Light projection project planned for Merchandise Mart
Elyssa CherneyContact Reporter
One of the most iconic buildings along the Chicago River will soon become the city’s largest art canvas.
Starting in 2018, images will be projected on the Merchandise Mart’s nearly 3-acre river-facing wall, Merchandise Mart and city officials announced Sunday. The art installation is being designed to illuminate the Chicago River.
Publicizing the privately funded plan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the project reflects the city’s commitments to investing more in public art and increasing access to the recently extended 1.25-mile Riverwalk.
“The redevelopment of Chicago’s riverfront is vital to our ongoing efforts to attract 55 million visitors annually to the City of Chicago by 2020, creating new jobs and injecting millions of dollars into our local economy,” Emanuel said in a news release.
The Merchandise Mart is 25 stories tall and stretches across two blocks, according to Myron Maurer, chief operating officer of Vornado Realty Trust, which owns the building. In addition to the river, the building is bounded by Kinzie, North Orleans and North Wells streets.
A company drafted to take up the project has done similar work for the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the Empire State Building in New York City and other landmarks across the world.
A+I architects and creative studio Obscura Digital, the firms working on the project, are studying the feasibility of accomplishing the feat. City officials say the project also aligns with their mission of increasing public art, which in 2017 will draw $1.5 million in city funding.
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