Although the States went to war to get rid of the Brits all those years ago it seems we’re well and truly back in favour, and this year Chicago has welcomed London-born Soho House into the fold at what is the company’s fifth American outlet. Beginning life as a private members’ club in 1995, Soho House has evolved into a diverse hospitality business comprising restaurants, cinemas, spas and hotels. Far from being a homogeneous corporate presence, the group takes great pride in respecting the heritage of its renovation project premises. Here in Chi-Town it’s a six-storey former warehouse, dating back to 1907 and formerly owned by the Chicago Belting Factory, that now houses the Soho House Chicago (SHC) hotel.
SHC was the work of an in-house team of designers, who preserved many of the building’s original features, including an ornamental entrance and an exposed concrete structural system, as well as utilising the large open floor plans. Where things had to change significantly, materials have been re-purposed; fire safety glass and wooden panels from the original water tower have found a new place within the hotel, for example. Jonny Yeo and Francesca Gavin have one of the venue’s key roles, collaborating with Chicago artists to curate a collection or work that graces the walls throughout – especially in the lounge bar.