Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

Places & Faces

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Often overlooked due to the dominance of both Los Angeles and New York, Chicago still has a soul that is hard to ignore. Although not an ancient city and with the Great Chicago fire of 1871 taking over 100 000 homes, much of the architecture is turn of the century and clad in iron. Still, it is America’s third largest city and there is much more there than imposing architecture including its thriving bar and distillery scene and its innovative hotels – of which the new Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is a fantastic example.

The building boasts magnificent original architecture and glamour that is rare to see. This historic 19th century Gentleman’s Club was dormant for decades prior to an extensive restoration and renovation by award winning interior design firm Roman and Williams. With a Shake Shack built into the lobby you get the new America on top of the old. 

The interiors are immaculately finished – a huge harp brings grand presence and exudes old fashioned Chicago spirit. The hotel’s open air rooftop terrace bar ‘Cindy’s’ became the city’s hot spot during the first few months of opening boasting unparalleled views of Millennium Park and the gloriously blue Lake Michigan beyond. Inside there is the Cherry Circle Room – a dimly lit leather and timber clad restaurant and bar dates back to the 1890’s whilst the Game Room hosts billiard tables and bocce bays. The whole establishment has that Prohibition-era ‘speakeasy’ vibe which has true historic value when the original club was operating. Very cool. 

One of Coco Republic’s own collections – Timothy Oulton speaks to this style in it’s influence with vintage inspirations and quirky historic pieces. Should you wish to achieve a speakeasy style interior similar I suggest you take a peek at Timothy Oulton‘s collections.

And remember, Chicago isn’t a city for non-drinkers. 

Anthony Spon-Smith

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