Radisson Blu Aqua hotel, Chicago
Graven was responsible for the Interior design of the 5 Star upper upscale Radisson Blu Aqua hotel for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Our scope covered the design of all public areas of the hotel including; reception, lobby, lounge, bar, restaurant, ballrooms, pre-function areas, meetings and event spaces and bedroom corridors.
The flagship Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago opened in November 2011 and won Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and Graven a prestigious Golden Key Award for its thought-provoking, contemporary interiors. The hotel occupies the first 18 floors of the 81-story Aqua Tower, designed by locally based Studio Gang Architects. Heavy steel work pays homage to Chicago’s reputation as the birthplace of the modern skyscraper. The steel was weathered over a period of months to gain the precise orange patina to contrast with the warm gray polished concrete and reclaimed brickwork found throughout the hotel. Other materials evocative of the city, such as Corten steel, Krion, and weathered oak, boast finishes that will naturally gain lustre and patina over time.
A transparent blue glass box frames the main entrance, while floor-to-ceiling street-level windows reveal monolithic brick piers that form a gateway to the lobby lounge just below the deep blue theater curtains. The brick piers, studded with backlit glass blocks, extend into the lobby where the use of negative space comprises a series of building silhouettes, an oblique reference to the Chicago skyline.
Across the lobby, a wall-to-wall screen of interconnected Egyptian brass medallions hangs in front of a mirror that serves as a curtain for a 50-foot-long fireplace. Overhead teardrop light fixtures cast a glow on gold elevator doors as well as an oversized handmade rug that offers an abstract aerial depiction of Chicago, as envisioned and drawn by Hamilton. For check-in, mirrored desks sit in front of a weathered steel wall accented by brightly colored light fixtures resembling blue shards of lightning.
An internal lobby corridor or “street” houses a martini bar with plush, oversized captain’s chairs. Bookending the martini bar, a cantilevered flying staircase weighing 20 tons joins the ground level to Filini, the two-story contemporary Italian restaurant and bar. A long, linear cast-iron and steel ramp connects the corridor to an art gallery and meeting spaces in the rear. An immense structural “I- beam” runs the length of the mezzanine level and serves as a perch for overhanging restaurant banquette seating boxes.
A series of steel-grate floor fixtures, which reflect the pattern found on protective city tree covers in Chicago, transitions the lobby into the Filini bar. The bar utilizes the same tree cover pattern, but on a larger scale, for a black and white hand-pieced mosaic floor. Upstairs at the restaurant, three-dimensional pyramid-shaped wall and exhibition kitchen tiles create a sense of movement. A variety of other seating, including banquettes and communal tables, are lined with silver leather cushions and complemented in many instances by oiled oak tables.
Silver LEED Certified – U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award
Chicago Magazine Reader’s Choice Award – Best Hotel in Chicago
Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2014
Golden Key Award 2011
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
Scope of Services
communications design, graphic design, interior design, signage & wayfinding
2011 Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group