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Back to School: A College Campus Inspires the Ace Hotel Chicago

Local artisans and students put a Windy City spin on the brand's identity, including a DJ booth made of sand and geodesic dome that serves as a group hammock.

A guest room at the Ace Hotel Chicago.

It’s not often that a hotel is inspired by a college campus, but the new Ace Chicago isn’t just any hotel—and the campus isn’t exactly Animal House. “We wanted to connect the new building to Chicago’s architectural legacy, so we looked at Mies van der Rohe’s structures at the Illinois Institute of Technology,” says Roman Alonso, principal of architecture and design firm Commune, which designed the brand’s first ground-up property with van der Rohe trademark metal, brick, and terrazzo surfaces. Interior furniture and lighting is a mix of custom and vintage, with only-at-Ace touches: a 13-foot-tall geodesic dome by local designer Jonathan Nesci that “doubles as a group hammock,” Alonso says, and a DJ stand that Chicago artist Steven Haulenbeek crafted from sand. Guest rooms are no less evocative, featuring herringbone blankets woven by Iowa’s Amana Woolen mills, turntables with vinyl selections by Chicago DJ Tess Kisner, and artwork done on hotel letterhead by students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with Martin Kippenberger’s travel stationery drawings as their madcap muse. Leave it to Ace to make school cool. 

Ace Hotel Chicago 8
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Ace Hotel Chicago
The lobby.
Ace Hotel Chicago

Ace Hotel Chicago

Ace Hotel Chicago

Ace Hotel Chicago

Ace Hotel Chicago

Ace Hotel Chicago

Ace Hotel Chicago

Ace Hotel Chicago

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