University of Illinois - Innovation Center

1960s couch with attached side table upholstered in green and bright blue fabric, matching armchair, vintage Mid-century armchair in magenta fabric, pair of mid-century blonde wood side tables with toys

CHALLENGE

Take a space that had originally been a grocery store and which subsequently had been converted into a hands-on maker space for industrial design students and turn it into a Center for Innovation. The main convening space at the center of the facility needed to be flexible, allowing it to be reconfigured for lectures, meetings and presentations with breakout spaces available within the room. A large section of one of the walls was required to function as a projection screen. And most importantly, the space needed to be inspiring, playful and fun!

STARTING POINT

  • White walls and grey concrete floors in the offices, cafe and lounge areas

  • Primarily white walls and grey wall-to-wall carpeting in the convening space

WHAT WE DID

In the main convening space, we started by creating a color palette that worked with the original orange painted wall within the space. We painted the columns in the center of the room a light color in order to help minimize the visual obstruction. We also used magnetic paint and covered them with magnetic poetry to inspire students to have some fun. For the furnishings we sourced all vintage furniture and reupholstered the seating with high quality commercial grade fabrics. Hats and toys were placed around the room and on the tabletops to encourage play and divergent thinking.
In the office areas and hallways we hung vintage artwork. For the cafe, we sourced some vintage chairs to go with the existing tables. An artist "tattooed" the tables with patterns, as well as some of the walls in the area. On the floor, she painstakingly painted patterns that she had created to act as mini carpets under the tables.
In the lounge area, the same artist painted a couple of large "rug patterns" onto the floor to act as seating anchors. Once again, all the furniture was vintage and reupholstered.

Before

Before photo of UIC Innovation Center
Before photo of UIC Innovation Center
UIC Innovation Center
UIC Innovation Center

Fuschia walls, dry erase wall, yellow column iwth magnetic poetry, two vintage blue archairs, red vintage armchair, green vintage armchair, 2 turquoise plastic molded chairs, grass green vintage kitchen cabinet, purple vintage armchair, vintage kitchen table with red chairs

UIC Innovation Center
UIC Innovation Center

Magenta walls, dry erase wall with additional dry erase boards mounted on the wall, assortment of vintage kitchen tables with chairs in a variety of colors, vintage green kitchen hutch

UIC Innovation Center
UIC Innovation Center

Dry erase wall, assortment of vintage kitchen tables with chairs

UIC Innovation Center
UIC Innovation Center

Magenta walls, wall-mounted dry erase board, vintage European grass green kitchen hutch, periwinkle vintage armchair, 2 molded beige chairs, red upholstered antique armchair with wooden arms, wood coffee table with shelf

UIC Innovation Center
UIC Innovation Center

Garage door with light yellow wall, magenta concrete column wiht an assortment of hats hanging from hooks, 2 green vintage armchairs with handmade pillows, two blue upholstered antique chairs with wooden frame and arms, large square light wood coffee table with toys

UIC Innovation Center
UIC Innovation Center

Assortment of brightly reupholstered armchairs, coffee tables on a backdrop of a Chinese red wall and light yellow wall

UIC Innovation Center
UIC Innovation Center

Assortment of colorful upholstered vintage armchairs, chairs, coffee tables set up theater-style with vintage kitchen tables and chairs in the back rows, against a background of a deep orange wall with 4 standing coat racks

UIC Innovation Center
UIC Innovation Center

Painted folklore motifs onto a concrete wood floor

UIC Innovation Center
UIC Innovation Center

Light wood square table with orange pattern stenciled on top