When conceptualizing the design for an international airport, it goes without saying that privacy and security are high on the list of design priorities. There will be certain spaces that cannot be viewed by foot traffic, but does that mean that we have to sacrifice transmittable light in order to close in these areas?
John Kolb, the associate Vice President and Architect at Epstein Global decided that it did not. When planning for a renovation and expansion of the existing international terminal at Chicago’s busy O’Hare airport, Kolb was faced with the juxtaposition of designing an area that needed to be out of view and inaccessible by foot, directly beside an area that would be used for daylighting. His team was able to achieve both of these requirements by using a material that could provide both light transmission as well as an opaque, highly secure area: glass.
With help from the artistic minds at Thirst Design Communication, they were able to create a design that was variable enough to have natural light coming in from the gorgeous skylights above, and then taper down into a completely private security area down the hallway. The completed design was consistent throughout and the aesthetic was not sacrificed, as they found a way to accomplish both form and function on this project. Not only that, the design team was able to completely customize the design, using glass to tell the story of the space being created. Epstein Global decided that this space was going to represent people in transit; showing travelers where they were coming from and where they were going. The artistic pattern used in this design was inspired by this NASA aerial image of the Chicago area. The gorgeous, eye catching blue tones that act to obscure the security area represent the water in Lake Michigan. The mural continues down the hallway as it shows the beaches, which then perfectly meld into the city lights, and finally out to the rural areas that surround the metropolis.
This design, expertly crafted by Epstein Global and Thirst Design Communication and commissioned by Westfield, perfectly illustrates how catering to design function does not have to mean sacrificing aesthetics.
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