enable creative work. To bring the space to life, the project team also included Gardiner & Theobald as Project & Cost Managers, Environmental Systems Design as Engineers and LOOP Lighting as Lighting Designer.

Located at 515 North State Street, the 126,343-square-foot space features an interconnecting stair as well as film studios, sound booths, production rooms and editing bays to allow creative content creation for clients in-house. Continuing with the goal of creative stimulation, each floor has a different design and color scheme and has work space seating, a pantry and communal areas. The space is also designed to host clients whether it’s allowing them to utilize resources such as sound booths or inviting them in for a new pitch. Studios Architecture worked with Dentsu International to create a client journey throughout the space, which allows each brand to show off their capabilities and work to grow their portfolios.

The aesthetic of the space is designed to have a neutral, consistent thread paired with some variety on each floor. Studios Architecture carefully selected a color scheme for each floor that would not favor one company’s branding over the other. Based on each brand’s identity, some floors are more hospitality oriented, while others contain more content creation rooms. Each brand has space to add personal touches such as small furniture or knick knacks.

One major feature on each floor of the work space is Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting. Among the first of its kind installed in Chicago, PoE lighting allows facility managers to have individual control over every light to adjust to maximum employee comfort, maximize energy efficiency and optimize lighting schedules. The overall goal of Dentsu International’s new workplace is to have employees moving, with a constant stream of creativity and collaboration bouncing around to create fresh ideas.

“We were proud to partner with Studios and Environmental Systems Design to implement this next generation technology, which will enhance Dentsu International’s end-user experience,” said Will McGowan, Senior Vice President and Project Executive at Clune. “As a team, we learned a lot about best practices when installing PoE lighting, and had to be flexible, adaptive, and creative when completing this portion of the project.”

As a focal point of the office space, the quality craftsmanship of the interconnecting stair was an essential element of this project. The millwork subcontractor worked with Clune and Studios to create a beautiful oak handrail that would tie in the design and perfectly bend around the turns of the stair. The team also worked with subcontractors to create concrete stair treads that would seamlessly match the concrete floors on 20 and 21. To bring these aesthetic details to fruition, Clune completed an extensive steel installation that would support the stair, while maintaining the design.

“We used full-height perforated metal panels on the stair to create a monolithic anchor for the reception desk,” said Ellen Straub of Studios Architecture. “The stair was thoughtfully located to maximize circulation between floors and allow for a variety of ways to tour clients through the space.”

Phases two and three of this three-phase project were completed during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.  The challenges associated with working during the pandemic are well documented, and the Dentsu International team worked closely together to mitigate schedule and cost issues and to practice new safety protocols. The project’s construction had to be reorganized to accommodate these new safety protocols. Throughout the construction of the Dentsu International office, the team applied Clune’s COVID response plan consistently, resulting in zero jobsite shutdowns as a result of COVID-19 cases, as well as zero safety incidents overall.

“This build out was our first project that we really intended to shift the way we design and use our office space, putting collaboration and sustainability at the forefront,” said Emily Korber, Director of Real Estate Projects at  Dentsu International. “Clune was a key partner in helping bring this to life and we are very delighted with the outcome.”