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Chicago Boasts Frank Lloyd Wright-Themed Bar

Friday, April 27, 2018

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For those looking for a strong drink and a way to commemorate Frank Lloyd Wright, they need look no further than the Prairie School bar in Chicago, which features a mixture of designs and elements evocative of the architect’s own take on Asian influence and Midwestern warmth.

Heisler Hospitality founders Kevin Heisner and Matt Eisler worked with mixologist Jim Meehan to create a space that evoked Wright’s organic architecture, which included the use of natural colors and materials.

Old School Cool

The attention to detail in the bar covers a number of facets: from the live-edge oak bar to handmade ceramic tumblers. The design of the glass in the entry was even inspired by one of Wright’s windows.

"What struck me always is the way Frank Lloyd Wright used space," said Heisner. "I didn’t want to just copy the Robie House, so I just focused on things like the oak species and incorporated materials he used first-hand. We wanted to bring the outside in."

Even the ice cubes are branded with a Prairie School-inspired insignia. The ice cubes themselves are shaped by wood-block ice stamps, reminiscent of architectural details in the former cold storage building where the bar is housed.

"Even the ceiling was influenced by one our team saw at Robie House—we placed oak beams in similar lines," said Heisner.

The bar also features steel barstools fitted with decorative stained-glass bases, as well as leather seats from Chicago's Horween Leather Company. Leftover leather from the settees was reused in bar staff aprons, branded coasters and check presenters. Paired with the use of steel straws and composting, Prairie School is a zero-waste bar.

"I didn't want to make it a Frank Lloyd Wright replica, but a balanced, modern approach," Heisner noted.

The drink menu takes cues from Japan’s 24 short seasons, or sekkis, to influence its selections.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Color + Design; Design build; Frank Lloyd Wright; Maintenance + Renovation; North America

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