The Gwen — Chicago, USA
After completing an expansive renovation of the space that used to be a Conrad Hotel, The Gwen has recently re-emerged fully transformed on Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile. First, the rebranding sees the hotel take on the name of pioneer Chicago-born sculptor Gwen Lux, whose work can be seen on the façade of this iconic McGraw-Hill Building. In fact, with local outfit Simeone Deary Design Group at the helm of the revamp, the property is now more closely tied to the art deco skyscraper it’s housed in.
The lobby is especially evocative of 1920s glamour, with plenty of visual layers thanks not only to a medley of texture but also to clever furniture groupings (separated by bronze screens) that create plenty of variety in the design stories throughout the space. Luxurious materials like velvet, leather, and faux fur (in bold navy and green) softens sharp surfaces like black marble, bronze metal, and carved glass. The adjacent bar is similarly rendered with historic allusions such as sculptural antiqued mirrors, an over-the-top metal mesh chandelier, and brass detailing everywhere.
The guest rooms are also swathed in lot of these art deco flourishes but with more subtlety. The palette is mostly slate grey punched up with soft pinks. Even the in-room carpet, which features geometric patterns, fall in line with this aesthetic as does the occasional brass-accented furniture. But to complete the homage to its namesake, the hotel adorned every room with a full-wall zodiac mural of Lux’s sculptures. They add a whimsical if obvious reference to the property’s landmark past.