When Ian Schrager purchased the storied, yet dated, Ambassador East Hotel on Chicago’s Gold Coast, he commissioned Gabellini Sheppard Associates to redesign the public areas, including the main lobby, library (with bar and cafe), and the legendary Pump Room and Pump Room Bar.
The Gabellini Sheppard concept relies on an understated color palette, modern furnishings, and dramatic lighting to highlight the newly restored classical details in the lobby and library. In lieu of the original dark wood, the new ivory panels and the softly reflective surfaces of limestone flooring and antique mirrors, impart a hushed elegance to the lobby. The reception area consisting of four mirror-polished, stainless steel cube forms inspired by Donald Judd, lend a contemporary edge to the historic surroundings while the upholstered seating of the living room and library impart a residential, relaxed atmosphere to the entire lobby.
In the Pump Room, new entrances from the lobby and directly from the street lend this legendary haunt of luminaries including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart more prominence. In place of the former large U-shaped bar which once dominated the lounge, a smaller bar housed in a gold-leaf niche lends a more expansive feeling to the space. In the dining room, the intimate arrangement of tables and booths recall the old decor. The overall effect is a seamless blend of historic details with a contemporary lifestyle overlay that burnishes all the public amenity spaces and breathes new life to the newly christened Ambassador Chicago.