2017 Chicago Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

Key Dates

1 April 2017 - Launch Event
6 June 2017 - Standard Deadline
29 October 2017 - Final Deadline
30 October 2017 - Judging
6 November 2017 - Rating Closes
7 November 2017 - Winners Announced

Image Credit : Anthony Tahlier





Project Overview

Innovative restaurant design firm Puccini Group and award-winning international hotel interior design firm Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR) teamed up to reimagine the new Conrad Chicago. PYR designed the hotel’s sophisticated guest rooms, public spaces, state-of-the-art conference and event facilities, and Puccini Group designed the hotel’s three unique restaurant concepts: Baptiste & Bottle, Noyane, and Il Tavolino. Housed in the former DraftFCB corporate office building, Conrad Chicago has been meticulously transformed into a stylish and contemporary escape in the Windy City. Every square inch of the existing space was tailored to provide maximum comfort and functionality during the conversion process, resulting in intelligent spaces that seamlessly blend elements of local culture with high, contemporary design. With an ambiance exuding both residential and modern luxury, the property is poised to add vitality to the surrounding area and complement the glamour and energy of the nearby Magnificent Mile.

Project Commissioner

Conrad Chicago

Project Creator

Puccini Group


In conjunction with Pierre-Yves Rochon

Project Brief

When designing Conrad Chicago, Pierre-Yves Rochon kept both global and local inspirations in mind. The style of contemporary simplicity was drawn from architectural visionaries to subtly reflect 1960s and 1970s modernism, incorporating the dynamic architectural heritage and art scene of the Windy City. Deep red leather accents, bronze finishes and warm beech wood envelop guests upon arrival. The subtleties of the colors and patterns work in harmony with eye-catching details like lighting fixtures, millwork details, and the lobby screen wall.

The concept for each of Conrad Chicago’s three restaurants is the brainchild of famed chef and restaurateur, Richard Sandoval. These culinary venues display a level of sophistication that aligns with the modern design of the hotel while maintaining their own individuality. Puccini Group designed the Japanese rooftop bar, Noyane, to draw attention to awe-inspiring city views. Baptiste & Bottle offers a twist on the American tavern, influenced by Chicago’s former “Whiskey Row,” with masculine tones and textures such as dark wood, aged metals, and bourbon and whiskey-inspired hues. Lastly, Il Tavolino draws on the Italian heritage of the River North neighborhood, featuring a blend of contemporary and rustic design that was brought to life with wire brushed wood and black and white tiling.

Project Innovation/Need

Through its design elements and art selections, the Conrad Chicago brings a statement of modern luxury and homage to the city’s heritage for Chicago’s diverse visitors. For example, the dichotomy of Chicago’s landscape shaped the direction of the art collection – from spectacular parks to the bustling waterfront to its iconic architecture. The artwork expresses the balance and appreciation of both the natural and the man-made world, bridging these themes throughout the public and guestroom areas. The artwork was curated for its ingenuity of materials and harmony with its surroundings. From the grand wall sculpture at reception, to the high-definition video installations in the elevator foyers, the intricately hand-woven textile in the lobby, to the dazzling ceramic leaf installation it the atrium – art flows from one area to the next, welcoming and drawing people into the space. Highlighting both emerging and established contemporary artists from around the world – the Conrad Chicago becomes a sophisticated and elegant experience that caters to both locals and an international audience in the city.

Design Challenge

One of the design challenges was to meet the needs of a mixed market from a local, national and even international level, as well as varying needs of both business and leisure travelers. The space planning and design of the hotel were designed to be flexible and adaptable for many types of guests and occasions. Luxury design elements were fused with functionality through highly efficient planning throughout, creating a natural sense of flow, elegance and order; all of which signal a higher quality of environment. Movement through the hotel is intuitive and easy to navigate, particularly in the public areas and conference center where guests can reach their destinations quickly and comfortably. The style is not overly trendy, nor does it cater to any specific, limited subset of the market – it is universally pleasing and elegant for all. Modern simplicity and clarity of design of internationally recognized architectural visionaries such as Warren Platner and Mies van der Rohe inspired furniture, art and material selections, subtly reflecting 1960’s-70’s modernism.


The Conrad Chicago is a success story for a true urban adaptive reuse – by breathing new life into the existing building, the project helps reduce urban sprawl and reduce material waste by eliminating the need for new construction for the building’s exterior architecture. All existing spaces were utilized in the conversion of a simple Class B office building into a smart urban business hotel. Now, it has all the functionalities for a discerning business traveler, paired with the comfort and warmth of a private residence. The character of the site, with its iconic Magnificent Mile location, was also maximized to enhance the building’s curb appeal.

This award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes, aesthetic presentation and functionality. Consideration also given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.
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