The Merchandise Mart celebrated the opening of the Design Center’s spectacular redesign on February 27, which attracted hundreds of designers, architects and industry executives to the new and improved facility. Since early 2012, more than 65 residential home and casual furnishings tenants were relocated from floors 15, 16, 17 and 18 into new spaces on the 14th floor which now exclusively house residential tenants, as well as the 15th floor, which is dedicated to casual/outdoor tenants. The floor renovations, by acclaimed interior designer and architect Gary Lee Partners, have improved the Design Center shopping experience by creating a more concentrated, easily navigable showcase of the TOP name showrooms in residential and outdoor design.

More than 115 showrooms, representing 2,500 of the finest product lines, span floors 6, 14 for residential furnishings including furniture, fabrics, lighting, rugs, and wallcoverings and floors 15 and 16 for outdoor furnishings including furniture, fabrics, rugs and accessories.

“The Design Center re-launch event was a fun way to show off our new space to clients and friends, while benefiting from the increased foot traffic to meet a new audience,” said Emily Mundwiller, Showroom Manager for Tufenkian. “The reconfigured floors provide high level focus and one-stop shopping for designers and browsers alike. We look forward to more events like this in The Mart.” 14th Floor Showroom.

“This well attended event, brought industry professionals and the Chicago design community together as a whole like it has not been in years,” echoed Barbara Todd, Chicago Showroom Manager for Robert Allen | Beacon Hill. “The energy and synergy among all of the design center floors, combined with great music, food and drink made this a major success.” 14th Floor Showroom.

“Now, with all of the top furnishing and textile lines concentrated on two magnificently appointed floors, design professionals will be able to accomplish their work more efficiently and in beautiful, new surroundings,” said Keith Bradley, President of BRADLEY. "Our move into a larger, 6th floor showroom of the Design Center has allowed BRADLEY the necessary platform for continued growth and success." 6th Floor Showroom.

“The Merchandise Mart Design Center has pulled out all the stops to create the most wonderful, updated shopping experience for all our Design clients. Two beautiful residential floors filled with the highest quality product. It cannot get any better than that,” added Frank Rinker, Director of Midwest – East Coast sales for Nancy Corzine. 6th Floor Showroom.

The daylong relaunch event on Wednesday, February 27 featured special events including book signings, guest speakers, new product introductions, and drew key industry executives like Eric Schenk, President / CEO of Century Furniture, Holly Hunt, President of HOLLY HUNT, Crans Baldwin, CEO of Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman, Gary McCray, President of Lane Venture, and Keith and Michelle Bradley of BRADLEY. Attendees were also the first to shop new tenants, Knoll Luxe, Paul Ferrante, Quadrille, Mamagreen and Tufenkian.

The 14thfloor renovation included the construction of a designer amenity center, “Lounge 1447,” which was unveiled on February 27 and features a well-appointed conference area, lounge, café and audio/visual display. Gary Lee Partners designed and curated Lounge 1447 as an office-away-from-the-office for the many designers, architects, guests and showroom personnel who do business in the Design Center. Lounge 1447 is open Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm and has a full time concierge on site.

“The relocation of more than 65 showrooms and extensive floor renovations couldn’t have gone smoother and we’re thrilled with the final result,” said John H. Brennen III, executive vice president, MMPI. “With the support of our parent company, Vornado, they made a substantial financial investment in the reconfiguration and design of 14th and 15th floors and relocation of many tenants. We are proud to offer Midwest designers the best Design Center presentation in the country.”