The Site of 19th Century Innovation Gets Modernized
The Trades District is a bridge between Bloomington, Indiana's innovative past and promising future. Located on the historic campus of the Showers Brothers Furniture factory, the site was chosen to become a dynamic center of growth for the burgeoning local tech startup community. The backbone of the Trades District is a pedestrian oriented streetscape with public gathering space, art, integrated technology and inventive stormwater management.
Dating back to the 1850s, the Showers Brothers factory was once one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the world. It was known in its day as a hub for innovation, being one of the first businesses in the region to switch from steam to electricity and inventing the process of lamination. One of the company's slogans, "From the Tree to the Trade," became the inspiration for the district's new name.
The design team, led by Anderson+Bohlander, was selected for the streetscape and infrastructure project that would focus on an approximate 12-acre site of undeveloped land at the core of the Certified Tech Park where the historic dimension mill and kiln buildings had sat derelict for several decades. Prior to the kickoff of the infrastructure project, Anderson+Bohlander assisted the planning department and the mayor's office with the establishment of new right-of-way designations and new design guidelines for how future development could occur. The new streetscape layout establishes the framework for parcels that are reserved for tech and startup space.