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chairs, the restaurant and bar is a time capsule illuminated in low amber lighting. “You walk into a time warp back into the 1970s,” Geier said. “The environment is literally ceiling, walls, and floors covered with materials and finishes that hark back to that time—1970s hip and cool. A lot of the furniture and a lot of the art within the space were repurposed—purchased—from some antique dealers and going out to find the right vintage pieces that would support and evoke the message.” Inspired by basement rec rooms and cocktail bars, Blind Barber Chicago’s Back

Room lounge is a retrospect on the Wisconsin supper clubs of the 1970s. The fabrics, hues, and materials—not to mention the food and beverage menu—invite the diner to linger in the past. “Truly the materials—the knotty pine paneled walls, cork on the ceiling, checkered vinyl linoleum flooring, the coloration of the fabrics that were chosen for the custom banquettes and how that pairs with the fabrics that were purchased pieces—and palette is very much of the day. There is burnt umber and marigold colors and an orangey splash. If you look at the fashion

at the time, those were all hot, big, cool colors,” Geier said. “You feel comfortable in this environment, because it feels like it is fully scripted and directly dialed into everything that might make sense if you had a visual reference or had seen photos on what these environments were like,” Geier added. Featuring Executive Chef Dennis Gutierrez at the helm, Blind Barber Chicago’s spring and summer menu offers bites like the blistered shishito peppers with huancina and crumbled feta; sliders such as the bo-ssam slider with bo-ssam roasted pork, breakfast radish, scallion mayo, and house sriracha; seven types of gourmet grilled cheese available with six different dips; and sweets such as the vanilla bean funnel cake and lemon posset. On the beverage side, beer and wine are accompanied by stirred, shaken, and highball cocktails such as La Farola, Strawberry Fields, Batman, 4th Chamber, and Hollow Bones. “The clients are really great people. They are not based in Chicago, so they put a lot of allegiance on us to quickly dial in and understand who they are and what they are about, but they also put a lot of reliance on us for knowing who the customer is and helping to create that guest experience,” Geier said. “They wanted to be very much about the Midwest vibe and the Chicago experience. In the end, it looks great and the people enjoy being there. It definitely hits on all cyclinders for what the clients’ hopes and wants would be for the guest experience. It’s laid out well, it functions well, it looks great, and it is a little bit inspiring in that old school, vintage way,” Geier added. Overall, 555 International provided design, fabrication, interiors, engineering, furniture, custom lighting, custom millwork, signage, and art installation services for the Blind Barber Chicago project. Some of the specific custom work comprised: distressed metal panels and cast wrap on the reception desk in the barbershop; and the banquette seating, wood shelves, and neon sign in the lounge. “Being a design firm of international reputation and a manufacturer in the City of Chicago is a rarity,” Geier said. “We like the idea that around the world people see our boxes—our crates show up or they find out it was a company in the City of Chicago, in the Midwest. We are very proud that cool shit comes from Chicago and the Midwest, and hardworking people are slugging it out on the world stage.” Previously published in Great Lakes By Design Magazine PHOTOS BY JOHN STOFFER

GL Magazine December  
GL Magazine December