Wayfair, Wilmette, Illinois
Wayfair Chicago store exterior
May 28, 2024

Gensler Designs Wayfair’s First Large-Format Store in Chicago

The Design Concept Developed by Gensler Aims To Revolutionize the Home Shopping Experience, Transforming How Wayfair Customers Shop for Their Homes

CHICAGO — Gensler announces its partnership with Wayfair to design the brand’s first large-format store in Chicago. Now open to the public, the two-story, 150,000-square-foot space offers an immersive shopping experience that sets a new standard for retail experiences and makes customers feel at home.

The design concept developed by Gensler aims to revolutionize the home shopping experience, transforming how Wayfair customers shop for homeware. The aesthetic reflects Wayfair’s playful and inviting brand personality, characterized by a warm and bright palette with pops of the brand’s signature purple. The store design also enables Wayfair to curate immersive and branded experiences for its customers.

Adam Katz, Head of Physical Retail at Wayfair, said: “Our vision for this new store was that it would bring the Wayfair brand to life for our customers in an entirely new way, and Gensler has helped us make that vision a reality. The store’s design enables us to translate the online Wayfair shopping experience that our customers know and love into a truly innovative physical retail experience.” Central to the design was the creation of ‘The Wayborhood’ – a creative approach to categorizing the 19 departments in the store into themed neighborhoods including across furniture, home accessories, and appliances. Showcasing a vast selection of products, each neighborhood provides a simple route for customers to explore the store and engage with products across various categories.

Lara Marrero, Retail & Consumer Experience Leader, Principal at Gensler, said: “It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Wayfair to develop a strategy to bring their first large-format store to life. At Gensler, we are committed to designing innovative spaces that make a meaningful impact on the human experience. We are delighted to have created a store that not only elevates the home shopping experience for Wayfair customers but also contributes to the local community.”

Throughout The Wayborhood, customers can explore a number of show kitchens and design studios where they can interact with products firsthand. From kitchen design consultations to hands-on demonstrations, customers are offered personalized experiences with expert guidance. The innovative Shower Experience allows customers to test water pressure in real time and consider various tap options for their home.

Aaron Birney, Lifestyle Sector Leader, Principal at Gensler, said: “We are excited to unveil Wayfair’s first store in Chicago. We partnered with the team to reimagine this vacant department store, transforming it into a destination where customers could feel at home. Utilizing a vibrant, colorful palette, every space has been thoughtfully created with a personal touch to enhance the community in which it serves. In order to create a transformative home shopping experience, we integrated bespoke, innovative touch points to ease decision-making, and social spaces for customers to meet, connect, and immerse themselves in this new shopping experience.”

Specialized design centers have been integrated into the store, catering to specific customer needs, and providing high-touch service and expertise in areas including upholstery, kitchens, and more. Customers can also collaborate with specialists to realize their vision and create the perfect living space. A dedicated concierge has been created to provide assistance, ensuring seamless navigation and that customers can find the help they need effortlessly.

Gensler has also designed social hubs within and on the exterior of the new retail building. Dubbed “The Porch,” a café space invites visitors to relax, socialize, and extend their stay within the store. The integration of a front plaza in the design further cultivates a sense of togetherness in the local community, offering a space for gatherings and activities.

Wayfair’s first large-format store, designed by Gensler, marks a significant milestone in the brand’s omnichannel journey to meet customers where and how they prefer to shop.

About Gensler
At Gensler, the value of our work stems from its positive impact on the human experience. We are a dynamic and collaborative design firm uniting creativity, research, and innovation to solve complex problems for our clients. Our work challenges conventional ideas about architecture and the built environment. We aren’t just designing buildings — we are reimagining cities and places that make a difference in people’s lives. Founded in 1965, Gensler has built a team of 6,000 professionals who partner with clients in over 100 countries each year. Everything we do is guided by our mission: to create a better world through the power of design.

Media Contact:
Svetlana Leu
PR Leader Europe

Rosa Muniz
PR Director, Los Angeles