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Esmé Restaurant, Esmé LLC
Chicago, IL
Divine ambiance.
Community-focused restaurant combines culinary skill and artistry.
Where art, culture, and culinary excellence merge
French for “beloved”, Esmé was envisioned as a community-focused restaurant combining culinary skill and artistry to draw inspiration for the seasonally changing tasting menu. The co-owners, who are also the chef and creative director, sought to create a place where art, culture and culinary excellence merged.

As a result, the space was conceived as a canvas in which the food and art could take center stage while also hosting multiple private and community events.

In order to reinvent the prior fast food location to fine dining, the HED design team flipped the main and back entrances of the space to eliminate ramps and allow for the dining room to be seen from the main street front. The windows on the front façade were enlarged to enhance street presence and to serve as a welcoming nod to the community. The team also designed a long sculptural bar, providing guests the opportunity to experience the artistry while enlarging the functional area of the kitchen.

The interior design of Esmé is serene and minimal. The color palette features blush and cream tones to act as a neutral backdrop for the artist’s and the chef’s work to become the focus. The lighting was conceived as a series of backlit fabric planes along the ceiling that can be adjusted from 2400K to 5000K depending on the vibe of the current menu, the art, and the type of event, as well as to create the optimal illumination for videos and photos. The dining tables feature concrete tops and sculptural wood bases by local artisans. The concrete color and finish were tweaked to achieve the ideal surface for the food and plate ware to shine.
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Results
A sculptural champagne tower by artist Benjamin Edgar in solid cast stainless steel is a permanent art installation in the space and allows the staff to greet guests with a complimentary drink as the preamble to the ultimate dining experience.
To go from fast food to high concept, the HED design team flipped the main and back entrances to the space to eliminate ramps and allow for the dining room to be seen from the main street front, enlarged the windows, and expanded the functional area of the kitchen.
Project Data
Esmé Restaurant 2020_06206_000
Esmé LLC
Chicago, Illinois
PROJECT SCOPE
Renovation, Adaptive Reuse
HED ROLE
Architecture (Full Service), Architecture (Full Service), Interior Design
RSF/GSF
3,700
CONSTRUCTION COST
WND
Project Team
  • Leonora Georgeoglou
    NCIDQ, LEED AP ID+C
    Principal
    Business Leader | Workplace
Community-focused restaurant combines culinary skill and artistry.
Esmé Restaurant, Esmé LLC
Chicago, IL
PROJECT DATA
PROJECT TEAM
Divine ambiance.