Chicago 360 Goes Heavy With Digital Display In Update To 94th Floor Entry Experience

May 1, 2024 by Dave Haynes

The Chicago 360 attraction high up in one of Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers has opened a new immersive entry kicks off the visitor experience, using a lot of digital done in interesting and offbeat ways.

The 5,000 sq. ft, gives visitors a way to explore the history of the city, its iconic architecture and distinctive neighborhoods, before they get to the main attraction – views of the city and Lake Michigan from the 94th floor of what was known for many years as the John Hancock Center, at 875 N. Michigan.

The project was put together by a local creative tech agency, Next/Now.

The ribbon was only cut in recent days and Next/Now doesn’t appear to have any PR talking about the opening, but it did produce a piece after winning the project that goes into what was going to be done.

The journey to the 94th floor observation deck will feature digital and experiential based concepts that invite visitors to learn about Chicago’s many cultures and connect with the neighborhoods and people of the city before seeing the streets of Chicago from 1,030 feet above. The experience will fully capture Chicago, incorporating themes such as the city’s history, Lake Michigan, cultural celebrations, street festivals, sports, architecture, music, cuisine and more.

“The journey to the 94th floor is as important as the epic views our guests experience once they step off the elevators,” said 360 CHICAGO Managing Director Nichole Benolken. “As one of Chicago’s most popular attractions, it is important that our experience reflects the vibrant and diverse city that it resides in. Collaborating with a Chicago-based firm was the best way to tell the city’s authentic stories and treasure its unique traits.”

Guests will be welcomed by a hallway of animated typography featuring a variety of welcoming messages in different languages, insider tips and Chicago-related facts and -isms. From there, guests can engage with several Chicago-centric installations including: an immersive cinema that explores Chicago’s history and the 875 N Michigan building; an animated photo gallery room with accompanying audio and lighting that displays key moments and celebrations and more.

“With our shared passion for innovation and design, this collaboration promises a transformative experience for visitors,” said Alan Hughes, Founder of Next/Now. “The iconic 875 N Michigan structure has long been a beacon in Chicago’s skyline. We’re honored to play a role in enhancing its guest experience, merging the storied history of the building with a fresh, immersive design.”

Another major installation is the “Lake Effect,” which will encompass the elevator bay, connecting guests to the city of Chicago from the Lake to the Sky. Animated light modes will correspond with weather pattern studies, mimicking the ever-changing nature of the lake conditions. The building’s iconic, diagonalized X-bracing is also recognized by a 5 ft. tall building model, plus several design aspects throughout, to pay homage to the original architecture of the 875 N Michigan building, which was the first of its kind.

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