Elkus Manfredi breathes new life into Charles River Associates’ Chicago office

A Leading Light

Elkus Manfredi breathes new life into Charles River Associates’ Chicago office

The office’s previously dark, closed environment has been replaced with a sense of spaciousness. In the lobby, a serene color palette of blues, grays, and whites is punctuated by the ample us of warm woods. (Andrew Bordwin)

Rectifying the aesthetic gaffes of the past is not always an easy task. For the transformation of Charles River AssociatesChicago office, it was a question of converting a previously disjointed, dim-lit, and crowded office into a daylight-filled, expansive workplace. Boston-based architecture firm Elkus Manfredi Architects refurbished the two-level, 35,620-square-foot complex into a unified outpost for the international consultancy firm.

Hoping to not make the same stylistic mistakes as the property’s previous designers, Elkus Manfredi opted for a scheme that champions a timeless aesthetic. “Just because there is a trend, it doesn’t mean you have to follow it,” explained the firm’s senior workplace strategist & designer Linda MacLeod Fannon. “Charles River Associates’ Chicago team truly investigated what was right for them versus what everyone else is doing.”

Working closely with the company’s internal team, Elkus Manfredi put forward a paradigm-shifting intervention that caters to different activities, tasks, and points of interaction. A balance of private and public areas was introduced, allowing the company’s employees to accomplish quiet, focused, heads-down work but also to engage in spontaneous interactions.

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