The Robey
2013 — 2016

Perched high above the six corners of Damen, Milwaukee and North Avenues in an Art Deco masterpiece formerly known as the Northwest Tower—stretching 203-feet tall and the only skyscraper for miles—The Robey captures the spirit of Chicago: the bustling, ever-changing, big-shouldered town. It was originally designed as an office building in 1929 by the firm of Perkins, Chatten & Hammond. Each of the hotel's 69 light-filled rooms, lobby and roof spaces were transformed.

The overall design could be summarized as a subtle balance of Americana style and pared down, timeless interiors. A blend of old and new, European and American style, unpretentious yet elegant, timeless and warm.

Every floor tells a story. It’s all about comfort and feeling at home, embracing the creative vibe and heritage of the neighborhood. The rooms have a calm, minimalist look. It is precisely the antithesis of the aggressively themed decor in other hotels in Chicago.

We did not want to impose anything on a building so emblematic to the neighborhood. The challenge was to maintain its identity and spirit throughout our work. The idea was to embrace the existing building and more importantly, the neighborhood of Wicker Park and Bucktown. For this reason, we decided to salvage and re-use existing textures and materials from the existing building.

The material palette is a subtle and graphic balance of raw materials and elegant finishes: wooden floors, rough cement, marble, terrazzo and hand-gloss paint. The furniture selection is a balanced combination of custom-made furniture and locally sourced, Dunbar inspired furniture from Edward Wormley, Harvey Prober, Paul McCobb and Milo Baughman.

The result is a signature Grupo Habita hotel. We sit at the epicenter of Chicago's Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods, a pair of arts and culture-obsessed communities that comingle the best of the city's storied past and hard-working immigrant roots. With 180-degree views of the city skyline, including tree-lined streets and the steel girders of L train stops, it will allow you to experience Chicago in a completely new context. Project icw Marc Merckx.

Photographs — Adrian Gaut