Following a national trend, trade show attendance in Chicago slumped two percent last year to 863,773. But total attendance at McCormick Place—the massive South Loop convention center—rose to 2.4 million thanks to events like the Chicago Auto Show. All that foot traffic means good business for McCormick Place’s Hyatt hotel, which opened a new bar and lounge area catering to the convention spillover crowd.
The hotel already thrives off the center’s activity. Hyatt asked Chicago designers Ideation Studio to turn an underused hallway into a casual meeting area decked out with a full service bar, a lounge, and private booths. “It’s really about connecting with people and having a fun place to do that,” said Ideation’s Jessica Desnoyers.
Conceptual design began in June, just five months before the bar’s opening. Desnoyers said the quick turnaround benefitted from a familiarity with Hyatt—Ideation helped remodel the hotel’s Wacker Drive location. Large printed acrylic panels and wall coverings celebrate Chicago’s neighborhoods, encouraging trade show visitors to step out and see the city. Custom printed millwork panels with colored stripes serve as Hyatt branding while steel shelving in back of the bar recalls the local industrial heritage.
Guests can leave something behind, too. Those still in networking mode can add business cards and bar-napkin sketches to one of the hanging mobiles in the bar area.