Left: A mural spanning two floors features 25 di-bond panels that represent Starbucks’ 25-year presence in the Windy City. A collaboration
with artist Olalekan Jeyifous, the mural features coffee vignettes inset into the tree, with the Chicago skyline beyond. Right: A balcony crossing
the airspace of the sidewalk below gives customers a prime vantage point for observing street life on the prominent corner.
in mind of trains. To reference the area,
they specified boxcar wood cladding for
nearly all wood throughout the space.
Wisconsin Built rose to the challenge, finding greenheart planks salvaged from the
floors of decommissioned boxcars. The
Deerfield, Wis.-based manufacturer milled
the planks to ensure uniform thickness
and width, then stained and finished them.
“We used it on many applications,” says
Dale Turner, account manager at Wisconsin
Built. “We cut and applied it to the face of
several fixture exteriors and interiors, used
it as flooring in the elevator, and applied it to
walls and ceilings.” Altogether, approximately
3,000 square feet of the reclaimed boxcar
wood was used in the store, Turner says.
An extremely durable wood, the greenheart also adds character to the space with
its numerous screw holes. Other locally
relevant materials include locally sourced
reclaimed brick, cast-iron newel posts, and
repurposed furniture and decor pieces.
Along with poured concrete and stained
floors, they contribute to the “tactile mate-
riality and constructive quality that are
hallmarks of Starbucks stores,” Guze says.
Green building and local applicability aren’t
the only significant aspects of the Starbucks
design philosophy, of course. There’s also
the coffee. Even in the coffee storytelling,
however, the team seeks local connections.
In a mural that spans both floors, an oak
tree providing shade to a coffee tree plays
off the Oak Street locale as well as the company’s organic, shade-grown coffee. It also
symbolizes the area’s longtime support of
Starbucks, while the mural’s 25 di-bond
panels represent Starbucks’ 25-year presence in the Windy City. A collaboration
with artist Olalekan Jeyifous, the mural
features coffee vignettes inset into the
tree, with the Chicago skyline beyond.
It’s framed with 12-by-12-inch direct-to-substrate-printed travertine tiles depicting oak leaves, coffee cherries, and a coffee
bean in a style inspired by Chicago’s architectural tradition.
Also marking the brand’s silver anniversary in the city is a large sign hand-painted by Chicago artist Paul Punke on the
second-floor brick wall. Punke also created
the tactile branded presence in the vestibule—a siren measuring five feet in diameter and made of over 7,000 nail heads.
Other coffee-inspired artwork in the
• A hand-painted world map on the first-floor back wall highlights the coffee belt.
Baristas show the latest featured coffee on
a sliding chalkboard door.
• A hanging mobile by sculptor Rodger
Stevens over the community table depicts
in abstract the growth of a coffee cherry.
• A hand-painted graphic wrapping the
elevator walls presents Starbuck’s Roast
Curve in a message communicated in one
• A hand-chalked exploded diagram of
a French press in the upstairs lounge highlights one method of creating the handcrafted beverages in the store.