The Ace Hotel's Newest Location Embraces Chicago's Design History

By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Set in an industrial concrete-and-glass building that was once home to an Italian cheesemaking company, the Ace Hotel's latest opening is an ode to the Windy City.

The cool boutique hotel chain's newest spot is perfectly at home in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood. Created by Los Angeles-based design studio Commune, the 159-room hotel was designed to harmonize with the existing facade of the Fulton Market cheese factory, preserving the landmark structure. 

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With architecture by GREG Architects, the building's design concept was inspired by the Bauhaus philosophy and the establishment of The New Bauhaus Chicago by László Moholy-Nagy in 1937, a movement that paved the way for the city's enduring legacy of modern design and architecture. 

When designing the interiors, Commune also referenced the city’s modernist history, while taking cues from architectural icons like Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

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The guest rooms and public areas feature a mix of influences that range from the New Bauhaus school of design and the work of brutalist Belgian architect Juliaan Lampens, to the bold geometric patterns of Josef and Anni Albers

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Commune and Ace worked hand-in-hand with local and regional students, artists, designers, and retailers to create a space that marries Midwestern craftsmanship with utilitarian design—celebrating the nature of the city.

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Polished-steel tubing, perforated brass, plywood, and linoleum make up the building blocks of the interiors. Simple, straightforward, and thoughtful materials evoke Mies Van De Rohe’s work at the Illinois Institute of Technology

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Warmth and texture are introduced via handwoven textiles, natural leather, wool, and linen. In the public spaces, modernist and utilitarian furnishings are complemented by bold geometric patterns. The design is a modern synthesis of functionality, art, and design.

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Dining options include a restaurant called City Mouse and a cafe by Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which is their first Midwest location. 

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The clean and modern design of the rooms is complemented by built-in plywood and linoleum furnishings—a nod to the designs of Arne Jacobsen and Richard Neutra

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Monochrome coverlets crafted at a Midwestern mill bedeck the beds. Taking inspiration from Bauhaus textiles, the design was conceived by the Los Angeles-based design shop RTH.

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Each room comes with a unique piece of art on letterhead stationery that's painted or hand-drawn by a student at the Chicago Art Institute.  

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The top-floor bar Waydown features panoramic skyline views of the Chicago Loop.

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A landscaped roof terrace is just one of the hotel's five event venues.

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Rooms at the Ace Hotel Chicago start at $135 per night. Reservations can be made here

Project Credits: 

-Architect of Record: GREC Architects

-Interior Design: Commune Design

-Builder/General Contractor: Power Construction Company

-Structural Engineering: Forefront Structural Engineers

-Civil Engineering: Spaceco, Inc.

-Landscape Design: Site Design Group, Ltd.

-Lighting Design: CharterSills

-Cabinetry: Design by Commune, made by ALX Raw