Chicago Architectural Biennial and Beyond

20 March 2018

In a city that is home to numerous design firsts, it’s hardly surprising that some of the greatest minds in the field would gather here to discuss architecture and its historical significance. And with Chicago’s rich architecture history comes a number of significant buildings across the area. 1000M itself aims to add to that list, ushering in a new design era for Chicago. We delve more deeply into the architectural history of the city and ways that you can see the best of what your backyard has to offer.

 

Chicago Architectural Biennial

Chicago Architecture Biennial Make New History

Chicago’s recent Architecture Biennial brought more than 141 practitioners in the fields of architecture and design together to discuss the theme “Make New History.” The exhibit, housed in the Chicago Cultural Center, aimed to encourage the public to consider architecture in a historical context, both for its impact on the past and its potential to shape the future.

 

Chicago Skyscrapers:  a History

Indeed, Chicago architects have had quite an impact on the field’s history – in fact, the first skyscraper was constructed here. Because Chicago’s architectural history is so vast, we’ve included 11 of the most noteworthy skyscrapers below:

1000M-walking-map

1000M

Designed by famed architect Helmut Jahn, this arresting 832-foot skyscraper is outfitted in his signature all-glass styling. The building begins as a rectangle at its base and widens toward the top to allow for expansive views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan.

1000M Luxury Condo Architecture

The Rookery Building

Completed in the late 19th century, this La Salle Street office building is considered the oldest high-rise in Chicago. Frank Lloyd Wright remodeled the lobby to introduce a glass ceiling, beautifully illuminating the space in what is known as the “light court.”

 

Art Institute of Chicago

Initially constructed to house the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, the Art Institute of Chicago now spans five buildings, the original of which was developed in the Beaux Arts style. The Modern Wing, the most recent and largest expansion of the museum, was designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano and offers beautiful views of Millennium Park.

Architecture Chicago Art Institute

Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center, the city’s first public library, is also famous for its two spectacular stained glass domes. The building’s Garland Court façade now boasts a beautiful mural celebrating the women who’ve made Chicago’s arts and culture so vibrant.

 

Carbide and Carbon Building

The Carbide and Carbon Building is a stunning Art Deco skyscraper outfitted in black granite. The hotel within is undergoing remodeling and will debut with a new name, the St. Jane Chicago Hotel, after the suffragette and “mother” of social work, Jane Addams.

 

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

The Spertus Institute building boasts a unique window wall comprised of over 700 pieces of glass.  The glass façade’s geometry is such that each piece exists as a parallelogram in three dimensions, and was designed to represent the open nature of the Institute within.

 

James R. Thompson Center

The James R. Thompson Center was designed by 1000M architect Helmut Jahn, and houses 150 pieces of an art collection funded by the state of Illinois, in addition to the state’s governmental offices. The building has a unique reddish pink and blue color scheme that complements a circular and airy atrium.

Thompson Center

Chicago Federal Plaza

The Chicago Federal Plaza encompasses three buildings, but perhaps most notably, it features the large red “Flamingo” sculpture by Alexander Calder outside.  The sculpture was unveiled in the mid-70s after a parade in which the artist was pulled through the streets on a circus wagon.

 

Chicago Board of Trade Building

Another Art Deco marvel, the Chicago Board of Trade Building plays host to a 31-foot tall statue of the goddess of agriculture, Ceres, amongst other exterior sculptures that represent the trade inside the building. Expanded in 1980 by Helmut Jahn’s firm, the building now boasts 45 stories.

Chicago Board of Trade Building

Monadnock Building

The Monadnock Building revolutionized the building process through its usage of aluminum in its decorative stairs.  It was also one of the first buildings to be named as a Chicago Architectural Landmark.

 

Grant Park

Dubbed “Chicago’s front yard,” Grant Park is home to a number of features, including the Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, and numerous gardens and parks.

Grant Park Architecture

Chicago Architecture Walking Guide

To make your exploration of Chicago’s design easier, we’ve developed a downloadable Chicago architecture walking guide that includes the 11 buildings from our list. Just click to download and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the best architectural marvels in the city.

KARA MANN’S FAVORITE THINGS

1 March 2018

Interior designer Kara Mann is known for her work in both residential and commercial spaces, reimagining environments in cutting edge ways that draw from her background in fashion, art and design. She takes into account the unique vernacular of each project, internalizing the architecture to imbue every interior with intimacy and specificity.

As the designer of the 1000M residences and amenity spaces, Kara hosted a presentation and mimosas at the 1000M Sales Gallery in February. Filling the room with awe and wonder, Mann discussed her design inspiration for the 74-story tower and notable interiors trends for 2018. To everybody’s delight, she offered gift bags stocked with a few of her favorite things, which we share with you here!  

 

Kara Mann's Favorite Things

1. Le Labo Santal 26 Home Fragrance

This sophisticated, subtle spray with notes of amber, spices and sandalwood is a cult favorite among interior geeks! Given its beautiful packaging and hand labeling, it’s obvious why. We love it so much, which explains why the Sales Gallery has these exquisite candles throughout the space’s intimate nooks.

 

2. Moleskine Mini Notebook 

To jot down all your new favorite places in the neighborhood, like the Goodman Theatre, Columbia Yacht Club and the Art Institute! This small, sleek notebook fits into any pocket and is an easy grab for any occasion.

 

3. Chill Chicago Gift Card

Kara Mann is all about wellness, as you can tell by her inspired amenities. But since her decadent Spa at 1000M has yet to be built, Chill Chicago’s yoga, meditation and sauna offerings provide the same beautiful tranquility to hold you over in the meantime.

 

4. Muji Black 0.5mm Pen

Take notes with one of Japan’s most recognizable design-focused lifestyle brands. These Muji pens are ideal for interior design sketches, handwritten letters or signing your contract at 1000M.

 

5. La Marca Prosecco 

Arriving straight from the Prosecco region of Italy, with notes of citrus, white flowers and minerals, La Marca is the real deal. Pop one of these premium bottles to celebrate your new condominium residence with Forever Views as your forever backdrop!

AGORA: CONNECTING BEAUTY, CULTURE AND INDIVIDUALITY

20 February 2018

Take a short stroll down to Michigan Avenue & Roosevelt Road and you will come upon an army of larger-than-life headless bronze statues. Although these giant sets of legs look to be caught in motion, they actually form Agora, a permanent installation by Polish artist, Magdalena Abakanowicz. Installed on November 16, 2006, Agora cost $3 million to fabricate and install, and was fully funded by the Polish Ministry of Culture and donations from private foundations. The public commission was part of the celebration of Chicago and Warsaw’s Sister City status.

1000M Luxury Condos overlooks Agora and Grant Park
1000M Luxury Condos overlooks Agora and Grant Park

Agora is one of 31 sculptural installations that populate Grant Park,[i] enriching our understanding of how the culture of Chicago is inextricably linked to a cosmopolitan sense of the world. Located directly across Michigan Avenue from 1000M, Agora is just one of the amazing sights in Grant Park, enhancing this wonderful stretch of the park to stroll among giants of nature, culture, art and history.   

AGORA IS NOTHING TO FEAR

What makes this work by Abakanowicz so thought provoking is its ability to blend the terror and shock that come from these cast iron limbs being so massive with the sense of peace and calm channeled through the rest of Grant Park’s pristine landscape and location. Agora’s form becomes especially poignant as it lives among other monuments including Buckingham Fountain and Spirit of Music.

Agora, Grant Park, designed by Magdalena Abakanowicz
Agora, Grant Park, designed by Magdalena Abakanowicz

There are a total of 106 pairs of legs in Agora, together and individually hovering between identical copies and unique personalities. Each figure was articulated and built from hollow iron, containing its unique set of lines, gestures and textures, subtly differentiating one from the next. As Abakanowicz explained, “I’ve lived in times which were extraordinary by their various forms of collective hate and collective adulation. Marches and parades worshipped leaders, great and good, who soon turned to be mass murderers. I was obsessed by the image of the crowd. I suspected that under the human skull, instincts and emotions overpower the intellect without us being aware of it… Every crowd is like a headless organism.”[ii] Historically informed by Abakanowicz’s experiences in the former Soviet Union, Agora is a serious work of art that challenges notions of what it means to be an individual who is also part of the crowd. At the same time, without being aware of its larger context, any passer-by is struck by Agora’s beauty and grandeur.

Agora, Grant Park, located by 1000M luxury condos

THE LEGACY LIVES ON

Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930 – 2017) passed away in lte 2017 at the age of 86.[iii] She first came to prominence during the 1970’s when she abandoned painting to begin constructing headless figures made of burlap and resin that she referred to as Abakans.[iv] Her early pieces opened up the use of materials that were previous considered untenable in sculpture, and expanded the understanding of  sculpture beyond a single autonomous object. She rose to a level of international recognition at a time when many Polish citizens were trapped in their country and few Americans knew anything about Polish art.

Dare to stand out and Seek Beauty with Agora, Grant Park and 1000M luxury condos
Dare to stand out and Seek Beauty

Today Abakanowicz’s career is greatly celebrated and Agora continues as a meeting place for those who wish to think outside the box and seek beauty.

 

[i] https://www.grantparkconservancy.com/sculptures

[ii]https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_s_publicartagora.html

[iii] Magdalena Abakanowicz, Polish artist behind headless sculptures in Grant Park, dies at age 86, reproduction of Chicago Tribune article dated April 21st, 2017 by Associated Press

[iv] http://www.richardgraygallery.com/artists/magdalena-abakanowicz/biography

CHINESE NEW YEAR: YEAR OF THE DOG

12 February 2018

Celebrate alongside the institutions of the Cultural Mile as Chicago ushers in the Chinese New Year starting on February 16th! From special orchestral showcases at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, to the much anticipated opening of the Art Institute’s exhibit, “Emperor’s and their Bronzes,” residents of 1000M need look no farther than their front yard to join in the festivities and herald the arrival of the Year of the Dog.

The Chongqing Chuanju Opera Theatre is hosted by the CSO on February 17th
The Chongqing Chuanju Opera Theatre is hosted by the CSO on February 17th

 

CSO WELCOMES CHONGQING CHUANJU OPERA THEATRE AND ZHEJIANG SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

On February 17th at 3:00, the CSO will host both the Chongqing Chuanju Opera Theatre as well as the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra in a showcase of traditional Chinese opera and folk melodies from the Zhejiang Province. Replete with stunning acrobatic choreography and breathtaking costumes, this special celebratory concert is a unique performance that revels in China’s rich musical heritage. The concert is accompanied by a pre concert performance at 1:45 in Buntrock Hall, and features artist from Dong Fang Performing Arts as well as Yellow River Performing Arts.

Zhang Yi, Music Director of the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra
Zhang Yi, Music Director of the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra

Tickets for the concert

Pre concert is free to all ticket holders

“MIRRORING CHINA’S PAST: EMPERORS AND THEIR BRONZES” OPENS

Open to the public on February 25th, the Art Institute’s newest exhibition “Emperors and Their Bronzes” showcases bronze artistry from the second and first millennia BCE. Lauded by many as one of the more significant achievements in the historical progression of artistic craft and skill, the beautifully decorated bronze pieces displayed are distinct from other ancient bronze sculptures in that they were used for ceremonial purposes.[i] Join the Asian Art Council Board of Directors as they celebrate the exhibit over dinner and cocktails in the Griffin Court following a special pre-opening viewing of the exhibit.

Ancient Bronze Masterpiece Art Institute of Chicago
This ancient bronze masterpiece is one of many belonging to the Art Institute’s special collections

Tickets for the exhibit

Tickets for the pre-opening viewing and dinner

ENJOY DIM-SUM AT MINGHIN CUISINE

Tucked away between Millennium Park and Lake Shore East Park, Minghin Cuisine brings modern style Cantonese to the loop in an elegant and uniquely decorated dining hall. Enjoy what many call the best dim-sum in the loop[ii] alongside your choice of sake or classic cocktails at one of the city’s Michelin recognized restaurants.[iii]

Minghin
Chic interiors are combined with traditional motifs to solidify Minghin as an authentic Chinatown staple
Cantonese delicacies
A multitude of Cantonese delicacies and classics are offered around a typical Lazy Susan

Reservations may be placed here

JOIN IN THE CHINESE NEW YEAR LANTERN CELEBRATION

Capping off the cultural mile’s celebration of the Year of the Dog, the Art Institute will host lantern making activities in their café on March 3rd. While making lanterns, ticket holders may enjoy the traditional Chinese food and music performances, and then take part in the sunset lantern procession down Michigan Avenue, bidding goodbye to the celebrations, while to greet the Year of the Dog.

 

Chinese New Year Celebration: Sunset Lantern Procession Chicago
Don’t miss the sunset lantern procession down Michigan Ave, taking place on March 3rd

 

[i] http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/2727190/mirroring-chinas-past-emperors-and-their-bronzes-at-the-art,

[ii] https://www.zagat.com/r/minghin-cuisine-chicago1

[iii] https://www.timeout.com/chicago/blog/michelin-releases-its-2018-bib-gourmand-list-for-chicago-101317

Kara Mann Designs:  Interior Vision Brought to Life at 1000M

2 February 2018

Kara Mann’s interior design career is built on a certain brand of edgy classicism. Her celebration of both masculine and feminine elements within her work has made her one of the most sought-after interior designers in the country, and she now brings her signature styling to the fore at 1000M.

Kara Mann

Kara Mann’s Early Career

Kara Mann’s design practice benefits from her multifaceted background. With a degree in interior design, a study of fine arts and a career as a former fashion stylist, Kara possesses a uniquely nuanced vision of what interior design can be. Her namesake interior design firm was founded in 2003, and Mann has since gone on to open a Manhattan outpost, working with a range of commercial and residential clients including Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop and Chicago’s Talbott Hotel.

Her eye for distinctive, luxe design is evident in her choice of rich materials, often accompanying striking silhouettes that toe the line between contemporary and classic. That aesthetic was evident nowhere more than Kara Mann’s showroom, open from 2007 to 2011. The curious can still take a peek and gather a sense of Mann’s range. From bold and unusual wooden chairs and tables to a more classic sofa and armchair outfitted in sumptuous fabric, her showroom was the epitome of her patented cool-girl chic.

Kara Mann Interiors

Kara Mann’s Milling Road Collection

Mann’s unique styling sensibilities caught the eye of Baker Furniture, which invited the designer to create her own collection. The 54-piece Kara Mann furniture collection for their Milling Road label is full of lush statements, including a velvet chaise lounge that would be at home in a fabled Hollywood star’s boudoir, and strong natural accents, such as a graphic wood and Lucite side table. She favors daring lines that take on unexpected shapes and perfectly complement Baker’s dedication to masterful craftsmanship.

The pieces are modern yet timeless, thanks to Mann’s meticulous attention to detail, and add just the right amount of edge to a room. Mann’s gift for blending opposing styles into something harmonious is evident throughout, combining the architectural with the simplistic to make a statement. A second collection with the brand is already in the works.

Kara Mann’s Interiors for 1000M

Mann’s appreciation for the modern and the natural makes her a fitting choice as 1000M’s interior designer. From the interior layouts to finish selections, no detail was too small to escape Mann’s characteristic styling.

Kara Mann’s Interiors for 1000M

She pushed the boundaries of her layouts for 1000M, working to “optimize views and square footage,” according to a recent Architectural Digest interview. The result is a stunning yet welcoming interior that puts the views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan front and center. Airy and open, the natural wood flooring and light walls are the perfect accompaniments to the expansive windows and are accented with luxe marble throughout. Mann hopes her vision resonates with fellow design enthusiasts, ushering in a new, modern era in Chicago’s interior design landscape with 1000M’s styling. The final product is sure to make beauty-seeking urbanites swoon.

 

To see more of Kara Mann’s design work, please visit her website.

 

Think You Know the Best of the Cultural Mile? | 10 Hottest Restaurants in the Chicago Loop

1 December 2017

If you’re a foodie, you’ll know that there’s no shortage of outstanding restaurants in the Chicago Loop.  But with all those options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  Whether you want a delicious weekend brunch, a quick lunchtime bite, or a sophisticated dinner, we’ve included the best of the best below, all located within a mile of 1000M.

1)    Acanto – 0.8 miles

This Italian restaurant knows its wines – as a winner of the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence and the Fine Wine World’s Best Wine List (both two years running), there’s an option for every wine enthusiast.  Paired with some unusual takes on traditional Italian dishes, including a delicious Lamb Rigatoni, it’s a standout amongst Chicago Loop restaurants.

2)    The Gage – 0.8 miles

Paneled in rich, dark wood and accented with muted subway tiles, The Gage’s atmosphere calls to mind an old-fashioned study that’s anything but traditional when it comes to the menu.  The House Poutine rivals Quebec’s finest, and for carnivores, a variety of game including elk, bison, and duck dishes are on hand to satisfy.  Don’t miss their award-winning dessert program as well, including a Roasted Pear and Almond Croustade.

3)    Niu B – 289 ft

This hidden gem is conveniently located a block from 1000M and serves varied Japanese and Asian-fusion bites, from Honey Sesame Chicken to Korean short ribs.  Asian-inspired cocktails and traditional sake are ready to complete the meal.

4)    Kurah Chicago – 0.4 miles

A colorful, upscale atmosphere brings an authentic Mediterranean menu to the Chicago Loop.  Classic hummus is sure to hit all the right notes, and the Grilled Kabob Platter won’t disappoint.  And how can anyone resist freshly baked pita bread?

5)    Mercat a la Planxa – 0.2 miles

Mercat a la Planxa defies the stereotype of mediocre hotel restaurants and delivers great Spanish cuisine daily.  Located in the Blackstone Hotel, it boasts a tranquil atmosphere, which allows dishes like a delectable Serrano Ham and Fig Salad and Paella de Carnes to shine.

6)    Seven Lions – 0.7 miles

Across from the Art Institute, this Chicago Loop restaurant takes classic American fare to new heights.  Spacious and industrial inside, the Seven Lions boasts something for everyone, from old-fashioned burgers to Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower.  Come early for brunch and grab their Blueberry and Poppyseed Pancakes.

7)    Remington’s Restaurant – 0.9 miles

A nice steak or seafood dinner starts at Remington’s Restaurant.  Rustic yet sophisticated, they offer classics like filet mignon and crab cakes, all cooked to perfection.  It also makes a great lunch meeting destination.

8)    Cindy’s − 0.8 miles

Cindy’s is a standout amongst restaurants in the Chicago Loop for a particular reason – it’s spectacular views of Millennium Park. Perched atop the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, the hip bar, and restaurant is home to some of the best and most unusual cocktails in the area.  Nandini Khaund is the resident “Spirit Guide” at Cindy’s, pouring such mixtures as the Western Cape, a peachy version of a Moscow Mule, and the Howl at the Jun, made from a Tibetan form of kombucha.

9)    Terzo Piano – 0.7 miles

Host to Chef Tony Mantuano’s signature Italian cuisine (you might know him from his restaurant Spiaggia), Terzo Piano is a must for art enthusiasts and foodies alike.  Diners can take in the Modern Art Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago while enjoying freshly prepared seasonal pastas, and for the more adventurous, Charred Octopus or Spanish Mussels.  Large windows offer a view of Michigan Avenue to accompany the meal.

10) Bongo Room – 0.2 miles

Last but certainly not least, Bongo Room’s offerings hit the spot for a weekend breakfast or brunch.  Breakfast burritos and classic omelets are a savory and satisfying way to start the morning, while seasonal pancake flavors like Cranberry and Orange are perfect for those with a sweet tooth.  Get there for a Sunday brunch and try the Deconstructed Lobster Roll Benedict, their spin on eggs benedict.

Any one of these eateries would make a great addition to your restaurant rotation, and are just some of the fantastic locales you’ll find in the 1000M neighborhood.

Follow us @1000MChicago.

Discover City History on Lake Michigan | Columbia Yacht Club

28 November 2017

While residents of 1000M will enjoy incredible views of Lake Michigan from their luxurious homes, imagine getting even closer to the lake by taking advantage of the nearby Columbia Yacht Club.

A year-round home for lovers of the lake, sailing enthusiasts or people who enjoy good food in a relaxed atmosphere, the Columbia Yacht Club has been around for 125 years.

The club’s current home, a 372-foot former icebreaking ferry called the MV Abegweit, is moored at the foot of Randolph Street just east of North Lakeshore Drive. The Abby, as it’s known to the club’s 921 members, has been the club’s home since summer 1983 after operating in Canadian waters from 1947-1982.

While The Abby still looks like a working ship from the outside, once you take an elevator up to the lower salon lobby you’re transported into something more striking. The lobby, bar and library, where members gather to relax, have been gorgeously restored with wood paneled walls and display cases showing the histories of the ship and the club along with ephemera from sailing competitions.

The Sailing Club Dock

The Abby also houses five restored areas used for meetings and private events like wedding receptions: the rail deck, aft deck, upper salon, board room and bridge. The Columbia Sailing School operates from the forward hull of the ship and the dock area just south of The Abby.

The member dining room serves American bistro fare that includes newer items as well as dishes Chef Alberto Garcia and his staff call “Columbia Classics.” The Short Rib Stroganoff with sautéed onions and mushrooms, for one, is unforgettable.

“It’s like eating a hug,” said the club’s general manager, Nick Philp.

Like The Abby, the Columbia Yacht Club itself is steeped in history — a history that’s tied to Chicago’s own progress through the years.

A group of yachting enthusiasts — many who were city planners working with Daniel Burnham — established the club just a year after the Great Chicago Fire of 1891, as the city was rebuilding while preparing for the Columbian Exposition of 1893.

They named their club after the upcoming Exposition, and gave it the same welcoming spirit that drew nearly 27 million people to the Exposition.

“The club’s always been very open to all ethnicities, walks of life, religions,” Philp said. “The club has a history of not discriminating against anybody from any background, for any reason, which was especially in the yacht club world pretty unique. We’re fortunate for that. We continue that to this day.”

So if you’re worried you’ll need to don an ascot, blue blazer and stuffy attitude to join the fun, don’t. Two fairly recent guests for brunch agreed that members of the Columbia Yacht Club are anything but pretentious.

The Steering Wheel of The Abby

For Philp, that relaxed and friendly nature of the members sets Columbia Yacht Club apart from other private clubs in the city. Members sponsor numerous philanthropic events, and host member-employee events to create whet he calls “a unique atmosphere.”

“The people really are the best thing about this club,” Philp explains. “As far as the club’s operation, we’re probably 50 percent professional and 50 percent volunteer. A lot of people are very personally invested in the club. That creates a unique environment for progressive thought and for positive, forward thinking.”

But Philp doesn’t think you should take his word for it. He encourages anyone who is thinking about joining to experience the club for themselves. The club offers weekend passes to potential members that allows them to wine, dine or just hang out on The Abby.

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The Columbia Yacht Club // 111 N. Lakeshore Drive // www.colyc.org

Think you know the best of the cultural mile? | Classical music with a mission

8 November 2017

With blues clubs to the south and the summer concert scene at Grant Park and Millennium Park to the north, 1000M sits in the center of a diverse musical world. But residents need stroll just a few blocks to the Chicago Symphony Center to see the performances of the Chicago Sinfonietta, which bills itself as the most diverse orchestra in the country.

“There is beauty in diversity, certainly in what you see onstage and in our audience, but also in the kind of music that we present and how we do that. It runs the gamut,” says Courtney Perkins, the Sinfonietta’s director of development and operations.

The 30-year-old Sinfonietta still adheres to the mission of its pioneering founder and first conductor, Maestro Paul Freeman. He wanted to create an orchestra that provided opportunities for musicians, composers, conductors and soloists from all backgrounds and also hoped to build an audience that reflected the diversity of Chicago.

Paul Freeman (left) is the founder of the Chicago Sinfonietta where Mei-Ann Chen (right) is the Music Director.

“The first time [Freeman] ever saw an orchestra, he sat in the balcony—which was the segregated section for people of color,” Perkins says. “And even then it made such an incredible impact on him, how the conductor pulled the sounds out of his musicians. He was always drawn to that and he wanted others to have the same experience.”

Despite the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—one of the best orchestras in the world—already being based in the city, Freeman went to work. Freeman wooed potential supporters “one coffee at a time,” eventually creating a founding board, many members of whom still are subscribers today, Perkins says.

Through mentoring programs for minority musicians and conductors and its community outreach programs, the Sinfonietta promotes classical music to many who would not get a chance to experience it. Since its inception in 2008, the Project Inclusion Orchestra Fellowship program has mentored more than 45 musicians of color who have gone on to perform around the country. Seven of the eight conductors who have gone through the program have been placed on podiums as assistant conductors or music directors, Perkins says.

Trademark Concert, Chicago Sinfonietta - 9/18/17 Photo by Chris Ocken Copyright 2017 - ockenphoto.com
The Sinfonietta’s 2017 Trademark Concert

The Sinfonietta’s mission of diversity—which earned it a $625,000 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2016—extends beyond the makeup of the orchestra’s players.

Called “the city’s hippest orchestra” by the Chicago Tribune, the Sinfonietta finds its joy in breaking down the wall of intimidation that blocks potential fans from attending classical concerts. Through innovative partnerships with other arts groups, it presents eclectic programs that present classical music in creative new ways.

Conducting the Sinfonietta since 2011, Maestro Mei-Ann Chen continues the group’s unique musical performance tradition. Looking at the current season, the Sinfonietta has performed or will perform with the Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, NIU Steelband, NewMoon Chicago, the Roosevelt University Conservatory Choirs and punk marching band Mucca Pazza.

For its annual Martin Luther King Tribute concert, Maestro Chen will mix orchestra, opera, jazz vocals, spoken word, archival audio samples and video. The ensemble blends classical mainstays with new works it has commissioned from four diverse women composers to premiere during the season and be recorded as the orchestra’s 16th album in 2019.

The Sinfonietta’s 2017 MLK Tribute Concert

Perkins explains that most of the Sinfonietta’s concerts are created around a theme, and the organization creates an audience engagement experience around that theme that extends beyond the performances.

Organizers might invite groups to speak with concert-goers before the performances and at intermission. For an LGBTQ-themed concert, the Sinfonietta invited several local groups that work with the LGBTQ community to make presentations.

“We try to create an open space through the umbrella of classical music to talk about something totally separate from the music,” Perkins says. “This is a really special thing and I don’t exactly know what the word for it is —but somehow a community is built. It’s really special.”

The Sinfonietta season consists of five programs that the full orchestra performs twice—once at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., and once at a suburban location.

Follow us @1000MChicago.

Chicago Sinfonietta // Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. // www.chicagosinfonietta.org.

Photos by Chris Ocken Copyright 2017 – ockenphoto.com

Dîner en Blanc | Seeking Beauty In The Unexpected

6 November 2017

Guests attend Dîner en Blanc at Chicago’s Theater on the Lake on Thursday August 24, 2017. Photographer: Christopher Dilts / Sipa USA

Dîner en Blanc is an experience like little else. Combining mystery, prestige and absolute elegance, the event is an exceptional opportunity for residents of 1000M to connect with beauty.

Dîner en Blanc, which translates to Dinner In White, began in France with François Pasquier in 1988. Pasquier was inspired by the simple but powerful motivation to share an elegant meal with close friends. One day, he spotted a couple in all white enjoying a bottle of champagne at a picnic table.

“There was the spark,” says Roger Hobby, one of five hosts or organizers of the Chicago Dîner en Blanc. Nearly three decades later, this spark has spread to more than 70 cities around the world, with nearly 120,000 guests participating globally each year. Chicago has participated since 2012.

Dîner en Blanc distinguishes itself with its peculiar guidelines. For starters, attendees must dress completely in white. “Why white? To recognize each other as being part of the party!” Hobby explains. Guests are also required to bring many of the essentials of a traditional dinner party, including tables, chairs, cutlery and napkins (no paper or plastic allowed; only the real stuff). They can also bring a gourmet meal or enjoy a picnic basket from the party’s caterer. And everything — food as the exception — must meet the color code. Finally, the party’s location is not released until the day of.

 

The annual event sparks lifelong friendships.

“There’s something magical about coming upon the venue and discovering it, as opposed to knowing where it will be all along,” says Hobby of the mystery surrounding the location.

Roger Hobby began attending Dîner en Blanc 17 years ago in Paris. “A friend sent me an email one day asking if wanted to go to dinner and if I had all white clothes. A passion was born that night.” He adds that he was captivated by the connection guests make at Dîner en Blanc. “People start lifelong relationships with new friends, job networks and yes, sometimes even romance.”

Hobby has played a pivotal role in ensuring that Dîner en Blanc thrives in the Windy City. In 2012, he heard the planned Chicago party was being cancelled. Hobby was committed to keeping his passion alive in his adopted hometown. So with no budget and barely six weeks, Hobby and a group of like-minded friends joined together to create the first Dîner en Blanc in Chicago under the international banner. This premier Dîner en Blanc was celebrated by about 500 guests in the South Garden of the Art institute of Chicago, right in 1000M’s neighborhood. Today, Dîner en Blanc Chicago has grown to include nearly 4,000 participants.

 

Chicago has celebrated this international tradition since 2012.

Dîner locations are selected based on size, accessibility and, of course, the location must define iconic Chicago beauty. The party’s location let’s “people rediscover their own city, especially parts of it they may have passed by thousands of times, but have never truly seen,” says Hobby.

One of Hobby’s favorite traditions is the event’s unwavering commitment to preserving each Dîner location. After the party concludes, guests leave nothing behind — no trash, no footprints in the grass, no stray streamers or balloons. Hobby remembers the Director of the Palais-Royal in Paris looking on in amazement when she realized the venue was more pristine after the Dîner than before. The guests were “even picking up old cigarette butts,” remembers Hobby.

After all his years participating, Hobby is still fascinated and charmed by the annual event that provides such a mysterious elegance. “It is an event like no other,” he emphasizes. “Your first year you should be prepared to be overwhelmed and amazed.”

Perhaps this year, the Cultural Mile will act as the stage for the 2018 Dîner en Blanc. 1000M’s neighborhood is a perfect location for this unique expression of beauty. Interested parties can sign up to learn more about the 2018 Dîner en Blanc at: https://chicago.dinerenblanc.com/register.

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Dîner en Blanc // Clandestine Location // 2018 TBD // Chicago.dinerenblanc.com

Think You Know The Best of The Cultural Mile? | A Cocktail With A Story To Tell

27 October 2017

1000M’s unrivaled amenities package has a host of options for celebrating your favorite beverages, including a Wine Tasting Room with private wine storage, and Club 1000 with its full-service bar. But when the 1000M’s neighborhood’s collection of bars, pubs and tasting rooms calls on your inner cocktail nerd, you might find yourself drawn to the Milk Room at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel (CAA).

Pete Smiler, the Director of Outlets at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, describes Milk Room as a singular experience guided by incredibly knowledgeable bartenders. “My personal favorite part of Milk Room, beyond the space, beyond the selection, is the one-on-one time with a knowledgeable bartender.”

The Chicago Athletic Association's Milk Room
The bartender experience at the Milk Room with Paul McGee.

Milk Room, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel’s ultra-intimate bar, isn’t a run-of-the-mill craft cocktail experience. It has a touch of performance art and a commitment to history rare in the ubiquitous craft cocktail scene. Once a Speakeasy during prohibition, members of the Chicago Athletic Association would discreetly drink booze in a glass of milk at Milk Room, away from prying eyes of the prohis. Today, Milk Room is a quick-service coffee and pastry café during the day and, at night, a sanctuary for cocktail lovers or anyone craving a liquor experience unlike any other in Chicago.

Entry is not by reservation, but by buying a ticket online that requires a $50 deposit, which is later applied to your bill. The eight-seat space does reserve two seats for walk-ins.

Drinks at the Milk Room in the CAA.
A specialty cocktail at the Milk Room in the CAA.

“Milk Room creates a sense of exclusivity by limiting access only to guests who are drinking and dining with us,” Smiler explains. “There won’t be anyone ‘popping in’ or giving historical tours while you’re enjoying you experience with us. This temporary escape from the hundreds of people in (CAA’s) other restaurants gives you the feeling that you’ve found something that no one else knows about.”

Milk Room elevates a night at the bar to a tasting session of rare and historic spirits and liqueurs. Single drinks range from $26 to $100. A Dollarita at Applebee’s’ they are not. Some of the liquors date back to pre-1900 when the distilling techniques were unique from the modern day, translating into a truly singular taste.

Rare and historic spirits and liqueurs at the Milk Room.
Rare and historic spirits and liqueurs at the Milk Room.

The rarity of the spirits is coupled with breathtakingly-broad bartender knowledge. Smiler believes the intimate seating lends itself to conversation and education. The personalized interaction between guests and the bartender “adds integrity to the cocktail… you’ll enjoy it better knowing why we do what we do.”

Not a cocktail connoisseur? A little overwhelmed by the intricate menu? Not a problem. Smiler suggests visitors less familiar with the world of spirits simply put their menu down. “Ask (the bartender) what they’re nuts about, or tell them what you normally drink. They’ll ask you the easy questions from there and narrow down a cocktail crafted especially for you.”

With a versatile and exciting neighborhood to explore, Milk Room at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is just one of many unexpected thrills near 1000M.

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Milk Room // 12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 // Chicago Athletic Association Hotel // milkroom.tocktix.com

Photography by Clayton Hauck, courtesy of the Milk Room.