United Way of Metro Chicago

The United Way Chicago wanted to move to a new centrally located office, ultimately selecting the Merchandise Mart because of the access to trains, public amenity spaces, and an open environment. In addition to accessibility, the client wanted to reduce their overall footprint by 35% and prioritize community gathering spaces. LJC designed its new office to celebrate the organization’s mission and provide an atmosphere for connection and collaboration.

The center of the design focused on a sizeable community gathering space, with the café being adjacent to the reception area serving as the entry point. This space encourages people to come together and foster a sense of connection. To optimize the budget, the team reused furniture from United Way’s previous location and purchased used furniture from another company looking to offload its interior furnishings. This approach not only helped to keep costs low but also served as a sustainable solution.

The organization values diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of its work, and as a result, the overall M/WBE business participation was 55%. LJC partnered with M/WBE vendors for furniture and engineering consulting and worked closely with Skender to meet the requirements of minority-owned business participation for subcontractor trades. To further highlight the importance of community within their space, United Way partnered with a local artist to create a mural featuring their work’s culture, which adds a meaningful touch to the space’s overall design.


United Way of Metro Chicago


Chicago, IL


17,500 SF


  • Interior Design