The bustling suburb of Northbrook Illinois is home to many corporate offices and industrial spaces, including the sprawling site of the Optics Planet, Inc. home office and showroom. They are recognized as one of the world’s leading online retailers of a wide selection of optics solutions, including sport optics, military gear, scientific products, eyewear and much more. Over the past several years we have worked closely with them to create several solutions for their commercial space, both inside and out, and they’re always so happy with the results that they keep coming back to us when new needs arise. The relationship has been really great for us as well, as we have had the privilege to work on some really interesting and challenging installations for them.
Custom Grand Staircase
One of the first projects we worked on for Optics Planet was the grand staircase inside of their building. The custom design needed to incorporate their company colors of silver and red, as well as not block the view of the showroom and offices. We mimicked the modern design throughout the rest of the building and created horizontal bars for the railings to allow lots of light and air through. We incorporated a short landing into the design of the custom staircase to flow better with the surroundings and added matching railings for the upstairs mezzanine area to complete the flow of the look. The treads on the stairs were created with a texture that would allow grip for security and by again incorporating the silver and red in the stairs we ensured that everything matched the overall feel of the place seamlessly.
Matching ADA Railing and Handrail
They loved what we did with the custom staircase so much that they called us again a few months later to create a similar set of custom ADA compliant railings for the front door of their office. We used the same railing design as we did for the staircase inside and paired it with a custom handrail that complimented the design well. We painted the handrail that same contrasting red to incorporate their signature colors with a bold look.
The railings we designed, fabricated and installed for them accommodated the wheelchair ramp to the right of the front door as well as the few steps leading up on the left side. Both sides wrapped around to accommodate the few steps leading straight to the main door in the front, for a balanced look that matched the building and brand design flawlessly.
Incredible Awning Installation
The most challenging and most fun installation we’ve done for Optics Planet, Inc. so far has been the massive custom awning installation that we created to frame their front entrance. This completely changed the aesthetic of their building and ensured that it would boldly stand out against all the other rather plain commercial buildings in the area.
The design we had created for them was so massive that after we created the separate pieces in our workshop, we needed a team of people, a forklift and a huge truck to transport everything to the site. Once there we again had to utilize the assistance of the forklifts to prop up the pieces in order to weld them together.
Because the pieces were welded on site, we had to do the final painting of the main elements on location as well, but our team managed to get several coats of their iconic red color onto the pieces beautifully without any issues. The painting didn’t just incorporate their signature color for that perfect aesthetic that they were going for, but also provided a protective coating to the structure that will prevent rust and general wear and tear involved with exposure to the harsh Chicago seasons.
It took again a team of people as well as an industrial crane rented from Gatwood to set the two large structures into place framing the front door. The pieces were securely mounted onto prepared cement structures around the front steps and we created and installed a sturdy i-beam “shelf” to anchor the tops of them to the roof.
We wanted the support beam to blend into the background and not detract from the overall look, so we painted it black, and we think we pulled that off pretty well.
Once the main structures were in place we got to work creating the actual awning that would be installed over the door and would act as the actual sun blocker for the entrance. We created a beautiful arched frame for the awning that provided a fresh light pop against the heavier red installations. This time as it was a bit more manageable, we made sure to apply several coats of white paint to the structure in our shop before transporting and installing it.
The awning design was anchored to the building itself and also had a set of tension cables connecting it to the decorative installations we had settled into place earlier for additional support. We also incorporated a set of mounts that would hold frosted glass pieces to actually block the sun and complete that aspect of the design. Once everything was in place with the awning, we got to work on the finishing touches that would really elevate the overall design to a new level.
We created two enormous flagpoles that would be set into each of the structures, as well as four sets of custom holders that would support and keep the poles in place through all sorts of weather. We drilled the holes for the supports on site to ensure that we had the placement and all the angles just right and again with the help of several team members and a forklift we were able to hoist the poles into place.
Every element of the design, down to the last detail, was carefully and thoughtfully executed. As we wanted to ensure that the flagpoles would be fully functional, we incorporated a pair of anchors that would hold the woven rope allowing the flags themselves to be raised and lowered as needed, but also to ensure that they were fully secure once in place.
They mounted the American flag onto one of the poles and a flag with the company logo onto the second one. Both poles were topped with golden finials and beautifully completed the elaborate design of this construction. The client was thrilled with how everything came together. Our team made sure to take every element of the process into consideration and because we were prepared for every possible situation, the entire installation process went very smoothly. We always make sure that we plan in such a way that if any issues ever do pop up, we have a quick and responsive solution readily available.
It was a fun challenge to work out for our team as well and we love how everything came out. The awning casts a welcome shadow onto the entrance, but the overall design does so much more than just that one essential function. We were there for this project every step of the way, start to finish. We collaborated with the client on the design, worked on the shop drawings for the finished piece, worked on every part of the fabrication process, and finally managed every part of the installation process to ensure that everything went off without a hitch. The work of art that we have created ensures that this business truly stands out and draws the eye in the neighborhood, and is a true testament to the versatility of wrought iron as a medium.
All three projects featured here were constructed entirely out of wrought iron, from the grand staircase to the elaborate awning, and we encourage you to look through our gallery for other commercial projects we have done in the past for inspiration and an idea of what’s possible. If you have any ideas for something similar or an entirely custom concept for your commercial property, give us a call today and our designers will be thrilled to make your vision a reality!