Photography by Heather Lindquist

December 29, 2008
CONTACT: Allen Rafalson
Rafalson Marketing Communications

M. Grace Designs, Inc.

CHICAGO-- A showroom previously lacking color and excitement is now an environmental wonder. A Chicago-based design firm has turned it green.

Recognizing the need to upgrade its Merchandise Mart showroom, Hanamint, hired
M. Grace Designs for the renovation project. The company is headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., and is a distributor and manufacturer of high and mid-market cast aluminum casual furniture and accessories to specialty retailers.

"Because the existing showroom did not reflect the style of its president, Russell Sorenson, we felt it would be better served if it possessed a creative color scheme focusing on the aesthetic and implementing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) resources," Grace Sielaff said. " Our goal was to utilize local manufacturers and vendors to reduce CO2 emissions."

Demolition of existing walls was minimized, while most of products specified were obtained from locally approved suppliers. Materials used--such as paints and adhesives--were low in VOC (volatile organic compounds). Additional green design and development features included: 3Form products made of 40% post industrial, reclaimed material, and formaldehyde free and non-toxic Flor carpet tiles.

Located on the 17th floor of the Merchandise Mart Design Center the showroom's welcome desk was made in Chicago, reducing the environmental impact resulting from transportation elsewhere. "In addition to infusing a new and exciting 'vibe', aesthetic and functionality was also incorporated," Sielaff said. Brockrob Construction served as general contractor.

Merchandise Mart Properties (MMP) already employs some green practices, including recycling waste. In addition, it has obtained the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for Existing Building (LEED-EB) silver certification.

Hanamint headquarters are located at 8010 Thorndike Rd. Greensboro, NC 27409

Merchandise Mart Properties located at 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654

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