A city that has set the pace for architectural culture, Chicago constantly updates its landscape, drawing on its glorious past in new authorial proposals. This incessant dynamism of hospitality structures – both newly built and revitalized – created by outstanding interior design and architecture firms from around the world, fills the map of the city with obligatory stops for design lovers. Here we take a look at three of the most recent and appealing, different in style and inspiration, but sharing a maximum drive for design excellence.
Hotel EMC2: let’s explore!
The exact point where art and science intersect: this is the origin of the Hotel EMC2 project, which pays homage to Albert Einstein, borrowing the name of the most famous theory in the world. The Autograph Collection hotel chain, which includes the Hotel EMC2, wanted a design concept that blends creativity and imagination. The Rockwell Group translated this concept into a project consisting of an endless game of constant discovery for its users. Starting from its ostentatious façade, designed by Koo & Associates in collaboration with David Rockwell and its team. The striking entrance, which features a volume that occupies two entire floors and hosts an array of shelves stacked on top of each other, is the first element of exploration.
A series of details guides the guests inside, surprising them with the library, which extends towards the lobby and envelops the whole reception area, creating a curious alternation of recesses and bends. This other ‘world’ reveals itself, allowing you to immerse yourself in a bizarre jumble of objects, books and original pieces of art, carefully selected from works by local and international artists. Art, science and design feed on each other, continuously alternating or merging on all of the hotel’s 21 floors. Along the corridors leading to the rooms – 195 in total – the carpet features images of molecules magnified under a microscope, while the rooms themselves boast a tailored look. Almost everything is specially designed and made by the designers.
The Ritz-Carlton Chicago: energy inside
The new Ritz-Carlton Hotel shares the intense, vibrant energy of the city that hosts it. It was built in 1976 as an integral part of the development process of Water Tower Place, an iconic address in Chicago. Recently, all the hotel’s rooms have been renovated with the aim of consolidating the city’s rich architectural heritage through industrial innovation and forward-thinking design. The concept was developed by BAMO.
All the external historical stylistic elements have been brought inside, into every part of the property. A perpetual two-way connection that is clearly visible in the choice of materials. The most notable material is the Solar Grey stone, which is usually used for the facades of buildings, but is used here for the lobby floor and for the coating of eight columns on the 12th floor. American walnut is the texture that acts as a letifmotif, celebrates the vertical elements and pays homage to the skyscrapers outside that form the backdrop to the landscape.
Everywhere, there are signs of a modernist design philosophy characterized by charming mid-century furniture combined with a permanent art collection that takes inspiration from the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art and is located on the ground floor. All the 434 guest rooms, including the 90 suites, boast optimal space distribution, a spectacular view and a minimalist design which, once again, is inspired by the surrounding external elements, blending them with a contemporary style that is expressed through shades of gray and ice.
Hotel Essex: cultural heritage
After an extensive refurbishing, Hotel Essex has reopened its 274 rooms and its enjoyable public areas. The budget made available by Oxford Hotel & Resorts (already the owner of 13 other facilities in Chicago) has allowed the Gettys Group to redesign the hospitality concept of this historic hotel – with a view of Lake Michigan and Green Park – while conserving its historical features and the architectural signs of a heritage that dates back to the mid-1900s.