The Wheelhouse Hotel

Curioso conveys the story of William Wrigley and honors the heart of baseball fandom in the design of The Wheelhouse Hotel, a landmark stay for guests visiting Chicago.

  • rooms 21
  • Year 2018
  • Type Hotel,
  • For anyone who has ever spent time in Chicago, you know that the true character of the city is not in the architecture, the monuments, or even in the hot dogs. It’s in the neighborhoods and it’s in the people, and the people of Wrigleyville really love baseball. This project, a block from Wrigley Field is one of only a handful of hotels located in such a neighborhood. And thus, a primary challenge of the project lay in how to translate the character and personality of Chicago into space.

    We started with great bones – a classic Chicago greystone building, where guests could feel like they’re staying at the home of a good friend. After all, prior to 2018, that’s how anyone would have experienced staying in Wrigleyville. As such, the 21 keys and public spaces were designed to reflect more of a home than a hotel. The goal was to tell the story of a life well lived – of items carefully and lovingly collected over time, while simultaneously embracing baseball in big and small but hopefully unexpected ways.

    We envisioned a persona for the owner of this home, loosely based on the interesting character of William Wrigley – founder of the famed chewing gum empire and later, owner of the Chicago Cubs. We sketched the character of a true fan of baseball as well as the arts with a bigger than life personality and a clever sense of humor. He’s the guy that will take 1,000 baseball bats and create a floating installation in the middle of his living room. He’ll also upholster his lounge chairs with tiny baseball stitching details and leave a 25 cent pack of Wrigley’s gum on your pillow at night.

    Because it was important to ensure a guest didn’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy The Wheelhouse, the space tells the story of a life, full of artistry, entrepreneurial success, fandom, and lots of humor. We challenged ourselves to create bold and direct references that die-hard baseball fans would appreciate, which are also artistic and clever. Smaller, more subtle references feel like easter eggs for those who may be looking more carefully for those connections, as well.

    Just as there is no replication for a person’s life, there is no replication for this hotel. Everything was curated, found, hand crafted and pieced together. It is the true reflection of a team of passionate people, creating a hotel to reflect the city they love and call home.

    Design: Curioso
    Contractor: Summit Design Build
    Photography: Daniel Kelleghan