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Paper Lamps and a Secret Art Gallery at the Radisson Blu Chicago

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  Site Where: 221 North Columbus Drive [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
November 3, 2011 at 5:59 PM | by | ()

Welcome to our newest new feature, Design Thursdays! Thursdays are now our day to focus on hotel design through photo tours, video walkthroughs and interviews with hotel designers. Got a cool hotel design story we should know about? Let us know.

Now that the United States finally has its first Radisson Blu hotel—the Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago—what kind of awesome modern design details can you expect to find when checking in?

To check out all the nooks and crannies of the room, see our previous story, photo gallery and video here, but if you're more interested in the lobby, bar, restaurant and art gallery, you're in the right place. Yes—we said art gallery!

If you're arriving for the night, you'll enter the hotel and immediately veer left to a snazzy white reception area sliced with blue lighting. From there, it's off into a lobby set with plenty of couches and chairs for working or waiting, or simply watching the flames dances in the fireplace that stretches nearly the entire length of the room. The hues are warm, the fireplace wall features a gold metal treatment, and squared brick arches separate the quiet lobby area from the bar and restaurant.

Speaking of the bar, you can tell that this is where quite a bit of money and effort went. Check out the floor tiled with a black-and-white star pattern, or the super trendy bar seats and tables glowing with fake candles trapped beneath the glass. There's just one thing we hated with a passion: lights flashing paparazzi-bright from under the long bar. It was extremely distracting and made us wonder at first if it was malfunctioning. The bartender assured it was supposed to do that...but umm...it sucks.

Upstairs from the bar is Filini, the hotel's Italian restaurant. The color scheme is mostly white and purple, evoking a sort of faux regal feel. Prices are hotel-standard ($14 pasta plates, for example), but it will likely be a hit for business lunches from the workers of the surrounding skyscrapers.

Our favorite design details: (do not miss these!)
· A "secret" art gallery. Go into the hotel and all the way back to the right. Up a ramp is a small gallery with many intriguing pieces, including a 3D image best viewed from 10' back.
· The "Paper lamps" by Dutch design studio Moooi. These are the large white floorlamps around the lobby, made of wood, cardboard and paper.
· The magnified chandelier. Right after entering the hotel's main doors, look up. That chandelier's panels are actually those magnifying sheets you'd stick to the back of an RV window, for example.
· The aforementioned black-and-white tile bar floor. It is stunning and so fresh.
· The gold elevators. At first we thought "so Trump," but they grew on us and now we're seeing them as more Moroccan-chic.

[Photos and video: Cynthia Drescher for HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

Great building but...

not digging the interiors.  Very odd, and not befitting such an iconic tower.

Gold walls?

Lovvve it.

This is soooo

very unRadisson of them. I like it! I am a little iffy on the guestrooms but this lobby space has some cool design details. And great photos jetsetcd!