Name the most beautiful restaurant, bar or hotel in Chicago and the interiors were most likely constructed by famed design firm, 555 International. This company has been leading innovations in design and manufacturing for companies around the world for almost 30 years. From custom woodworking to hand-crafted metal fixtures, some of the most eclectic details are all created at 555 International's warehouse on the South Side of Chicago.
Some notable projects include Armani Exchange retail locations around the globe, the Green Bay Packers Pro Shop, and Hard Rock Hotels. James Geier, President and Founder of 555 International, is a Chicago native and thrives on creativity and hands-on work. After working with some of the most recognized names in the industry, James decided to pour himself into a project of his own: a multi-faceted event space in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood called Morgan's on Fulton.
Recently, the Chrome City Crew went on a tour of his South Side warehouse and work space where we discovered the intricacies of the immense four-floor creative/constructive space hosts everything from 555’s business offices to design studios to manufacturing rooms. As you walk through each floor, you can see the many projects that 555 has worked (think old Hermes campaign window displays and light fixtures made of microphones and drum parts for Hard Rock). We chatted with Chrome City CEO, Alexandria Ott, about what she found while immersing herself in the space.
Q. What can we compare to 555 International? What else is being done like this?
A. Nothing, there is literally no one else incorporating all aspects of design, manufacturing, installation, and business into one business. 555 is the only company that can see an interior design project from start to finish and have the tools to make it happen. Also, James used to own and operate his own club, so he knows how spaces need to be designed for functionality. Truly a one-of-a-kind business.
Q. What are some of 555 International’s recent, notable projects?
A. They recently completed Bernie’s Lunch & Supper in River North neighborhood. It serves rustic Mediterranean food and incorporates open space, natural light, and gold fixtures to create a relaxing ambiance- all of which 555 designed and created in-house. Separately, they recently begun work on multiple projects for the Dallas Cowboys that will continue to rollout in 2016. A new Chicago hotel project is happening, can't say which one though :)
Q. We know that his newest venture is Morgan’s on Fulton. What are some interesting things about the space?
A. Morgan’s on Fulton is a cultivation of Geier’s work and aesthetic. Furthermore, it is a culmination of decades dedicated to arts and design. He sees a true need for a space with character for his friends that are chefs and need a space outside of the restaurants to host tastings, events, etc.
The newly renovated building (for those who don't know is the same building as La Sirena Clandestina) holds four extraordinarily eclectic spaces. A basement for dance parties, an art gallery for receptions and art shows, a 2nd floor for corporate trainings and chef tastings and finally, a penthouse rooftop with a killer view for any occasion.
For more on 555 International and James Geier, check out this video: https://vimeo.com/117185285. To see Geier’s work and take a tour of Morgan's on Fulton, contact Alex at email@example.com.