A Chicago Icon Rediscovers Its Roots

When Sears Holdings Corporation — the parent company of Sears and K-Mart — moved its operations from downtown Chicago to the suburbs, it sought not only to cut costs but to surround itself with a uniquely Midwestern environment. Sears selected Hoffman Estates, Ill., as its new home and created the Prairie Stone office park, where LYD crafted an identity system for the iconic company.

Moving from the 30-year-old Sears Tower, Sears and its partners were working with a blank slate at Prairie Stone. Landscape architects JJR restored the prairie grasses and plants, while LYD turned to the nearby rock quarries to provide a basis for Prairie Stone’s three main wayfinding elements.

The signs created by LYD combine rock and metal to highlight the naturalistic personality of the office park. Vertical stones form monuments that are visible from the street and highway. Quarried stones anchor the signage, which uses an arts-and-crafts typeface to evoke the artistic heritage of the area.

A departure from the corporate Sears Tower look and feel, Prairie Stone embraces nature and history to create a unique work environment on the outskirts of the Windy City.