Rockwell Group’s Madridoffice brings to life Virgin Hotels Chicago, the brand’s first property, with a contemporary style that is sophisticated and elegant, yet understated and playful. The hotel’s vibe is casual and relaxed, and the design emphasizes comfort and warmth, with a sense of wit and humor. Located in downtown Chicago, the hotel is housed in the Old Dearborn Bank building, an Art Deco landmark designed by C.W. and George L. Rapp Architects in 1928. Significant historic and architectural features have been restored and add warmth and character, while contemporary design details underscore the vibrant DNA of the Virgin brand.
On the sidewalk, outdoor furniture in Virgin’s signature red creates a vibrant counterpoint to the building’s magnificent façade, which is clad in brick and intricately ornamented. A new industrial canopy with signature sconce light fixtures extends out over the sidewalk to welcome guests and lead them to reception.
As guests arrive in the reception area, they come across a grand staircase accentuated by a red carpet with splashes of carmine red circles that extends onto the lobby floor. Avintage cigar counter from the original building serves as the reception desk. At the elevators, commissioned video art is presented on a series of LED screens. The whimsical journey from the lobby to the guestrooms continues as guests ride the elevator, animated by a reflective ceiling andpaneled boxes with mirrored inserts.
Consistent with the hotel’s public spaces, the design of the guestrooms is simple and timeless, with a touch of playfulness to engage visitors and make them feel at home. The guestroom corridors createthe sense of entering a private townhouse from the street, with carpeting inspired by street pavement. Red wall lamps reminiscent of street lighting help guide weary travelers to their red front door, furbished with a red doormat and the quirky porcelain statue of a dog.
The guestrooms consist of two principal areas, the Dressing Room and the Sleeping Lounge. To provide flexibility and privacy, these spaces can be separated by wooden sliding doors with metallic pulls. The luxurious Dressing Room is a cozy and welcoming space that integratesthe functions of hallway, closet, and bathroom. Two large wardrobes by Poliform flank a residential-inspired vanity sink and feature ample shelving, hanging space, shoe storage, drawers, and a full-length mirror. Above the sink, there is a custom round, wood frame mirror with wall sconces on the sides. Guests will also find a separate make-up vanity with its own backlit mirror and space for cosmetics. A large shower with a bench and sleek Kohler fixtures features white subway tile.
The Sleeping Lounge has the simple and modern feel of the ultimate pied-a-terre, with a one-of-a-kind custom designed hybrid bed as the main focus. The Lounge Bed, co-created by Rockwell Group and the Virgin Hotels design team, is engineered to provide maximum versatility and comfort. Functioning as both a playpen and a traditional bed, it features a soft padded ergonomic headboard that allows for several seated positions and encourages multi-dimensional lounging.
The wall across from the Lounge Bed is covered with wallpaper exclusively designed for Virgin Hotels by Maya Romanoff. The dark gray felt with custom red stitching createsa warm and intimate environment. Rockwell Group selected a simple palette of natural woods for the furniture and finishes, while a custom designed area rug with patterns inspired by British iconography tie theensemble to Virgin’s place of origin.
A frosted glass pendant lamp on one side anda bright floor lamp on the other, provide ample lighting around the bed.A working areafacesthe window to take advantage of the natural light. It featuresa custom designed rotating table, a leather Poltrona Frau Chair, and an Artemide LED task light in Virgin’s signature red. As a final touch to make guests feel at home, the typical hotel mini bar was switched out for a red SMEG fridge.
With a grand living room, separate sleeping area, walk-in closet, and luxury bathroom with a powder room, the Virgin Hotel Suites maintain the feeling and comfort of home while providing the elevated luxury expected from the Virgin brand. Flooring with a hardwood finish, felt wall coverings, soft tone curtains, and a variety of light fixtures provide a residential feel, while custom designed graphic area rugs and red wall accents define the suites as Virgin. A round table, small side tables, a modular sofa, and a large ottoman complete the living room – a space to gather, relax, and take in breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline. Guests enter the sleeping area through sliding doors with a wooden finish. The custom designed Virgin bed is placed in the center of the room, which features a custom area rug and a work space by the window with a custom rotating table, leather Poltrona Frau chair, and red Artemide task light. The bathroom is accessed through the Poliform walk-in closet. It boasts a separate shower room and a double vanity sink with an independent make-up area.
The Penthouse Suites have a more glamorous, rock and roll vibe. A large, versatile space integrates living and dining functionsand is ideal for eating in, working on your laptop, or hosting a party. Instead of the typical dining area, thesesuites boast a large bar with shelving set against a bronzed mirror. Two round pendant lights by Tom Dixon above the bar counter bringextra sparkle to any bartender’s work. An assortment of custom furniture, including two large, beige sofas and various side tables, create a flexible setting for a special dinner, or any celebration. A corner nook by the window is furnished with a table and accentuated by a sculptural custom pendant light, while a grey area rug adds warmth to the space.
Upholstered sliding doors give way to the sleeping area, with the custom designed Virgin bed at the center.A working area by the window includes a custom designed dark wood table, leather Poltrona Frau chair, and two desk lights. The bathroom, which is again accessed through the Poliform walk-in closet, is clad in white subway tile and comes with a bathtub, separate shower room, and a double vanity sink with an independent make-up area.
Miss Ricky’s is a classic American Diner reinvented. It has an industrial yet modern aesthetic, suspended steel lamps, and a 1960s inspired casting room.The design of the Diner was inspired by a traditional American diner, but with an added Virgin twist. Conceived as a destination for both hotel guests and local residents, the restaurant has an industrial yet modern aesthetic. At the entrance, customers encounter a British phone that serves as the valet stand, in an irreverent nod to the brand’s English roots.Traditional diner-style booths as well as modern, circular booths are set under suspended steel lamps. The patio extends the Virgin atmosphere onto the sidewalk with large red canopies over the outdoor seating.
Two Zero Three
Two Zero Three, the hotel’s corner café, has anunderstated décor that allows the space to transition from cozy, newsstand-inspired coffee bar during the day to classy wine bar at night. Contemporary art is displayed on the walls, and a recessed seating area provides comfortable couches for lounging and getting work done. Hexagonal shaped ceramic tile flooring, a wood accent ceiling, and a zinc horseshoe shaped main bar with black metal distinguish the space. The café serves high quality Illy coffee, has the ability to serve food from the Diner, and will also include a small retail element.
The Commons Club
The Commons Club on the first floor represents the communal heart of the hotel. A dynamic hybrid of a bar, laid-back study, and restaurant, itprovides numerous services and flexible spaces to unwind. This is where guests can work on their laptops, socialize in various lounge areas, and enjoy a casual meal from the open kitchen at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rockwell Groupcarefully evaluated the flow from one room to the next to create a unique and flexible spatial experience.
The concierge desk is located at the top of the grand staircase, near a circular hanging hammock.Immediately behind theconcierge is the Funny Library – Virgin’s take on a library, which focuses on comedy books and includes humorous toys, arts and gadgets related to Chicago.As guests move through the library, the space opens up into the two-story atrium bar. Tremendous effort went into restoring the club’s historic double-height plaster ceiling, which is accentuated by exposed filament pendant lights dropping down from above. The large island bar is surrounded by a variety of seating and lounging options. As guests make their way through the bar, they come upon The Kitchen, which is designed to bring people together. The L-shaped bar provides an open view into the kitchen, which allows guests to enjoy their meal while connecting with visiting chefs. The Kitchen boasts a large communal table, as well as seating booths for guests to enjoy locally sourced food and have a casual and relaxing dining experience.
The Shag Room
Situated in the corner adjacent to the concierge desk, the Shag Room is a hidden oasis that exudes the seductive appeal of the Virgin brand. Avelvet drapery envelops the circular space and creates an intimate seating area, complete with plush red tufted couches. The Shag Room provides the ultimate hideaway for luxurious lounging.
The Virgin hotel spa is designed to be unlike any spa – a casual and playful destination with the positive and communal energy characteristic of the Virgin brand. As guests arrive at what used to be a Chicago speakeasy, a heritage fireplace welcomes them at reception.The five treatment rooms plus the mani/pedi areas are defined by a curvilinear wooden wall that surrounds a space designed to encourage socialinteraction. Rockwell Group took advantage of the natural features of the building and created a rustic design that sets the mood forrelaxation and mingling.