The W Chicago Lakeshore lobby was designed as a distinctly modern urban escape filled with dramatic glamour. The outcome of the innovative renovation is a state-of-the-art cultural hub that tributes W’s passions for luxury, design, fashion and music, and radiates what’s new and what’s next.
The design narrative of the lobby was formed on the basis of three intrinsically architectural themes – Chicago’s history and tradition of architecture, the hotel’s iconic Lake Shore Drive location, and shadows and reflections of innovation. The space showcases the confluence of a vibrant world-class city meeting the serene edge of Lake Michigan and pays homage to the architectural ingenuity of Chicago, while mirroring the city’s energy, invention and industrialism. Sleeker, sexier public areas include a new signature farm-to-table restaurant, and a new Living Room concept.
Chic, modern and vibrant, W Chicago Lakeshore’s public areas are characterized by modern lighting, energetic colors, contemporary furniture and sleek finishes that mimic and reflect the vibrant city skyline. Vivid, modern lighting energizes public areas, and is used to create specific architectural moments. This is seen with the alternating digital images above the “conversation pods” – intimate, semi-private lounge settings separated by metal beaded drapery adjacent to the bar. Another example of this is a modern Heatherwick-inspired “oyster” that spectacularly characterizes the rear of the restaurant. This custom feature was designed to terminate the guest’s eye at the end of the room. Slit in the center, the oyster allows guests within to look out at the lobby.
In the bar, restaurant and lobby areas, materials such as the asher grey striped stone flooring emulate the skyline and its cast of shadows. Black gunmetal laser-cut Moire style screens filter and demarcate various layers of the design and program. These filtering screens were inspired by the hotel’s position between the urban grid of Chicago and the lake. The pattern melds the two narratives and creates a ripple design from urban patterns. Other details borne from architecture can be found in the curvilinear mirror fixture that hovers above the bar and mirrors the city skyline, and below, on the side of the bar, a white stitched vinyl utilizes the abstract city grid concept. Cool finishes in the public areas are balanced with warm tones – copper laminate panels are used on the ceiling and lounge area for example, and bold and beautiful copper reception desks introduce a rich, metallic hue to the bright whites and soft greys in this ultra-modern space. The white spray can art installation in this area highlights the innovation of Chicago with a nod to the local invention.
W Chicago Lakeshore’s 520 guestrooms and suites uphold the theme of shadows and reflections of the city lake. Metallic and lacquered finishes reflect the incredible views of the hotel and combine the shimmering beauty of Lake Michigan with the urban energy of the city. While guestrooms facing the cityscape have been designed to complement Chicago’s urban architecture, guestrooms overlooking the lake mirror that environment – metal finishes use reflections of the lake as art, and, in the suites, a metallic wall tile similar to the surface of water reflects the light from the lake. The guestrooms and suites showcase a palette of blues and greys, black and white, and a splash of chartreuse to create a pop of color against the cooler tones. The carpet flooring used in these spaces is an abstract aquatic pattern that pays tribute to the waters of Lake Michigan. Touches like this, along with the custom silver wire brushed wooden nightstands, modern chandeliers, graphic wall covering and Carsten Witte photo print cushions, help to create a detailed feel. Suite bathing design is bold, with graphic asher gray tile tubs and showers complimenting the design in both scale and level of luxury. The intention for the guestrooms was to design a space that didn’t feel like an ordinary room, but a space meant for living and hosting. To this effect, the design team designed handsome banquettes butting the walls in order to create a larger seating group where a guest could relax by themselves or host friends.
Easing the flow of social activity and interaction was of integral importance to the design throughout the hotel, so as to create a true hub, excite energy, and offer an array of attractive environments. The design of the guestrooms, the flow of one public space into another, the creation of areas such as the “conversation pods” and a handsome choice of seating options all demonstrate the effort to enhance social activity. The design team embraced the idea of multi-use aspects of the lounge. Within a small area you will see guests grabbing a drink, playing pool, enjoying a live DJ, or lounging together. A great energy is created, and it is this energy that is hardwired to W’s brand DNA and the vibrancy of Chicago.