In March of 2008, marquardt+ (work performed as Design Collaboratives) was retained by Invista, a subsidiary of privately owned Koch Industries, Inc., to design a completely new Antron® showroom for their Antron Brand Carpet Fiber division. The brief required a complete gut/renovation of their existing showroom space in Suite 10-111, Merchandise Mart, Chicago. The brief also required marquardt+ to design an installation that would achieve LEED certification and be ready for occupancy in time for NeoCon® 2008.

marquardt+ designed, developed and coordinated the completion of the new Antron Showroom in 13 weeks. The space was completed June 9th just in time for the first day of NeoCon® and the project was awarded LEED-Gold certification by the United State Green Building Council, (USGBC).

antron project narrative

marquardt+ re-envisioned the Antron Carpet Fiber installation as an educational space that would engage a new generation of young designers, clearly present the performance and quality characteristics of Antron Brand Carpet Fibers, and easily transform to accommodate new products and evolving technical and educational presentations to come. The showroom facilitates ongoing designer training and interaction relative to industry developments, mill offerings and three core components of the Antron Brand that differentiate Antron fiber from their competitors: Inspire, Perform, and Sustain.

The tag line "Inspired by Science" was created to capture the excitement of Antron's ongoing product development, creative applications, and continuing education that bring new possibilities to carpet performance,styling and specification. Although LEED Gold certified, the design intentionally avoids an earthy appearance and instead captures and exploits the aesthetic scientifically engineered beauty of long life, reuse and "up-cycleability" inherent in the Antron product.

The space was conceptualized using the following models as reference points:

Black box (theater)
Lighting and media infrastructure are latent in the space until activated as required to facilitate evolving training, messaging and atmospheric moods. Ambiance and information can change throughout the day, per event and/or on an annual basis without modification to the base infrastructure. The idea is to create a "plug n play" wrapper that that will accommodate future changes without wasteful deconstruction.

Partitioning is made up of large, reused sliding glass panels from the original installation, plus tables on casters, and rolling stools can be reconfigured into 3 specific layouts and numerous other arrangements as dictated by event occurring in space. Perimeter display units are easily changeable. Focus areas and components are multifunctional and flexible to optimize the tight footprint of the 2700 square foot space.

Mac vs. PC
Antron becomes the smart, technical and casual cool that appeals to younger designers who have a different view of what is "hi-end", professional and business-like. They prefer to be engaged interactively in understanding the industry, appropriate applications, and product lifecycle ramifications. A more informal, hands-on approach that is progressive, hip, yet approachable.

antron showroom/presentation specifics

Interaction "Labs"
Replace conventional demonstrations as follows:

  • Testing Lab,"Perform": 5 tests that show performance aspects of product.
  • Lab, "Perform": Go live online and spec a carpet for optimal performance.
  • Inspiration Lab, "Inspire": Use mill samples and Antron products for designers to create their own fiber art.
  • Recycle Lab, "Sustain": Use recycled pellets for designers to make their own extrusion.

Life of a Polymer "See and Squish"
Perimeter of main interactive video space is banquette seating, storage for rolling stools, and demonstration of the "Carpet to Car Part" recycling story. In a question and answer seminar, people interact with the Antron green story while they rest on and eventually examine, feel and squish the dome bolsters that are stuffed with the resultant product in each stage of manufacturing from polymer pellets, to fiber, to carpet, and back to polymer pellets which are then extruded into car parts. More environmentally economic than cradle to cradle, this "up-cycling" process generates a 2nd life product (Mercedes Benz car part) which has more monetary value per weight than the first life product. The 2/3 point in the life of a polymer sequence is actual carpet including a sample of carpet that has been on the floor for 35 years with a reminder above that "sustainability begins with carpet that lasts".

See, Feel and Do Columns
A sequence of columns for fun interaction with the Inspire, Perform and Sustain:
  • Feel, "Inspire": Antron polymer pellets fill column and spill into welcoming rubber glove hands so designers can squeeze and engage the first stage in the fiber manufacture process.
  • See, "Perform": 3 comparative tests viewed through eye holes get designers and up close view of soil resistance, stain resistance, and appearance retention..
  • Do, "Sustain": A calibrated matrix allows each designer to insert a recycled glass marble to offset their carbon footprint. For each marble, Invista will offset .66 tons of carbon, the average consumed during a NeoCon visit..

Digital Media, Audio
To allow for change every year at minimal expense, digital media devices are incorporated throughout the showroom. 9 wide format flat screen monitors are positioned in 4 areas (entry, office 1, lab, office 3) and used to simultaneously communicate/interact with 4 to 11 experiences. A high output projector can be run with updatable content from a DVD, iPod or laptop.

To also allow for change every year at minimal expense, flexible and dimmable lighting can be controlled and changed on a minute by minute or year to year basis to keep the showroom fresh and up-to-date with no physical modifications. Dimmable two-circuit track lamps within codes allows flexibility for changing displays and moods. LED strip lighting used to edge light plexiglass gives a unique life to the product that can be modified significantly with just application of vinyl graphics. Theatrical lights with gels and gobos create drama within the space.

Rotating wall of Carpet
60 sq feet of floor space handles an interactive display of 264 mill carpet samples on triangular rotating display columns, that can be rearranged at any time to focus on a particular mill or color story. Clear tag holders with self printed tags allow quick change out with minimal resources.

Material Yields
Perimeter millwork is designed with an exact 2' deep interior for optimal yield of 4' wide panels.

A continuous carpet throughout the showroom demonstrates ANTRON® FiberEffects™ carpet fiber texture variations, subtle-to-bold color gradations and color to neutral ramping. There is no repeat on the entire floor yet the construction is an identical weave 12' wide product, which is cut into lengths and beck dyed for a front to back color gradation over the 70 foot showroom floor. Ends are used for samples, many of which are on the rotating wall. There is virtually no waste in this application.

additional components by marquardt+

  • Home Page
  • Antron Flash Screensaver
  • Magazine Bellyband Advertisement
  • Promotional Giveaway (reusable)