I recently stayed at Ian Schrager's latest boutique creation Public Chicago and the lobby was the best part! Since Mr. Schrager gave the keynote address at Neocon, I think it was very cool that I got to experience his Chicago space first-hand. Above is a photo of the restaurant and lounge, the historic Pump Room est. 1938, which was once frequented by Marilyn Monroe, Bacall and Bogart among others. Executive chef Jean-George Vongerichten made me a plate of sinful fried chicken.
There is a slight Scandinavian vibe, ever so understated in the affordable luxury. Reclaimed wood lines the columns of The Library Bar hosted a warm fireplace, comfy shear-ling chairs and cool artwork by Dutch photographer Hendrik Kerstens in the style of Vermeer. Upon closer look, the models are wearing cellophane and coke cans in their hair, not a pearl earring in sight.
Mr. Schrager talked about placing cool coffee table books in the public areas of his hotels against many warnings of people taking off with them. "I trusted my customer" he said.
He also talked keeping true to the building's bones, so he maintained the Ambassador East's original architectural details, as seen in these broken pediments and detailed moldings.
The reception desks were finished in the same material as Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, aka The Bean at Millennium Park. The steel structures are meant to resemble liquid mercury. Mr. Schrager spoke so lovingly about his wife Tania, and talked about taking her to see Benjamin Button at the time of the design for Public. In an ode to the movie, the lobby clock winds backwards.
The room was small but comfy, and these little guys woke me up every morning.
To check out more of Public Chicago, click HERE.
I love this man, he couldn't be more humble. A real pleasure Mr. Schrager, thanks for the hospitality!