material bank brings brick-and-mortar sample and technology lab to theMART in chicago

chicago’s merchandise mart (theMART), is a one stop shop for interior designers — but with over a hundred different showrooms spread across 10 floors in what was once the world’s largest building, those who don’t have a lot of time to spare may find it far from a wonderland of convenience.


that’s why SANDOW, the innovative company behind interior design magazine and the material conneXion resource libraries, opened a brick-and-mortar space for its material bank platform right on theMART’s first floor. 

material bank is SANDOW’s technology and logistics platform that enables designers to search for and order material samples from hundreds of leading brands with a single click of a button. now the world’s largest architectural and design-focused material resource library, it streamlines and simplifies the sampling process while helping designers discover new materials and get creative inspiration.

while some might question the need for a physical space when the technology platform can be used by designers anywhere, SANDOW founder and CEO adam sandow knew that material bank’s benefits are just as relevant to designers at theMART as they are for those in offices and studios across the country.

the material bank lab at theMART is also more than just a real-world version of the technology. it builds on the digital platform’s capabilities with experiences only possible at the intersection of physical and digital. there are thousands of physical materials on view, which enable designers to see and feel the samples in a way they never could while sitting at their desks – unless, of course, they had vendors bringing them those thousands of samples, a process with its own host of inconveniences.

the material bank lab also features SANDOW’s cutting-edge material desk™ technology, which helps designers create digital palettes that can be sampled with a single click, as well as the smart swatch™ system, which lets designers scan QR-codes mounted by the samples to quickly get the information they need. additionally, the company’s material experts are available on site to provide immediate, hands-on assistance.

like its digital twin, material bank lab at theMART encourages sustainable practices in the industry. just as orders made through the digital platform can be returned for reuse at no cost, designers can easily drop their unneeded samples at theMART.

manufacturers, even those with space in theMART, are also reaping the benefits of material bank. not only do they benefit from greater discoverability by designers who may be unfamiliar with their products, they get the opportunity to work more efficiently with those who are. 

SANDOW is proud to bring material bank to theMART and introduce more designers and manufacturers to the platform that is quickly becoming an industry standard. industry professionals are welcome to stop by room 113 to experience the space – and the future of sampling – for themselves. click here to learn more about this ground-breaking platform.

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