Steelcase’s Chicago Showroom Wins Interior Design Magazine’s Best of Year Award

Shimoda Design Group and Steelcase Design Studio Collaborate to Articulate the Steelcase Brand Experience

December 16, 2008 – Grand Rapids, Mich. – Steelcase Inc. (NYSE:SCS), a global office environments manufacturer, today announced that its Chicago showroom has won a Best of Year award from Interior Design Magazine in the Showroom category. The collaboration between Shimoda Design Group and the Steelcase Design Studio is intended to connect design professionals and customers with the Steelcase brand experience.

Located in the Merchandise Mart, the showroom, also known as a Steelcase WorkLife Center, was unveiled in June 2008 during NeoCon, the World’s Trade Fair for Interior Designers, Architects, Building Owners and Managers. A visually open environment allows guests to explore how people can create strong connections in the workplace – to other people, to information, to the tools they need and to the culture of their organization – through the use of Steelcase products.

“From the very beginning we wanted to create a space that would celebrate Steelcase design,” said Joey Shimoda, principal, Shimoda Design Group. “The design goal of the space was to create a showroom that supports and enhances the products so that designers and architects could walk in and clearly visualize how they could create their own environments using Steelcase products.”

In order to accomplish this design goal, the Steelcase WorkLife Center utilizes a predominantly white color palette and an abundance of glass, with signature features such as totems, sinuous glass walls and a large-scale media wall located in the showroom. Visually engaging and visible from the corridor, guests are naturally drawn into the space by the large media display, creating a dynamic first impression of the space. The twelve iconic totems dispersed throughout the space are made of glass-fiber, gypsum-cast columns and their repetitive use helps guide visitors through the showroom.

There are three other showrooms under the Steelcase Inc. brand featured in the Mart besides Steelcase including Turnstone, Details and Steelcase Health. The sinuous glass walls between these showrooms create a physical yet transparent membrane along the corridor of the Mart, with the intent to accentuate and unify the various Steelcase brands. The separate showrooms celebrate the diversity of each company, but still create a holistic physical appearance linked by common elements such as the color white, use of glass and the architectural totems.

“We created the Steelcase WorkLife Center as an active space where architects, designers, customers and students could come and find inspiration,” said James Ludwig, vice president, global design, Steelcase Inc. “Each element was carefully chosen, and we are honored that our showroom was selected as the best amongst tough industry competition by a distinguished panel of judges who live and breathe great design every day.”

Careful thought went into the environmental features of the space as well. In an effort to design for the environment, all of the new and existing Steelcase branded furniture and architecture products in the showroom, including walls, storage, furniture and seating, are Cradle to Cradlesm certified by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), or will be certified at their launch. In addition, demonstrating the company’s commitment to sustainability, a LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is pending.

In the third annual Best of Year Awards, finalists for the project awards were selected by a distinguished roundtable of judges, including Interior Design’s editor-in-chief Cindy Allen. The judging panel chose the winners from a total of 240 finalists in 62 various categories.
“We sifted through more than 1,200 entries, our largest submission pool to date, in search of innovation – the products and projects that inspire us all to elevate design – to reward as 2008’s Best of Year,” said Allen.

An award ceremony took place at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on December 4, and the winners are featured in the December issue of Interior Design.

About Steelcase Inc.
Steelcase provides furniture, services and insights to help people have a better work experience, and to help companies and organizations create inspiring spaces with a maximum impact on performance and a minimum impact on the environment. A Michigan-based company that has been serving customers for nearly a century, Steelcase leads the global office furniture industry with $3.4 billion in annual revenue.

Jeanine Holquist