Transparent separation was seen throughout the numerous showrooms at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, IL. From floor to ceiling screen that stretched across the design floor to the simple linear rope dividers, the studios, and showrooms of the 4,000,000 square foot of the iconic Design Center used creative techniques to segment their spaces.
The Steelcase Studio on the 3rd floor of the Design Center revamped an existing structure by wrapping the forms on different materials. Using multi-colored, geometric heavy graphic vinyl, it gave depth to the room divider that was enhanced by the additional fabric covers.
Bold and subtle pops of color were highlighting the room as well. Such as the brightly painted teal metal frames in a neutral room in the image below. As well as the color blocking in the lattice woven strips of cool colors in the spiral room.
Contrasting the bold impressions of the room dividers above, more subtle approaches we used to delineate other showrooms. Such as the large black curtain curves around the showroom to divide the space, lending well to a smooth walking transition from area to area.
From the sheer to the opaque, fabric curtain on various materials were used to divide spaces. From the barely there transparent panels of fabric that allows minimal privacy while promoting curiosity. Such as the multipaneled fabric curtain in the image below.
Another beautiful trend is Macramé or macrame is a form of textile-making using knotting rather than weaving or knitting. Its primary knots are the square knot (a variant of the reef knot) and forms of “hitching”: various combinations of half hitches. Such as the intricately, hand-woven black rope screen that added texture and depth to the space.
But thickly woven braids of rope and fabric aren’t always necessary. Sometimes, just simply stringing loops of rope can deliver a softer feel.
With so many innovative manufacturing/fabricating techniques emerging, the possibilities are truly endless. For example the laser cut, felt screens in the images below so the opportunities to cut out any shape in just about any material. But once the forms are cut out from one screen, they can be applied to another to create an entirely new look.
But expensive equipment isn’t necessary to create a unique structure. With some imagination and creative planning, layering wooden slats can deliver an impressive look. Such as the room dividers to the left. By using spacers and alternating different sizes of wood, a subtle and effective room divider is brought to life.
However, there are just some fabricating techniques best left to machines. For example, the lattice-like look of a solid plywood intricately cut to highlight the beauty within the layers.
Also a fun trend was creating padded room dividers. Taking a cue from upholstery, these dividers are cushioned with noise softening materials to become from aesthetically and functionally beautiful.
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