Completed in 1929 by Holabird and Root, the Palmolive Building was originally the headquarters of the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company. Recognized as a Chicago Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places, the Art Deco building is a testament to Chicago’s rich and evolving architectural history. Following a retail base renovation in the 1980s by SOM, and an adaptive reuse effort by Booth Hansen that converted offices to condominiums in 2008, the retail base required renewed attention in 2015.
The design modernizes the storefront to maximize the presence of world-class retail occupants, while referencing, restoring, and synthesizing with the original Holabird and Root structure. This is accomplished through the seamless integration of large glass expanses with custom aluminum profiles, minimizing joints and material intersections.
Mullions are hidden behind the glass envelope, and are expressed on the exterior as a razor-thin fin. This fin acts as a seam between the new glass and the larger historic storefront frame, which was reconstructed from original drawings and photographs. These reconstructions include portions of the decorative metal columns, prismatic lighting in the column caps, and ornamentation above the windows.
The subtle and refined details express the overall aesthetic of the project: clean, modern lines to enhance the retail experience while respecting the historic building design. The modern bay and historic framework are unified through the detail.