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Spertus Institute
for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Spertus Shop

Chicago, Illinois

Project PDF

Let There Be Light


To create the Spertus Institute’s gift shop, we wanted to reinforce the recognizable vocabulary of this unique architectural gem located on Chicago’s historic Michigan Avenue. The faceted and folded glass façade indeed resembles a cut diamond in a wall of stone rising like a cliff across Grant Park, expressing the light—both physical and metaphorical—of Jewish culture and learning. As part of this vision, the Spertus Shop was intended to be Chicago’s premier destination for Judaica.


The many faces of the building’s façade suggested to us the many facets of Jewish culture, and inspired a set of unique elements for the shop’s environment. The pyramidal glass shapes brought to mind unity and strength, and the glass itself suggests a transparency that reflects the accessibility and openness of the Institute.

This perspective translated into everything—from the surface details to spatial concepts, from fixture and furniture choices, to the finishes and materials we chose. We developed multifaceted motifs for the all-glass storefront, the fixture configurations, and the perimeter casework, creating a welcoming atmosphere of hospitality to all people.

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