Over the course of two years, from 2015 to 2017, one of Chicago’s most famous luxury hotels underwent an incredible $100 million renovation. Since its opening in 1975, the centrally located Michigan Avenue hotel has been through a series of “soft” overhauls, including the update of guest rooms and conference areas throughout the 434-room property. This time, however, the renovation was focused on the most high-traffic public area in the hotel: the lobby.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the goal was “to give the hotel a better sense of place, weaving in nods to the city’s status as a pioneer of modern architecture and creating more harmony between the building ‘s interior and exterior.” More specifically, this meant utilizing the same type of marble from the building’s inimitable façade in the lobby, in different variations throughout the space, from the ground up. The idea was to create a cohesive look that celebrated the nature of the city’s skyscrapers.

In order to accomplish this, the design team designed a pattern which consisted of 34” x 34” graphic squares, made up of 4 trapezoids and 2 triangle-shaped marble pieces, in striking black and white. Their original plan required use of ¾” slabs to be cut into each trapezoid and triangle shape, which would be hand laid piece by piece.

 As the expensive construction process began, the sub-contractor, well-aware of the preferred result and budget, recommended the hotel utilize AKDOLAM in their design. The initial drawings of the space specified would have resulted in more stone usage, more intensive labor processes, and heavier duty setting materials, and thus, a higher cost. Because the size of the lobby floor was so extensive, and the pattern fairly complex to be executed in stone slabs, AKDOLAM’s porcelain-backed marble tiles presented a clear solution.

The design team selected Calacatta Gold and Negro Marquina AKDOLAM tiles for the floor of the lobby, and decided to extend their use into the 12th floor penthouse. The ½” AKDOLAM tiles replaced the original 3/4” stone slabs, and thus reduced the setting material requirements, less wastage, and faster installation, saving the project significant costs.