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John Koga, Vice President of Planning and Design at Irvine Company

Since our inception, Irvine Company has been an agile participant in the real estate ecosystem, anticipating and adapting to the needs of our customers. John Koga, Vice President of Planning and Design at Irvine Company, discusses how design in Chicago allows us to further our human-centric approach to supporting customer success — in both work and life.

Modernism sets the stage

After Chicago’s Great Fire in 1871, early modern architects had the rare opportunity to rebuild the city. Modernist masters Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright pioneered a new, experimental class of style in Chicago during this time, setting precedent for the rest of the world. “When Irvine Company entered the Chicago market in 2010,” Koga shares, “we were inspired by the city’s role as the center of architectural richness and heritage within the U.S., unique with its vibrant and varied history of architectural styles.” 

Irvine Company’s Chicago collection — 300 North LaSalle, One North Wacker and 71 South Wacker — follow suit, having been designed in the timeless Modernist aesthetic by renowned modern-day architects Pickard Chilton, Lohan Associates and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, respectively. Koga explains, “It’s a point of pride for Irvine Company to own skyscrapers that are significant players in the history of Chicago architecture, and that help define the extraordinary downtown skyline. Beyond the architectural facades, we are inspired by how critical design qualities are expressed, including the clean floor plate configurations, the iconic Modernist curtain walls and the overall clarity and cleanliness of the architecture. Across the entire Irvine Company portfolio, design leads the charge for our human-centric approach to the workplace — allowing for high levels of flexibility and customization that provide an unparalleled customer experience.”

The role of environment

Part of Irvine Company’s approach to investing in Chicago has been understanding the physical environment. Koga says, “While many parts of the California market are defined by open, sunny spaces, Chicago is a dense city with unpredictable, inclement weather conditions. Acknowledging these conditions gives us a better understanding of the demographics of our workforce, and the capability to adapt and change in response.”

“Chicago’s inclement weather,” Koga explains, “determines that convenience is even more important for the workplace, and that on-site amenities are critical. As a result, we continue to invest heavily in the three Chicago towers to ensure they provide proximal convenience through on-site dining options, state-of-the-art fitness and wellness facilities and elite conference centers and customer lounges.”

The universal workplace

“Overall,” Koga believes, “we focus on customer-centric solutions that enable businesses’ success and that address our customers’ needs by observing and responding to universal workplace trends that go well beyond any individual city or submarket. We’re able to do so because we’re nimble when it comes to understanding our customers,” Koga describes, “simply because we have a multidimensional view of the workplace. Design gives us an avenue for expression, but ultimately it is our vision that determines how we operate. Our emphasis on live-work balance influences how we approach our workplace design — understanding that it’s not just about how our customers work, but about the multiple factors that affect their daily existence.”

Our human-centric mindset keeps customer success at the core of the Irvine Company Experience; as Koga put, “That’s our DNA, that’s what drives us, and that’s what makes us successful, and makes others successful as a result.” 

Exceptional Today. Even Better Tomorrow.®