Chicago Loop Alliance regularly convenes a group of urban planners, architects, property owners, academics, technologists, and other downtown stakeholders to seek ways to enrich the public’s experience of the urban environment–ultimately creating a strong sense of local character. Utilizing signage and graphics, mobile technology, and traditional design and planning approaches, Chicago Loop Alliance’s Placemaking Committee engenders ideas that build upon the Loop’s physical assets–from beautifying fire escapes with colored lights to marking the start of world-famous Route 66 with an interactive kiosk.
With the emergence of social networks, cell phone applications, and intuitive user interfaces streaming information in real time and altering the way we perceive and experience the everyday, why not explore the ability to interact with and even manipulate the Loop’s built environment? On March 12, 2010, a diverse group of scholars, designers, property owners, developers and retailers convened at a workshop sponsored by Chicago Loop Alliance to contemplate this very intersection of technology, commerce, and human imagination.
Led by Studio/lab’s Marcia Lausen, Anijo Mathew from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Carlos Martinez and Elva Rubio from Gensler, participants were encouraged to share their personal vision for the Loop and explore how signage and graphics could be utilized to create a sense of place and personality. A group of University of Illinois Chicago School of Art and Design graduate students documented and compiled the impressions, weaving them into a presentation of insights and design ideas to be shared with CLA constituent audiences.
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Real Pirates On State Street
In 2009 Chicago Loop Alliance partnered with The Field Museum to bring the Real Pirates Streetscape to State Street, with the goal of activating and beautifying the Loop by enhancing the pedestrian experience.
Life-size pirates located in planters up-and-down State Street surprised passersby. In addition, CLA members created special discounts to celebrate the installation, driving additional traffic to member businesses.
State Street Beat
CLA partnered with the American Heart Association to present State Street Beat, promoting “Go Red For Women”–an American Heart Association program that highlights the potentially life-changing choices that women make every day and inspiring women and families to make choices to beat heart disease.
The heart of the program was an architectural-scale video projection shown on the south wall of the John Marshall Law School at Pritzker Park (State and Van Buren). "Heartbeat", along with two other animations, "Crush" and "Love Loop", were experienced nightly from sunset to sunrise February 1-March 1, 2009.
As part of the citywide celebration honoring Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, Chicago Loop Alliance launched an engaging installation highlighting Burnham’s historic vision for Chicago while providing an intuitive outlook for our City’s future.
The result of partnerships between CLA and major cultural institutions, the artistic and creative installations along State Street celebrated major events and exhibitions during 2009, installed in 9 blocks of State Street from Congress Parkway to Wacker Drive.