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11.18.2011
Open> Restaurant
The Bedford in Chicago's Wicker Park is a model of adaptive reuse.
Courtesy Salita Development

The Bedford
1612 West Division Street
Chicago
Tel: 773.235.8800
Designer: Gettys and Salita Development

The Bedford restaurant, in Wicker Park, is a model for the creative reuse of a sometimes difficult building type: the bank. The restaurant’s name originates from the Bedford limestone-clad, landmarked building in which it is located, which originally housed the Home Bank and Trust Company. Salita Development and the hospitality design firm Gettys drew upon this rich history of the building as a jumping off point for the design. “In many cases, these are materials that you wouldn’t really be able to afford anymore, like marble and terrazzo,” said Anne Smith, the lead designer from Salita. “We knew that it would be a shame to not find creative ways to incorporate these elements into the design.” The large doors and partitions from the private banking booths were repurposed as bathroom stalls. Marble tiling and the original terrazzo floors were preserved, as well as many articles such as lock boxes, teller grills, and tables. Though the space occupies over 8,000 square feet, it appears relaxed and inviting. Three distinct areas, including the main bar, the parlor dining room, a private event space, and the main focal point, the vault, reborn as a cocktail lounge, subdivide the space. Additionally, wood elements in the bar area, three double-sided fireplaces, and two structural columns between the bar and the main dining room create warmth in contrast to the cooler elements of marble and terrazzo. Modern materials and light fixtures, introduce contemporary elements into the bank’s historic spaces.

Hannah Novack