Chicago’s Bar & Restaurant Designer of the Moment

Chicago’s Bar & Restaurant Designer of the Moment
Photos of Gemini, Courtesy of 555 International

As travelers to the Windy City may already know, Chicago has one of the hottest restaurant and bar scenes in the world, and one of the city’s well-known interior designers continues to make his mark with a slate of new restaurant and bar openings in 2017. James Geier, president and founder of 555 International, has collaborated with Chicago veteran restaurateurs to conceive casual takes on fine dining, from the large open wood-fired hearths to rustic, retro bars while honoring the spirit of each neighborhood. Here’s a look at some of his recent projects:

A Lincoln Park hotspot, Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub just recently reopened with a much-needed revamp. The remodeled space draws inspiration from Goose Island’s craft brewing roots and takes into consideration the visual presentation of the brewing process. The brewhouse now showcases a more noticeable openness and visual connection to the brewing facilities within an urban, gritty and traditional aesthetic.

Chicago’s Bar & Restaurant Designer of the MomentAnother Lincoln Park treasure and a Chicago-favorite, Gemini Bistro underwent a head-to-toe transformation. Parting ways with its last name, Gemini reopened this spring with thoughtfully curated elements featuring a touch of All-American glamour, exuding both a retro and rustic ambiance.  In conceptualizing their latest Fulton Market restaurant, Roister, James and his design team crafted a casual take on fine dining, complete with high-energy music and open flames. This space allows Chicagoans to fully experience what it would be like to dine inside a luxury kitchen where the process of cooking takes center stage.

Chicago’s Bar & Restaurant Designer of the MomentFor Coda Di Volpe, James envisioned a space driven by modern Italian design of the 1950’s and 60’s – clean lines, fashionable, sexy details in brass and black-bronze, and warm wood tones throughout. The plan of the space evolved through many iterations to maximize seating while ensuring guest comfort with no bad seat in the house.

I’m happy to share hi-res images of these projects and schedule a call with James who can offer insight into how the design of his restaurants and bars honor their Chicago roots. James loves to talk about his creative process and a little-known fact that separates his from his local counterparts. He not only designs spaces but also custom designs and fabricates everything that goes into these projects from the lighting fixtures to the decorative hardware. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!