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Chicago’s Hotel EMC2 has science-themed interiors by Rockwell Group

Science and art converge in the eclectic interiors of Chicago’s Hotel EMC2, designed by the Rockwell Group.

The 195-room hotel fills a new 21-storey building close to Northwestern University’s medical campus, designed by Koo & Associates, and named for Einstein’s equation establishing the theory of special relativity.

‘At the core of our hotel is the idea of inspiration,’ says Scott Greenberg, CEO of SMASHotels, which is operating the hotel for the Marriott Group. ‘We want to ignite guests’ imaginations while educating and challenging them to channel their inner explorative spirit.’

Hotel EMC2 Chicago designed by the Rockwell Group
Photography: Michael Kleinberg

The lobby acts as EMC2’s living room: small clusters of armchairs and over-dyed rugs create cosy spots within the space, which is decked in an assemblage of bookcases filled with books and curiosities for guests to explore and sit within. This haphazard arrangement is inspired by the scientist’s ‘cabinet of curiosity’.

Adjacent to the lobby on the first floor is the 120-seat Albert restaurant – another nod to the world-famous physicist – which is flanked by book cases and topped by a custom chandelier made from glass cylinders filled with home-made liquors.

Hotel EMC2 Chicago designed by the Rockwell Group
Photography: Michael Kleinberg

Ribbed glass panels partially conceal the 20-person chef’s tables and kitchen. Bottle green tiles, wooden tables with brass accents and a chandelier made from copper pots add warmth to the room, which is hung with artworks by Paul Bond and Jonathan Plotkin.

Continuing the physics theme, a nearly 2,000 sq ft meeting and event space is dedicated to German mathematician Emmy Noether. It features chalkboard artworks by Dr Eugenia Cheng (a British mathematician, artist and scientist-in-residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.)

Bedrooms are decorated with copper frames that hang above leather headboards, displaying unique canvas artworks suspended by leather straps. Each suite also has a gramophone, which can be hooked into digital devices, and a ‘wet lab’ style bathroom.

Hotel EMC2 is the latest addition to the Marriott’s Autograph Collection of 100 boutique hotels, and sits in the Streeterville neighbourhood of Chicago, in the heart of the Magnificent Mile. Rates start at $249 per night.

Read next: Inside Chicago’s ‘social stay’ concept hostel

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