What’s New for 2022 at theMART


We are thrilled to announce some exciting happenings for theMART in Chicago. A valued epicenter for design and innovation for close to a century, the building is pleased to share several momentous developments including Design at theMART—a year-round programming series and a $60 million renovation project titled theMART 2.0., spearheaded by Gensler Chicago. In addition to these exciting initiatives, a number of new design brands have established showrooms and existing tenants have invested in expanded spaces.

Design at theMART will kick off on site February 24th in honor of Black History Month with a panel in collaboration with Sandow Media Group titled, “Building What Matters: What Justice, Equity & Inclusion Look Like in Practice.” The program will be moderated by Kelly Beamon, Senior Editor, Metropolis, with panelists including Dayton Schroeter, Principal, SmithGroup, Kim Dowdell, Principal, HOK, Bryan Lee, Jr., Founding Principal, Colloqate, and Jomo Tariku Industrial Design and Researcher. Head here to RSVP. If you have a programming idea for Design at theMART and are interested in partnering, please reach out to LMartin@themart.com.

theMART 2.0 renderings

Exciting Developments Planned for theMART in 2022 and Beyond

“Design at theMART” Programming & Event Series, theMART 2.0 Renovations, & More in the Works for 2022 

theMART is pleased to announce big plans for the iconic national headquarters for the best in design. It all begins with the launch of Design at theMART programming featuring dynamic and engaging events, training sessions, and activations created to inspire and educate residential and commercial design professionals year-round. This expansive program comes as a number of new design brands establish showrooms and existing tenants invest in expanded spaces. It also coincides with the kick-off of theMART 2.0, an amenity-rich renovation project designed by Gensler Chicago.

For Design at theMART programming, the internal team is partnering with showroom tenants, leading media and design organizations to develop an ongoing series of onsite events that will celebrate and showcase the building’s rich design resources and draw a wide cross-section of commercial and residential designers and architects and end-users. The action will take place across 1.2 million square feet of design showrooms at theMART including 3 floors of commercial showrooms, an emporium for custom home furnishings and interior design offerings as well as the world’s largest collection of premier kitchens, bath and building product boutiques under one roof. Programming starts on February 24th, in conjunction with Black History Month with a panel discussion co-hosted by Sandow Media Group called “Building What Matters: What Justice, Equity & Inclusion Look Like in Practice,” and continues March 21-22 with i+s’s Design Connections event series. Events are being planned throughout the year across a wide spectrum of timely topics.

These recent developments underscore theMART’s position as a prime destination for business for those in the design world. Over the last 24 months, during a very complicated time caused by the COVID pandemic, theMART has leased more than 350,000  square feet of showroom space across all industry verticals with such design heavyweights as Steelcase, Holly Hunt, and OFS renewing their commitments to theMART, and solutions oriented Clarus and Enwork expanding their footprints. “The building has been an integral partner in brands’ business strategies,” comments Byron Morton, Vice President of Leasing for theMART. “From Clarus’ long term lease renewal in a new space three times its original size to Enwork’s expansion into an adjacent showroom, we engage with our tenants to effectively enable and support their growth and ensure long term success.”

“This is an important year of growth for Clarus,” comments Vera Fischer, SVP Marketing, PLM & Strategic Business Development for Clarus. “As the leader in  glass board manufacturing in the U.S. we have a large breadth of solutions to showcase. Our new, expanded showroom at 10-102 in theMART will allow us to display three times more depth and range of products and will give us the space we need to meet and engage with the design community.”

The home furnishings sector of the building remains an integral part of the building’s ecosystem. Wallcoverings leader Phillip Jeffries established a location in theMART in the fall of 2021 and last month Texas-based Wells Abbott soft-launched its space, which will officially launch in June and serve as its Chicago base as it continues to expand its network of multi-line showrooms. Later in 2022, Middlebly Residential Showcase Gallery, which is anchored by Viking Range and La Cornue, will relocate to a larger space.

“In 2021, we celebrated our 45th year in business with the opening of new showrooms in four design centers,” comments Jeffrey Bershad, CEO of Phillip Jeffries.  When it came to opening in Chicago, we wanted to be on the 6th floor of theMART as it’s the designer destination for textiles and wallcoverings.”

TheMART 2.0 renovations will feature significant improvements including tenant-only amenity lounges, conference rooms, and a fitness center, as well as streamlined entrances, an exclusive speakeasy bar in Marshall’s Landing, and a revamped front yard and plaza for visitors. Myron Maurer, COO of theMART comments, “With Gensler Chicago spearheading the expansive MART 2.0 renovation, tenants, exhibitors, and guests of theMART can look forward to updates and amenities that will enhance the user experience and reflect the design leadership that is represented by the partners and users of our landmark Art Deco building.”

Updates on the growing Design at theMART schedule can be found at themart.com/design-at-themart. New programming will complement the already robust calendar of activations at theMART including the Design Center’s signature annual events, and the upcoming 2022 edition of NeoCon, June 13-15. For more information on theMART and its showrooms head to www.themart.com

About theMART: theMART (formerly The Merchandise Mart), located in the center of the sought-after River North submarket, is interwoven into the fabric of Chicago as an innovator in business, technology, culture, art, media and more. It is one of the world’s leading commercial buildings, wholesale design centers and the preeminent international business location in Chicago. Encompassing 4.2 million gross square feet, theMART spans two city blocks, rises 25 stories, and is visited by an average of 30,000 people each business day and nearly 10 million people annually. Offering continuous innovation and creativity from leading manufacturers and design-forward showrooms, theMART serves as the home to Chicago’s most creative and technologically innovative companies.