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Corporate Concepts dishing DIRTT

Corporate Concepts dishing DIRTT

by Karl Sorensen

The contrast is remarkable. 

Quietly situated between two ongoing projects on the 23rd floor of Chicago’s 205 West Wacker, Corporate Concepts' offices embody the juxtaposition between traditional and progressive construction methodology. Down the hall, laborers busily scurry across plywood laden corridors, carrying freshly cut gypsum to recently framed walls. But at Corporate Concepts, it’s just another day for its personnel, comfortably insulated from the outside work by their own state-of-the-art, prefabricated modular wall system.

Whereas traditional practices require timely design, procurement and installation sequences, forward-thinking firms now are adopting modular product lines that reduce installation processes and speed up move-in dates.

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“In terms of wall systems, drywall will always be drywall,” says Ryan Zerante, Corporate Concepts’ architectural specialist.  “If you want cheap, functionless walls that can be cut into place and do nothing for sustainability or efficiency, drywall will always reign supreme."  

For those owners who want more, however, Zerante steers them to DIRTT Environmental Solutions, a Calgary-based manufacturer of customized and pre-fabricated modular systems. Emphasizing its use of technology, the firm offers sustainability, progressive design and competitive pricing for walls, flooring, millwork and more. As DIRTT describes itself online, "We are 'Doing It Right This Time' because last time with conventional construction, the computer power didn't exist to go from design, to real-time 3D, to specifications, to the production floor."

Similarly, sustainability is also a priority now, and processes have evolved to where the manufacture of customized office spaces is much more affordable.

To get its products from factory to project site, DIRTT relies on vendors such as Corporate Concepts to sell its high-tech systems.  Both companies have been successfully working together in the Chicago market for the past five years, notes Zerante.


Why DIRTT solutions?

Ease of Use

DIRTT offers completely customizable, modular systems that snap or hang into place.  For walls, installers secure track systems against the floor and ceilings, then hang DIRTT’s functional, insulated and STC-rated wall panels into the correct position. 


Since DIRTT eliminates the need for on-site adjustments, any project’s safety hazards, labor hours and timelines are significantly reduced.  These savings translate into higher project turnarounds and profits.


Customers can choose wall systems that function anywhere from white-board surfaces and vegetation housing to storage units and television monitors.  The flooring systems incorporate a low-profile, access panel design that allows power and data infrastructures.  For doors, DIRTT utilizes non-handed configurations and a multitude of designs and swing or non-swing options to meet specific needs of the client.  The functionality of DIRTT products provides intelligence and efficiency to every surface.


After construction is complete and as a result of DIRTT’s modular nature, fixing below-surface issues and performing future renovation projects are simple endeavors.  Just pull off the panel and make the necessary adjustments.

What’s the process?


“There’s no catalog, everything is custom,” Zerante added.  “In fact, the only thing that isn’t custom about DIRTT is their competitive pricing thanks to their state-of-the-art computer program, ICE.”  When Corporate Concepts receives architectural designs or conceptual visions from their clients, they can build-out a three-dimensional space within the ICE software.  From there, the project team can review and input DIRTT’s virtual product-line into the rendered space giving life to the design.  Once the ICE design is complete and before a single item is purchased, clients can virtually fly-through their design spaces and collect important project information such as product data, installation instructions and final project prices.  “The time between design completion in ICE and materials arriving on-site is usually no more than four weeks,” explained Zerante.

You would be a good candidate for DIRTT if…

  1. You’re a designer in public and commercial environments (offices, higher education, healthcare, etc.)
  2. You’re a owner of new vertical construction or renovation projects
  3. You desire functional, sustainable and flexible surfaces



Karl Sorensen

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