The Chicago Blackhawks sought to expand their downtown location in a historic art deco skyscraper, a landmark building originally designed by renowned architects Holabird and Root in 1928. With its modest 1,000 square foot main-street specialty shop at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and the iconic Chicago River, the client wanted to create a two-story Flagship retail destination for fans of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Total visitors since opening
Square footage utilized (same base footprint)
Increase in total traffic
333 North michigan avenue
Chicago, IL 60601
Approx. 5,000 SQFT Retail Area
October 7, 2014
The Blackhawks wanted to expand their modest 1,000 sqft location to a two-story flagship retail destination on Michigan Avenue off the Chicago River that could marry modern elegance with high-level technology, all while accommodating both Chicago and Illinois Landmark building status.
Cutting a stair between two stories with a striking glass elevator
An augmented reality green-screen installation – allowing fans to interact with virtual team members and share the results on social media
20-flatscreen video walls to broadcast live games and United Center events
Custom lighting fixtures to emulate skate blades and hockey pucks
Mobile merchandise fixtures to allow for player signings and in-store broadcasts
3 interactive touchscreens that allow the patron to engage with Blackhawks history and trivia
Revit, a software enabling Building Information Modeling (BIM), proved indispensable throughout the design, visualization and production life cycle of the Blackhawks Flagship Store. Building a model to produce the final permit CD set, Revit allowed for at-a-glance perspectives in design, swift export for photo-real 3d models and walkthroughs and streamlined production and consultant coordination.
3D renderings, panoramas and interactive walkthroughs leveraging the reality-bending powers of the Oculus Rift served as an instrumental design tool throughout the design charette process. Tweaks in lighting temperature, fixture placement and store sightline determinants quickly delivered consensus in what would otherwise carry a burdensome and unsure decision making process.
The renderings also played a key role in expediting the window’s lightbox submission approval to the Chicago Landmark board. As a result of the photo-accurate lighting studies produced within 3ds Max, the turnaround found a swift resolution and sign-off from the city.
With the expansion of the retail space to five times the original store, efficient and inventive planning was needed to take customers on an experiential journey. Movable fixtures allowed space adaptations and theatrical reconfigurations to accommodate special fan events or live media broadcasts. Custom lighting design created a striking crown for the clerestory stair space by utilizing hockey skate blades, while oversized lit circles suspended above the cash wrap emulated hovering hockey pucks. The striking Blackhawks wall installation was first rendered in Revit software, calculating the use of color-coded hockey stick tips to re-create the Blackhawks logo. Details extended to the design of display hangers made from double-fanning hockey sticks.
The new Chicago Blackhawks store opened in time for the Blackhawk 2015 Stanley Cup – winning playoff, with Record Breaking Sales in the opening week and multiple Design Awards
4.4 star Google review rating
8/10 rating on Foursquare
4/5 rating on TripAdvisor