Provost Studio Helps 360 Chicago Make Visitor Experience Truly Extraordinary

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A Branded Environment Makeover Tells Chicago’s Story

The new exhibit at John Hancock Center prepares visitors for 360 degree views of Chicago with a 'virtual tour' of the city through multi-media displays.

The TILT attraction at the 360 Chicago Observation Deck (the renamed John Hancock Observatory) celebrated its first birthday this May. Now the journey to the 94th floor of the Hancock Building is even more exciting, starting with the new visitor experience on the renovated Ground Floor.

This new space and its exhibits opened on May 25th. It provides a visual and graphic tour through Chicago and the neighborhoods that visitors will see when they reach the observation deck.

Peter Provost of Provost Studio, the project’s Experience Designer and Interior Designer, worked with a cross-disciplinary team to make the branded environment a success.

What is a Branded Environment?

A branded environment is a compelling way to tell a client’s story, through graphics, media and interior finishes within three-dimensional space. In this case, the space is telling the story of Chicago. Designing a space like this is not without challenges…

“When Provost Studio came onto the project, BRC Imagination Arts had completed the experience concept work,” says Peter Provost. “So from a content perspective, an outline was in place for what to include in each experience area...”

Provost continues, “The challenge then was how best to express the stories in a visually engaging way. Making them digestible to a wide age-range of visitors, in short chunks of time.”

Four Themed Experience Zones

After purchasing tickets, visitors head toward the elevators leading to the 94th floor. Along the way, the path weaves through four themed zones. They can explore Chicago and its neighborhoods through large-scale environmental graphics and multi-media presentations.

The first area offers a broad view of Chicago, including a short video called, “Chicago in 4 Minutes.” Each area then gets more focused, until the fourth and final offers specific details of the city at the neighborhood level.

These exhibits provide a framework and add anticipation for the stunning views of Chicago. Views the visitor will experience first-hand from 1000 feet above.

Media as the Visitor’s Mentor

“Every visitor brings a different level of knowledge of the city to the front door,” says Provost. “To ensure a deeper, more meaningful experience for everyone, we gathered a team of experts in content development and copywriting, image research and curation, audio-visual media integration, graphic design, and interiors.”

The successful content development for the exhibits and the entire interior space is the product of this integrated design team. They worked side-by-side; looking at the content of each exhibit from varying angles to ensure it will align with the audience.

360 Chicago’s Re-Branding

Since acquiring the observatory in 2012, Montparnasse 56 Group added the TILT feature last year, as the first phase of 360 Chicago's re-branding. Along with a renovated Café and new sunset viewing area on the observation deck, the new ground floor visitor’s experience is the second re-branding phase.

Other project team members included:

  •     Architect of Record: Gensler
  •     General Contractor: Turner Construction
  •     Exhibit Concept Design: BRC Imagination Arts
  •     Exhibit Fabrication & Management: Chicago Scenic Studios
  •     Content Curator & Research: Fleming Museum Consulting
  •     Multi-media Design: Silver Oaks Communications
  •     A/V Integration: AVI Systems
  •     Exhibit Lighting Design: Anne Kustner Lighting Design

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About Provost Studio
Provost Studio, Inc. is a cross-disciplinary design firm with international reach, focused on interior architecture and branded environments. They help clients communicate their unique identity, values and culture by creating narrative-rich interior environments that engage the senses.
Founded in 2011, by architectural designer, Peter Provost, the studio has offices in Raleigh, North Carolina and New York City. Learn more about their work at

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Media Contact:
Sara Skirboll, PR/Media Coordinator

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Sara Skirboll
Provost Studio
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