Willis Tower

Skydeck Chicago Visitor Experience

Chicago, IL

No one likes to wait in line. So when Hornall Anderson was looking for a partner to execute a new queuing experience that would celebrate a world-renowned tourist destination – Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) – the Seattle-based design firm called on Xibitz.

Comprised of three major experiences that entertain and educate visitors as they wait to ascend to the famed 103rd floor, the Skydeck queue was part of a massive renovation of the iconic landmark, which sought to marry the tower’s legacy with its vision for the future, connecting visitors to Chicago’s rich history, culture and people.

Hornall Anderson provided a beautiful and well-executed design; Xibitz provided Hornall Anderson with a turnkey partnership experience. The result transformed what had been a dark, lifeless waiting area into a richly immersive and interactive environment, with touch screen activities and exhibits, and a symphony of technology, art and strategic planning that position the tower as an integral part of the city’s identity.

DOW Jones


New York, NY

Dow Jones has an enviable brand that’s taken over 125 years to build. So when News Corp. bought the company and sought to locate several media departments in one place, it hired STUDIOS to create a new home for its New York area-based print, online, and wire services divisions.

Partnering with Design360, Xibitz supported Benchmark Construction and STUDIOS with way-finding signage and environmental branding to highlight the achievements of the media conglomerate and complement the architecture and rich history of the printing industry – all in a matter of six months.

Examples of unique materials that Xibitz and Design360 utilized include raw, etched zinc to mimic the old printing presses. Custom exhibits displaying Pulitzer Prizes and other awards employees have won over the years are integrated into wall niches and composed of blued steel, richlite and subtle lighting. And antique photographs of employees working in the newsroom many years ago are printed directly on large pieces of glass.

Empire State Building

Sustainability Exhibit

New York, NY

Ever since its completion in 1931, the Empire State Building has been one of New York’s most beloved, and one of America’s favorite icons. When its owners invested in an unprecedented retrofit to dramatically decrease the building’s energy usage, the project was worthy of news – and of a new way to educate its visitors about the positive global impact of both energy-efficient and sustainable living practices.

To bring the landmark’s energy retrofit program to life, Seattle-based design firm Hornall Anderson created an engaging experience that translates the technicalities into an easy-to-understand, compelling experience in the Observatories’ Visitors’ Center. Hornall Anderson enlisted Xibitz as its partner to combine physical components with impressive technology, and seamlessly integrate digital and sculptural elements to produce interactive exhibits.

A one-of-a-kind, narrative-driven experience blends digital media and museum-quality exhibits to communicate this monumental achievement, while inviting visitors to replicate the energy-saving measures to reduce their own carbon footprint. Through an artful combination of analog and digital storytelling, highly technical content is presented in a way that is instantly digestible for a large international audience. Granite, custom-matched to the Empire State Building’s existing interior, glass, vinyl applied graphics, video, color, and dynamic lighting all help deliver the project’s objectives. In addition, a downloadable mobile application program gives visitors the option to retrieve more information following their visit.


Executive Briefing Center

Westford, MA

When information technology pioneer IBM renovated existing facilities to create a state-of-the-art software campus, plans included an Executive Briefing Center where thousands of global clients could meet with industry experts.

Not surprisingly, IBM and developer Skanska USA Building Inc. sought to create an atmosphere that would bring company branding to the forefront. They turned to HOK-Houston for innovative design. But design creativity came with a challenge: It called for single-piece murals – one lighted and 28 feet long, and many on curved walls.

HOK tapped proven partner Xibitz for its unique ability to bring the design intent to fruition through prototyping, custom fabrication, and installation of oversized graphic lightboxes and murals. Innovative solutions include a magnetic clamping system for attaching the full-length, brushed stainless steel trim to each mural to give the graphic a seamless finish and allow for easy updates. Vinyl symbols and three-dimensional identities also adorn the space.


Discovery Walls

Northbrook, IL

There’s significant equity in a successful brand. So wherever it is expressed – to customers, employees, shareholders and other constituents – it has to be right. When Astellas Pharma US, Inc., opened its $150 million headquarters for the Americas in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, company leaders were proud to unveil a unique property that captures Astellas’ vision of “Changing Tomorrow.”

Designed and delivered by a team of top-tier architects, engineers and contractors, the facility meets Astellas’ operational requirements and reflects the company’s brand. In a matter of just months, Xibitz and Kahler Slater collaborated with the client to identify and execute the optimal way to communicate Astellas’ identity, offerings and differentiators.

The solution: A large triptych wallscape, with a center wall describing Astellas’ purpose: to change the lives of people throughout the world. Outer walls describe what Astellas does. A gridded-multi-frame layout showcases individual messages. Each image is printed on the translucent scrim, allowing backlighting to softly illuminate the corridor and enabling updates of image panels when needed.

Northwestern Mutual

Experience Center

Milwaukee, WI

The Experience Center found on the first floor of the newly renovated Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons was prefaced as the single most important part of the $450 million project. The space illustrates the rich history of Northwestern Mutual and represents a broader shift in the culture of the company to one that is focused on being a leader of the broader community. This approximately 11,000 square foot space consists of many large environmental graphics, artifact cases, and multiple interactive experiences and is frequented by staff, visitors and even used for community events. 

Custom conservation-grade cases dive into the history of NWM, displaying historical documents, artifacts, and scale models highlighting their rich 160 years. Multiple interactive elements offer detailed information on how NWM continues to serve their customers. One standout piece is the 360-degree circle theater floating 10 feet off the ground – immersing visitors in the Northwestern Mutual brand.