Since the creation of Europe’s first ‘Grand Hotel’ in 1863, The Langham Hotel has upheld its pedigree in the hospitality industry. Today, over a hundred years after the first Langham opened its doors in London their design legacy spans over four continents. Currently designing their third US hotel, The Langham Chicago is set to open summer 2013 in the historic Mies van der Rohe building.
Design Company Richmond International will be responsible for bringing Langham’s European luxury to one of Chicago’s newest hotels. Richmond first worked with Langham on the remodel of their London property in 2004, “Our aim for the Chicago property was to combine the luxury and previously traditional values of the Langham Brand with the iconic contemporary architecture of the Mies Tower,” said Sarah Rawlinson of Richmond.
Originally started in the ‘60s, “Since then the company and the industry have changed through all recognition,” said Rawlinson. “Design is always moving forward, and we have to do the same in order to maintain our position of working on great projects.”
The new hotel will feature 316 guestrooms including 48 suites, an average room size of 516 sq ft. as well as a Club Lounge spanning over 5,000 sq ft. With the location of the hotel, rooms with include views of the Chicago River and Skyline.
“Outside of some of the condominium hotel concepts, our rooms will be some of the largest in the city for a hotel,” said Hotel Manager Joe Aguilera. With 15,000 sq ft. in event space, The Langham Hotel will be available for weddings, social gatherings and corporate meetings for 10 to 500 people.
Starting the project Richmond was comfortable with Langham’s design mantra, “The brand should be apparent in the DNA of the project but should not influence the look of the individual hotel. This should be relevant to the building, location, local culture etc.,” said Rawlinson.
Registered as a Historic Place in March 2010, designing freedoms are often hindered when moving into a landmark such as the Mies Tower, “We worked with the landmark commission to ensure that the integrity of our design was complimentary to the spirit of the building,” said Aguilera. “Also ensuring that we were not changing or altering the ground floor lobby in any way that would change it to make it look or feel other than what Mies van der Rohe had intended.”
Traditional to the Langham, the new location will feature afternoon tea in The Pavilion, a space that recreates the world’s first ‘afternoon tea’ at the Langham in 1865. In addition to a hotel restaurant, according to Langham, the hotel will also have a bar and lounge “celebrating mid-century cocktail culture, with a “de-constructed” bar, rich woods and detailed pattern work. ”With a reputation for excellence in high-end design, Richmond had to bring their experience to the table for this project. “The key issue was working within a very contemporary building when the brand of Langham is very traditional,” said Rawlinson, “Developing a design language which retains a sense of luxury but with a more contemporary edge was important to us.”
The lighting fixtures, sculptures and artwork from artists all over the world are “key in the overall concept and in changing mood of the spaces throughout the day to night,” said Rawlinson. When it comes to the hotel’s furnishings, upscale designers Lasvit and Kalmar among others were brought on board. Kalmar Designs is a world-renowned Vienna based lighting manufactures. Lasvit, responsible for lighting some of the world’s most upscale hotels, is based out of the Czech Republic and known for their manipulation of bohemian glass and Czech crystal.
Other designers on the project include Bespoke, also known for their lavishing furnishings worldwide. “Much of the interior has bespoke pieces … we have worked with manufacturers who can produce these on time and budget,” said Rawlinson. In addition to luxury furnishings and designer lighting the hotel bathrooms with also feature Botticino Fiorito marble and travertine fixtures.
As efficiency and green efforts are constantly on the forefront of the design world, Richmond is aiming for LEED Gold status, “This informs many decisions from energy efficiency to much of the Interior being locally produced,” said Rawlinson.
Boasting spacious rooms and elegant fixtures the newest Langham hotel will also offer ancient Chinese treatments in their luxurious Chuan Spa. “The protocol and the principles of our applications from a spa treatment standpoint do follow closely with the principles of traditional Chinese medicine,” said Aguilera, “so we will be very unique in that regard.”
In addition to The Langham Hotel, other hotels opening 2013 in Chicago include The Godfrey Hotel in River North, The Aloft Chicago City Center and The Virgin Hotel opening in the Old Dearborn Bank building.
“There are great hotels in Chicago,” said Aguilera, “Everything that we are doing here is to compete with the finest hotel and to earn the trust of guests and travelers … it is our goal to be the finest luxury hotel in Chicago.”
Richmond will hopefully exceed design expectations as Langham enters the competitive Chicago hotel scene this summer. “The quality of the design and the quality of the building will make the Langham stand out against the competitive set,” said Rawlinson. “Rooms are contemporary but still have a sense of luxury; Public Areas are glamorous and exciting and we are in the IBM building.”
Aticle Written by: Emma Watson