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The core of a useful conference center is flexibility. How can it adapt to fit the needs of a building full of widely diverse companies? How can it make each company feel as if the space is theirs? How can it do what a conference center should do best: encourage collaboration?

71 South Wacker’s newest conference and event center, venue71, was designed for any kind of customer, from law firms to tech start-ups. Global architecture and design firm, Gensler’s Design Director, Dan McCloskey explains, “A neutral background can allow the space to be flexible and enable people to collaborate in different ways.” Whether it’s a classroom or lecture style set-up or even an innovation breakout session configuration, the room easily becomes what the customer needs it to be. 

Separate from the conference rooms themselves, the various zones in venue71 allow people to begin their meeting with a relaxing, conversational vibe in the pre-function area or step outside and take a break in the spacious hallway, where catering could be set up for snacking or beverages. The entire event experience is customized based on how your company envisions it.  

When transforming venue71, Irvine Company’s Chicago Construction Managers Emily Kream and Emily Fairfield state, “We wanted to embody Irvine Company’s fresh, and forward-thinking approach to design. In continuing Irvine Company’s customer-centric focus, it was crucial to uphold 71 South Wacker’s A-class, trophy-building stature by creating an above-market experience. Part of that experience is the easy-to-use and state-of-the-art technology that’s available to anyone utilizing the conference center.” 

McCloskey goes on to say, “While every customer expects technology in a conference center, what isn’t so common is making sure it’s user-friendly, seamless and not something you have to be trained on.” The conference rooms feature AV, two TV screens in each, microphones and a conference calling system, in addition to a white board and podium. All of these technological tools support the ability to hold meetings, presentations, conferences and any other event in a collaborative style. 

These high-end features also align with the modern ceiling design, which has adjustable accent lighting based on the company’s preference. Many companies utilize the room’s flexible options and change the accent lighting to match their brand identity. 

Photography of venue71 - the conference center at 71 South Wacker in Chicago, IL

“When strategic design-thinking puts the customer experience front and center,” McCloskey points out, ”the space that results encourages customers to step out of their natural day-to-day routines and behaviors into a new, stimulating space that enables them to think with a fresh perspective. The ideal conference design is one that allows people to feel comfortable, one that adapts to its participants’ taste, and one that inspires customers to collaborate with one another.” 

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