Chicago’s Hotel EMC2, an Autograph Collection Hotel, celebrates the junction of art and science in all aspects of its design, food and beverage service, and guest experience. The brainchild of Scott Greenberg, president and CEO of management company SMASHotels (which manages the property), the 21-story, 195-room hotel is packed with subtle and not-so-subtle nods to great artists and scientists who have made an impact throughout history. Extending its passion for art and science beyond its design and amenities, Hotel EMC2 has partnered with SYNCERE (Supporting Youth’s Needs with Core Engineering Research Experiments) to support the group’s STEM programs and provide underprivileged Chicago youth with hands-on engineering skills to further career development.
The property’s in-house restaurant, the Albert, offers contemporary, seasonal, globally inspired menu items from Executive Chef Brandon Brumback. The restaurant seats 120 and features the work of local artists and a massive collection of books. Greenburg says, “It’s pretty to look at and it’s luxurious to be in, but there’s so much more than that because Hotel EMC2 has a story that can be appreciated on so many levels.”
An Eclectic Collection
Inside the 12,000 vintage books Hotel EMC2 acquired were antique notes, annotations, and letters from previous owners. “Most of them are 75-100 years old, so they’re all antique and aged and put together like a European library,” Greenburg describes.
Lighting in the bookshelves doesn’t just brighten up the room, but also illuminates the details therein. Greenburg says, “We had to pull tools from the entertainment world it make it work. Some things are spot lit with spotlights and focus lenses to pinpoint the light just where we wanted it.”
Cabinets are strategically placed throughout the restaurant to optimize functionality. “Some we labeled after famous artists and scientists. Every little label on the cabinets, even the faux cabinets, are there to honor and commemorate the story of Hotel EMC2.”
For this art piece, a caricature artist was commissioned to show that all types of people can share their minds. Greenburg says, “It’s a bouillabaisse of intelligence, creativity, and wonderful people who are filled with ideas from different backgrounds. That’s what it feels like to be in that room.”