We reached out to Principal Carrie Tolman of the award-winning Simeone Deary Design Group in Chicago for insights on the importance of the lighting choices when creating a cohesive experience for LondonHouse Chicago and for details on some of the breathtaking custom fixtures guests will find there.
“We approach design based on a concept, and that concept is the road map for all design decisions we make for a project,” Tolman explains. “The light fixtures themselves at LondonHouse Chicago are reflective of those concepts.”
For instance, the concept for the lobby is reflective of the location’s history. “The site of Fort Dearborn is where LondonHouse now stands. We chose a lighting fixture over the check-in desk that is reminiscent of the clothing worn by the Indians,” Tolman notes.
As part of the “Wow factor” that every renowned hotel requires these days, guests arriving at LondonHouse Chicago are greeted by a golden bank of elevators and a black-stone staircase leading to the mezzanine-level lobby. Above the stairway are two monumental, full-story chandeliers with metal grid-patterned cages with 1920s-inspired beads suspended from them. These chandeliers, designed by Simeone Deary Design Group, illuminate the path up the staircase and also provide ambient lighting in the plush, jewel-toned setting of the lobby’s lounge area.
“The fixtures in the lobby were custom by Alger-Triton. We provided sketches of our design intent and worked with them to develop the lighting fixtures. Alger-Triton has been a great partner to make our lighting fixtures truly unique and to make our vision real,” Tolman says. “The lighting fixtures in the entry to the lobby over the monumental staircase, and in front of the two-story artwork, took two days of installation on a special lift to get them in place. It was an intense and exciting moment on the site when those went in.”
As guests roam the hotel hallways, they will find lighting fixtures featuring draped chains of brushed metals creating a warm glow. In the hotel’s Juliette Ballroom, the floor-to-ceiling windows aren’t the only source of light. The massive venue contains several contemporary chandeliers featuring spherical bulbs that contrast with the angular base.
“The concept for the ballroom and meeting-room floors was looking at the decadence of the 1920s when the historic building of LondonHouse was built,” Tolman notes. “For those spaces, the team studied many of the jewelry styles and selected lighting fixtures that spoke to them.”
On the hotel’s 21st floor, which houses the first floor of a tri-level rooftop restaurant, starburst-shaped pendant lights hang above the bar to produce energetic, yet subdued, streams of light.
One floor above – on the outdoor terrace at LH Rooftop – there are firefly-like jars scattered across the brick exterior that light up in the evening just as the city begins its nighttime to glow.
What type of lighting inspires the team at Simeone Deary Design Group for its projects, and in particular, for LondonHouse Chicago? “The light fixtures must work with – and be reflective of – the overall design concept,” Tolman remarks. “Each selection must reinforce that design vision. We often view light fixtures as sculptural pieces of art. Lighting really enriches a space and completes the design story we are trying to tell. We often create bespoke light fixtures for our clients. As technology has advanced, such as thinner LED modules, it has allowed us to do more refined details in our bespoke fixtures. These solutions really do add to the sculptural forms these light fixtures are becoming.”
As far as influential design and lighting trends Tolman and her team see in the industry right now, she points to the aforementioned advances in technology that have been rolled out. She predicts a continuation of much more delicate and sculptural designs coming from manufacturers.
“You see lots of fixtures with thin, metal expressions and a slim LED tucked within the pieces,” she says. “The structure of the lighting fixtures is being more celebrated versus the light source itself.”