Design Firms of the Year

By Janet Groeber

Winner: CallisonRTKL

Headquarters: Seattle
Key Projects: Bloomingdale’s, Ala Moana, Honolulu (shown); Sperry, multiple locations; Chelsea Collective, multiple locations

If only CallisonRTKL had a project in Antarctica. With that, the Seattle-based design practice with 19 offices dotting the globe could show work on every continent. Yet, the firm’s bragging rights don’t end there.

“We are fortunate to have extraordinary, long-term relationships with highly regarded brands in almost every retail category and geographic region,” explains Eric Lagerberg, the firm’s executive vice president and global practice group leader for retail stores. “We work hard to maintain the respect of our clients and the stature of our client list, and I like to think retailers respect our pedigree, portfolio and the history of our success with brands they admire.”

Take recent projects for Bloomingdale’s, Sperry and Chelsea Collective, and you have a sampling of a client roster that includes a vaunted department store retailer, an iconic footwear brand relaunch targeting Millennials and a newly formed athleisure label that represents a unique collaboration between retailer and brand.

CallisonRTKL’s bench strength results from the coming together in 2015 of Callison and Baltimore–based RTKL. “The integration allowed the new entity to combine the resources from what were previously two very successful firms,” Lagerberg explains. “Our new alignment allowed us to access established offices and amazing talent in areas where historically we would have had to
work remotely.”

With a new generation of top-level retail leadership and some important new hires, Lagerberg promises the industry will be seeing much more from this group.


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