Burberry Chicago

The New Chicago Flagship

In the early 2000's Burberry began a global transition to re-establish the Burberry name as an international brand. Christopher Bailey has been heralded as the visionary who led this transformation as the Chief Creative Officer at Burberry in London.

One of the core strategies of Burberry's transformation has been the re-introduction of its core products through prominent flagship properties. Zahner has been involved as a facade supplier for many concept stores and flagship properties as a result of the high-quality craft and bespoke design systems that give these stores their identity. The latest Burberry store was completed in December 2012: the Burberry Chicago.

Zahner was brought onto the Burberry Chicago project to develop a black stainless steel facade and lighting system which would meet the highest standards of museum-quality metalwork desired by Burberry. Burberry's in-house designers led the team, which included Callison Bartluce Architects in New York, Solomon Cordwell Buenz as the architect of record in Chicago, and Heintges Associates as the building envelope and curtain wall consultant.

The structure features Burberry's signature check, rotated and fabricated as three-dimensional forms. The check motif has been a part of Burberry's core identity since the early twentieth century. By simplifying the classic check as a solid graphic and expanding it as into three-dimensional form, the design team was able to successfully unify the brand's core identity as an architectural icon.

“What I love are the contradictions of the city. It’s a very artistic city, yet it’s also a real business city. It’s an imposing city, yet one with a lot of green space and an attention to outdoor sculpture. Chicago feels like a place where there’s an admiration for something that has a long heritage, and that of course appeals to us.”

—  Burberry Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey, Michigan Avenue Magazine.

Burberry Chicago Flagship store on Michigan Avenue

Burberry Chicago flagship store on Michigan Avenue.
Photo courtesy Burberry.

Burberry Flagshi store lit at night

Burberry Chicago flagship store with lighting system at night.
Photo courtesy Burberry.

Building the New Chicago Flagship

The facade is a unitized system featuring a black PVD stainless steel surface to create the Burberry's three-dimensional check. PVD stainless steel can be colorized to meet a variety of tones, and is often used for luxury items such as timepieces and luxury architectural fixtures.

The facade for Burberry Chicago is the second in a series of flagship stores to use the dark reflective material. The first was in Shanghai, produced by a local manufacturer in China. Burberry provided to Zahner a small detail from the original facade. The sample was intelligently crafted but it didn't mesh with the Zahner manufacturing process.

Zahner's design and engineering team approached the details from a different perspective, employing heavier gauge stainless steel, v-notched corners, and a interlocking system for efficient installation of the metal panel design. The system is also deeply set, providing a strong sculptural feel to the building's architectural accents.

The Zahner-fabricated mockup for the Burberry facade in Kansas City

The design team visits Zahner in Kansas City to look at the Burberry mockup.

Mockup design photo.

The Burberry mockup at Zahner in Kansas City.

Burberry Chicago during construction

Burberry Chicago during construction.
Photo courtesy ArchitectureChicago PLUS.

Elevation view of the Burberry Flagship store in Chicago

Elevation view of the Burberry Chicago flagship store.
Photo © Robert Heishman.

Elevation view of the Burberry Flagship store in Chicago

Detail of the Burberry facade in Chicago.
Photo © Robert Heishman.

Burberry Chicago Flagship store on Michigan Avenue

Burberry Chicago flagship store on Michigan Avenue.
Photo © Robert Heishman.

Burberry Chicago Flagship store on Michigan Avenue

Burberry Chicago flagship store on Michigan Avenue.
Photo © Robert Heishman.

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